Sunday, January 15, 2017

Harness The Positive Power of Your "But"

Self-talk matters. Of the stream of words we say out loud and within mind day in and day out, one of the most powerful is the word “but”. Unfortunately, our use of “but” is typically negative.

Consider these all too common examples of self-talk:

“I try so hard, but everything always turns out bad!”

“I really want better relations with my partner, but I never can say anything without being criticized!”

“I deserve a raise, but I know if I ask for more money my boss will say, 'No' and then probably fire me!”

The Role of "But" in Affirmations

What’s the problem with such self-talk examples? Every one of these statements and hundreds of other similar comments we say to ourselves in mind and out loud are affirmations.

Affirmations? Yes. Everything that follows the word “but” is the real affirmation your subconscious hears and believes. Our internal self-image is in large measure shaped by self-talk affirmations.

The Secret to Making Your “But” Work for You

Can “but” be used to create positive self-talk affirmations while still voicing what seems to be a truthful assessment of a situation? Yes, absolutely.

The secret to making your “but” work for you is to change the way it’s typically used in a declarative sentence and then add a Choices Statement immediately following the declarative sentence.

Let’s take another look at the three self-talk sentences, but this time let’s engage your “but” in a positive way:

“I’ve made mistakes, but with each mistake, I learned something important. I choose to put that new knowledge to work and up my game!”

“My partner and I aren’t talking in a loving way, but I know we love each other and we can do better. I choose to talk lovingly and ask how I can be a better communicator and partner every day!”

“I haven’t had a raise in three years, but I know I deserve one. I choose to put in writing a short, but clearly stated summary of why and sit down with my boss to talk about how much more I’m adding to the success of our company. If he says, “No”, that summary will be useful as a foundation for a resume.”

3 Simple Steps to a Better “But”

To help you use your “but” more effectively, I suggest doing the following:
  • Pay attention to your self-talk whenever “but” shows up. 
  • If it’s a negative “but”, say, “Cancel Cancel”.
  • Restate the self-talk statement with positives following the “but” and then add a Choices Statement. That Choices Statement is your call to action to change the original unwanted reality you perceived.

Next Steps

Put your positive “but” in action from today forward. You’ll think better, feel better, and perform better in every area of life.

Use a journal or otherwise record your successes. Any new habit takes time and repetition.

Writing down your successful use of this little word “but” tells your subconscious you’re serious about creating a happier more successful you.

With light and love,

Steve Carter

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