The Power of BUT.

A few years back (July 2008 actually) I started working at a facility where I began learning and utilizing DBT with a team.  DBT stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and is very well-known in the world of Borderline Behavioral Disorder and also has been used in treatment for addictions.  I am positive that I will write a lot in regards to DBT because it has strongly influenced me in terms of how I see myself and how I view others.

Long story short…

DBT was the first time I can remember anyone making a big deal out of the word BUT.  BUT is outlawed in the world of DBT and since then it has become a word I have tried to extinguish from my vocabulary as well.  In order to really understand this point you have to be willing to acknowledge there is truth in every statement – even if it only a miniscule piece of a statement that holds validity.  And unlike most of the thinking we naturally assume, there is no black or white, right or wrong, all good or all bad allowed when comprehending the importance of BUT.

So, with that in mind.  The word BUT sort of acts to negate a statement and discount it as truth.  We all have spoken the words or heard them from others in a heated debate  – “yes, but…”

“Yes, BUT…” Really could be the same as saying “what you said is wrong BUT this is right.”  I learned to use the word AND in place of BUT.  For example “You see it one way AND I see it another,”  speaking this way challenges viewing situations or people as all right or all wrong.

The power of the word reaches way beyond it just being said or not said though.  When we make a conscious effort to change what we say it eventually will affect the way we think.  When we can challenge the way we speak and think our attitudes follow as well.  Can you imagine how different our attitudes could be if we weren’t so quick to assume people for being bad, or being wrong?  So you see, there is a lot of power in the word BUT.


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