“But” has had a bad reputation. It is said that everything that comes before it in a conversation or a sentence is negated by this innocuous little conjunction. “I love you but…” wipes away the reassuring compliment and draws attention only to what comes next.
This is why so many motivational speakers encourage their audiences to use “and” instead. “And” draws us together can lets us have our cake and eat it!
I believe there is a beautiful but, however. This is the “but” that can control the inner tyrant that many of us wrestle with on a daily basis. I sincerely cannot remember a time when my inner critic ever said anything nice, positive or edifying to me. It is supposed to have a good intention – to protect us – but I must confess I rarely find it useful. It is an inner voice that is quick to find fault. Most outer critics can be quick to find fault but at least they might grudgingly be slow to praise on occasions. Not so my inner critic – no praise comes from its lips.
So I have begun to use the power of my beautiful but on the end of every damning criticism that passes through my thoughts. When the inner critic says, “You’ve not made much of yourself, have you?” my beautiful but comes to the rescue and simply adds “but +”. For example, I might add, “…but I’ve touched a lot of lives in a positive way.”
Just as everything before the “but” in a sentence is negated, I have found this blissfully simple technique is keeping my critic in its place and in perspective… and it really does seem to let my inner champion have the last word!