Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Insidious Negativity of One Little Word

I have one rather unusual goal for 2012. I want to decrease my use of the word "but."

Recently I was having lunch with a friend who has taken a volunteer job as an usher at a community theater. She was telling me about some of her training, including not using negative words such as "but."

I confess that struck me as odd, because I'd never really considered "but" a negative word. Then I recalled something else I'd heard. If you're asking for something, and you get a response along the lines of "I'd love to, but...", ignore everything that comes before the "but." What comes after the "but" is the answer.

Often, it's the request denied. The submission rejected. The job lost.

"But" is the sound of the door being closed.

I saw the insidious negativity of "but" in action while I was working on my recent blog posts. No, it does not herald a positive remark, so I'm going to try not to use it, unless, of course, I really want to be negative. The difference will be that I will be thinking about it, not just letting it creep in, bringing its negative inference with it.

This kind of goal is a subtle one. It isn't going to be very noticeable to anybody else. Yet I can see this small change having a real, positive impact on my daily life, so for me, it's as worthy a goal as losing weight.


Unknown said...

This is also the ancillary or perhaps compliment to the improve decree of "Yes, and..."

No matter what is thrown at you in improv, you need to accept on it and build on it: Yes, and...

It's a mantra I plan to incoporate into my life this year! (along with the no cooking)

Malle said...

How bizarre, I thought I posted as myself. It's Malle, if unknown continues to remain "unknown"