I spent almost ten days trying to track down a blog post I am POSITIVE that I wrote and published…and yet I’ve been unable to find it. Say, if any of you come across it, let me know! Anyway, I’m going to go ahead with this post and if I repeat anything, you now understand why it was so.
During my last therapy session with T, we went on a track of talking about accomplishments and the past. I told her that I knew I’d made a list of accomplishments, and that at the same time as writing the accomplishment (and/or thinking about it), I always ended with a “but…” For example…
I moved out of my parents’ house at 21 years old by purchasing a townhouse on my own, about 30 minutes away from my family. BUT, less than a year later the person I thought was my once-best friend, broke into my house, ransacked it, and purposefully stole items she knew were sentimentally important to me. Therefore leaving me feeling violated and vulnerable, and forcing me to install bars on my windows in order to continue to live on my own.
So I basically negated my accomplishment in the same breath as I made it. Why? Why do I feel the need to cancel out my accomplishments with negative follow-ups? The negative follow-ups ARE true. They did happen. But they don’t cancel out the actual accomplishment, because those, too, are true. An old Dr. Phil (don’t judge me!) ism was, “saying but cancels out everything you said before the but.”
So T told me that I need to learn to replace the “but” with an “and” because both parts of the statements are true. There was an accomplishment. AND something else happened.
I moved out of my parents’ house at 21 years old by purchasing a townhouse on my own, about 30 minutes away from my family. AND less than a year later the person I thought was my once-best friend, broke into my house, ransacked it, and purposefully stole items she knew were sentimentally important to me. Therefore leaving me feeling violated and vulnerable, and forcing me to install bars on my windows in order to continue to live on my own.
Yes, it’s TRUE! Both those things DID happen. And they were both important parts of my life. And one does not cancel out the other. What a light bulb feeling. So important to me that I wanted to use it as a writing exercise, to more firmly implant the idea of AND into my mind and life. And when I told T that, she got up from her chair and grabbed a pad and drew me the “And…” that you see above. She told me to take it home and keep it as a visual reminder, because I can be a very visual person. I scanned the image into an electronic file and cleaned up the background (it was a fancy notepad). It’s on my desktop to look at as often as I need, and the hard copy is in my bedroom.
I’ve spent much more time since that conversation with T thinking about the words I use when I speak. I had a long conversation with Hub over dinner last night talking about how we speak to ourselves (in regards to an issue HE is grappling with)…not just negative self-talk, but in regards to the word choices we make. I’m such a semantics type of person, why the difference between “but” and “and” didn’t occur to me before is crazy. Then again, it may have been in my writing repertoire and not in my speaking world. I always write better than I speak because I take much more time to formulate (and edit) what I write, versus speaking. These days, I’m trying to take more time to formulate my speaking words than I used to. More time to consider what my words actually MEAN. I hope that’s a good thing…I hope I can make it meaningful for my journey forward.