How Small Linguistic Changes Improve Life
Kick the buts in the butt to expand your vision!
Yesterday, January 3, 2017, I took the dogs for a walk on the beach. It was -7°C (19°F), quite cold by our West Coast standards.
As I was risking my life making my way from the sheer ice of the sidewalk to the sand, I noticed, on the black shiny surface of the ocean, a paddle boarder.
I reached for my camera. I wanted to immortalize this person paddle boarding in January. Since I am slow with my camera, I wondered if I would end up taking a photo of a brave person standing on a board in the middle of the ocean or of an idiot who fell into the frozen water in January….
I was not the only one who noticed. While I was taking photos, secretly hoping for the fall, I heard comments from the crowd that had formed.
Look Who’s Talking
“How brave but what an idiot.”
“You’ve got to be crazy!”
“But crazy good or crazy bad?”
“I wish I was that adventurous but I am glad I am not that stupid.”
“I really want him to reach his destination but I hope he falls and learns his lesson.”
“I am not jumping in to rescue him” seemed to be the only statement we all agreed on.
Comments coming from the crowd’s collective consciousness or simply my own judgement creeping in?
As I continued to follow the paddle boarder with my lens, I wondered, “Why, as a crowd, do we think that we have to label him with one attribute — he could be this, but instead he’s that?”
“Are we excluding the option that he could embody all of those attributes? How is that not even a possibility?”
Couldn’t he be brave and idiotic and crazy good and crazy bad and stupid and adventurous and learning his lesson, regardless of whether or not he reached his destination?
We can all expand our minds and let go of the either/or mentality if we drop the conjunction but and start using and instead.
It’s not a secret that my fabulous editor* (whom I love!) keeps telling me that but is more than just a conjunction and that to wipe it off the dictionary is not appropriate.
But is also a preposition. When it is used as a preposition, but has the same meaning as except.
Exactly my point! Every time you use but in a sentence it contradicts what you said in the first part of the sentence. Basically, you say one thing and then you negate it.
I am a great person BUT (except) I am lazy. What if those two attributes were complementary to each other rather than competing with each other? You can be both great and lazy.
In fact, unless you are willing to integrate all of your attributes within yourself, you cannot be great, or nice, or wonderful. You can be wonderful only when you have accepted and integrated your assholeness.
Expand to a Multilayered You
As a Life Coach and Business Coach I don’t want YOU to limit yourself to being either great or lazy. I want you to accept all the attributes of your personality and live an intentional life.
Sometime being an asshole is who you want to be. When you embrace it consciously, there is no judgement from yourself or others.
You know how sometimes you bitch about something and the person you’re talking to gets it? It’s because your bitching was integrated with your personality, and was therefore successfully received by the other person. Accepting your inner bitch is very different than going around telling people that they are a bitch, or an asshole, or lazy.
When we integrate the conventionally undesirable sides of our personality, they don’t bother us anymore. It’s a vertical process in which you integrate attributes within yourself.
When you have not integrated the dark aspects of your personality, you spit them out, horizontally, towards people. That’s when they become unacceptable and rude because you make it about the other person, not about who you are in the moment.
The Intentional You Connects and Gets Received
I knew I had integrated my inner bitch when, unhappy about an outcome, I stood my ground and spoke authentically about my experience and expressed my side of the story consciously.
Once the other person understood my point and the issue was resolved, they said “what a bitch” to my face and I automatically thanked them. “One of my finest attributes,” I told them with pride. They laughed and I knew we had connected and respected each other.
True niceness is not about presenting a façade of who we are. If we limit ourselves to being only nice or wonderful, we force people to do what we want with a fake smile. That’s insulting. True niceness is holding someone responsible by authentically saying, “You screwed up, now where are we going from here?”
Wouldn’t you rather be treated as a resourceful and responsible person rather than being handled with kid gloves like a child? You can only be part of the solution if you are responsible for your actions.
You Are the Sum of All Your Attributes
You are only as good as the attributes you are willing to own. Light side, dark side and all, you are unique and exclusive. You are you. When you have accepted all that you are and stopped judging your attributes as good or bad, your life becomes a nuanced sequence of ands.
You are unique and special and ordinary and an asshole and a wonderful human being and stubborn and passionate and…
Continue describing all that you already are and who you want to be.
*no editor was harmed during the editing of this article.
Are You Ready to Expand Your Vision?
30 DAYS TO A NEW YOU is an essential self-help book and manual written by personal life coach and business consultant Monica Magnetti. It guides you to a proven process of becoming aware of your limiting thoughts, words and action. Once you are aware of how you hold yourself back, you can intentionally learn new more fulfilling patterns.
Originally published at www.lunacoaching.com on February 7, 2017.