I have a girlfriend who practices the most glorious habit. She's removed the word "but" from her vocabulary entirely, finding that this is the only way she can speak honestly with intention and truth and gratitude.
There is no more, "I don't mean to sound selfish, but..." or "I hope you don't think this is crazy, but..." Having conversations with her has been refreshing. She speaks her mind gently and communicates efficiently with no more unnecessary filler. And she's noticed something interesting about her recent experiment:
When using it in a sentence, no one focuses on what comes before the "but." It's the after that sticks with us.
"Thank you for the latte, but it's a little too hot."
"Thank you for doing the dishes, but I wish you'd dry them next time."
"Thank you for grooming the dogs, but their hair is too short."
Listen, we're all for standing up for yourself here at Clementine Daily. It's important to state our feelings and speak up when we need to. Yet "but" brings a bit of a wild card into the picture, causing us to create mixed signals to those around us - and in the process, ourselves. It seems there's a fine line between explaining our feelings to avoid future miscommunication or establish a preferred system of efficiency and explaining our feelings to control the situation or maintain a critical perspective.
We want to practice the former, not the latter. We want our "Thank you for the latte" to be "Thank you for the latte." We want our grateful spirit to overshadow our list of demands. We want to choose our words wisely, thoughtfully and gently - no "buts" about it.
This month, we're exploring a variety of ideas we're grateful for: home-cooked, nutritious meals like pumpkin sage risotto and polenta pizza, the therapeutic benefits of eucalpytus in the shower, rich and buttery leather fall boots to carry us through our busy lives. But - and this is a good "but" - we'll also be sprinkling in a few ways we're practicing the power of gratitude in our thoughts and words - like dreaming big without losing our mind, being kind to ourselves and making connections offline.
Because after all, November is a month of gratitude. So to you, dear readers, enjoy the coming month's inspired articles. And thank you for the latte.