From the author:
The word "but"
What always fascinates me in my seminars is how much we are drilled on the use of this inconspicuous-sounding little word:
- "Herr Hornung, I can understand that you are angry, but I really can not do anything about that!"
- "Sweetheart! I love you, but we have to talk! "
- "Ms. Meier, I am more than satisfied with your performance, but there are some things I would wish for a little different!"
- "Markus, you are really a fine guy, but your room looks like the pig again!"
Adversative or relative?
You already feel that the list of sentences in which the "but" creeps in could be extended indefinitely. It's just inflationary and sloppy, as we use the poor little word "but".
Language should serve understanding, and when we use it for everything and everything, we are easily misunderstood. Maybe a look into the German grammar is good and can help. The "but" is a conjunction that can be used in our language in two ways:
- adversative (ie the opposite of what has just been said)
- relatively (thus relativizing the above).
"And" instead of "but"
Both are nice and good and in many cases even desired and in emotional communication both are not helpful. We do not want to be understood as either adversative or relativizing. We want to realize that it understands exactly what it sends. This means that we are almost always allergic to the "but" react.
Fortunately there is another conjunction in the German language that is there to juxtapose valid sentences. She is far better equipped to let Jack know that we truly understand and acknowledge his emotions. It is - you guessed it long ago - the word "and".
Two statements instead of conjunction
Especially effective is the whole thing, if you also omit the "and", instead make a point and just put two statements in two sentences, instead of communicating everything in one sentence.
Our brain is very well trained and correspondingly sensitive in listening. It recognizes and senses the difference immediately. Do an experiment and leave the following three sentences at rest:
- "I see you're mad, but there's nothing you can do!"
- "I see you are angry and you can not do anything!"
- "I see you're mad. Unfortunately, you can not do anything. "
The change in subconsciousness
The difference does not appear to be dramatic at first and is hardly noticeable. But if you let the words come to your attention, if you listen more closely to the three variants, then you notice that something subtly changes. Do you feel how, with each sentence, recognition of anger becomes clearer and more credible?
Or what about giving expression to the emotion of joy from now on the word "but":
- "I'm really happy about second place, but Markus does not deserve the first one."
- "I'm really happy about second place and Markus does not deserve the first one."
- "I'm happy about the second place. Markus does not deserve the first. "
Do not relativize positive statements with "buts"
Here the difference is already clearly recognizable, especially in the third example, in which the two statements are formulated in separate sentences. The more isolated the emotional statement or recognition is made, the less it is relativized, the sooner our counterpart will recognize that it is meant seriously.
For the important recognition of emotions this means: There is the feedback "The signal has arrived and was understood", which means for Jack that the signal can now be switched off!
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