A lot of my conversations lately, both in the clinic and privately, have seemed to evolve into a discussion regarding language and how it can shape a person’s experiences, belief systems, and actions. This blurb can go in many directions but I want to focus on one conversation that I’ve had with two patients recently about the same topic. It was brought to my attention that if in a conflict you use “but” instead of “and” while explaining two situations, the “but” seems to cancel out whatever you said first and puts more emphasis on the second statement. For example, if you said “I respect your opinion BUT I feel that we could do XYZ”, the person you are talking to only takes in the second half and now feels their experiences are not valid. This can have various consequences down the road affecting this relationship. Now if you changed it to “I respect your opinion AND I feel we could do XYZ”, this opens dialouge to allow for collaboration and change. This simple switch has literally been blowing my mind lately. This scenario comes up way more often than I realized especially when listening to the news and podcasts.