GET OFF YOUR BUT

No, that isn't a typo. I mean "but" not "butt."


Think about some things that you tell yourself or say about yourself that include the word "but". I'll start. I really want to qualify for USPA Nationals but I can't get a qualifying total. Do you have your "but" statement?


Great. Now, let's repeat it, replacing "but" with "and". I really want to qualify for USPA Nationals and I haven't got a qualifying total. This way of thinking is called dialectical thinking. It is the concept of holding two ideas that seem to be at odds with each other at the same time. It can be really uncomfortable because our minds love things that are really neat and tidy, and dialectical thinking can be a bit more messy. However, thinking dialectically can be a powerful way to be less judgmental towards yourself and others. It also can be the impetus for a profound shift from having a lot of limiting beliefs (the part that comes after the word "but") to allowing yourself space for change and growth.


When we use the word "but", it often has the feeling of cancelling whatever was said before it. Think about when someone apologized to you, and then throws in the word "but" in the middle. It has that feeling of "you didn't even mean that at all."


This kind of thinking is a cornerstone of DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), and we can incorporate it into our everyday life by just noticing those times when we're talking to or about ourselves with a lot of "buts". If you notice that happening, experiment with replacing the word but with and.


An important note that if your statement includes something that is a judgment rather than a fact, it won't really work. Consider the following statement: I want to get this work done but I'm a lazy asshole. Swapping "but" to "and" just isn't going to cut it here. You'll need to revise the statement until it is something that is closer to a fact and less of a judgment. Maybe the fact is that I haven't done as much as I'd like, so the revision could be: I want to get this work done and I haven't done as much as I'd like.


There are many ways to use this kind of thinking in your fitness and intuitive eating journey. If you're struggling with judging yourself for your current behaviors, how might you use "and" thinking to reframe some of those judgments? Do those reframed thoughts feel different when you say them aloud to yourself?

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