Yes! But... is a phrase I hear often. When I hear somebody saying this, especially in counselling, the message I am taking on is this: I hear you and what you’re saying makes sense, but here are the reasons why I cannot take on that perspective myself, followed by that person sharing unbalanced thought patterns and/or barriers to seeing another perspective.
If you catch yourself saying this, step back, take a breath, and really consider the other perspective.
There are many different perspectives to every situation. The perspective you take on is simply one point of view, governed by your historical experiences, successes, failures, and anxieties. The thing is, other perspectives may be equally accurate, or even more so, and perhaps more helpful to the psyche. To be fair, it can be difficult to challenge our view of a situation because the mind wants to prove itself right, regardless of how distorted our perspective may be. It focuses on validating that one (perhaps unhelpful) perspective you have taken on, even when that one perspective is inaccurate, unbalanced, and/or weighing on you emotionally.
Meaning, we tend to resist other perspectives because that means that ours may not be right. It takes self-awareness and humility to push our egos aside and accept that our thoughts may not be accurate. It takes practice too! It’s not always easy and it might not feel natural, bit it can be seen as a skill to be learned. It’s more natural to blindly identify with the thoughts that come to our head, because we tend to view our thoughts as enmeshed with our identity (I am what I think). However, we are more than our thoughts: we are the consciousness underneath our thoughts.
Remember, we are constantly lying to ourselves. Just because a thought pops up, doesn’t mean it’s true, and how we react to that thought is in our control. In order to really take in and process other perspectives, we have to be able to acknowledge the following:
Thoughts are just thoughts, and thoughts are not facts.
A shift in thinking is a shift in perspective. In turn, this shift can change how we are viewing and interacting with the world around us. In fact, focusing on thoughts and thinking patterns is a primary element of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), one of the most well researched and recommended psychotherapies. This is good news, because if you are struggling to challenge your thinking on your own, we are here to help you embrace the Yes! Without the But…
“When you face reality, give other realities you don't know yet a chance to reach your mind.”― Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel
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