As a Coach, I’m not a big fan of ya, buts!
They tend to be used to negate the usefulness of a truth. So, Ya, such-and-such is true, But, I’m going to negate that truth with another idea, usually not helpful.
For example…(I’ll use client and coach here, but you might see this type of conversation anywhere!)
Client: I got 75% on my certification exam.
Coach: Great! You passed, and you are now certified!
Client: Ya, but, I should have done better.
Sigh. (By the way, coaches really don’t sigh in that moment, we know it’s all part of a process, and all good!) The above Ya, But only serves to make the client feel bad about their efforts, and themselves.
So, I’m not sure if I’d say this to a client, but if you are reading this, you might considering countering your own Ya, Buts with this Ya, But:
The Counter-Ya-But: Ya, but, what does that thought get you?
If you assume that every thought you attach to is played out by your brain best it can (It is), here’s what it will get you:
- An impossible to resolve conflict – Should have done better, but can’t change the past, so permanent state of not-ok-ness, stress and tension.
- A pretty nice knock to your self-esteem and confidence.
- A pretty nice knock to your concept of your self-efficacy and inclination towards taking action.
So, what is the point on focusing on “I should have done better”? It gets you nothing but grief and decreased happiness and performance.
By using the Counter-Ya-But, you don’t have to give up your precious belief that you should have done better, you just have to decide it’s not helpful to focus on.
In reality, we do Ya-Buts and Counter-Ya-Buts with ourselves all the time, usually at a not-fully-conscious level (and not always with the Ya, But words!). It may be experienced as ruminating or worrying.
By bringing an extra level of consciousness and healthy intent to your mental game of Ya-But ping pong, you can can settle on the Ya-But that actually helps you, not hurts you!
(Major hint, the thought to settle on FEELS empowering, expanding, and peaceful.)