Yeahbut…(Distortion #2)

19 Jul

I know a few yeahbutters. I bet you do too.

When I hear the “yeahbut” my tendency is to do one of two things: 1. go into convincing mode or 2. stop talking all together.  It seems that by operating within either extreme, I can perhaps accomplish receiving some acknowledgment on the part of the yeahbutter OR I can prevent from feeling like I want to ram my head against a brick wall.

The yeahbutter refuses to acknowledge the positive.  “Wow, you look really great, Sheila! You’ve worked really hard a…(cue interruption)”   “Yeahbut…I still have so far to go!”

The yeahbutter, often without thinking, moves from a compliment or a benefit, to a disqualification.  “You only have 3 more assignments to go to finish out this course!”  “Yeahbut, I have barely gotten through the first 7!!”

How frustrating is it to speak with a yeahbutter, to praise a yeahbutter (even though this is often the first instinct due to their lack of recognition)?

The yeahbutter suffers from another cognitive distortion. You read in my last post about black and white thinking and how it creates walls for any person in approaching life with flexibility. Establishing balance when you operate with a dichotomous thought pattern sets you up for feeling like you’re going through a maze with no beginning or end.  Like dichotomous thinking, ‘yeahbutting’ leads you straight toward a life of negativity….a lack of appreciation…and a pretty discouraging and gloomy existence.  Dismal.

The glass half full person doesn’t operate in ‘yeahbut’ land. Disqualifying the positive feels UNnatural to this person.   The individual who wears rose-colored glasses– same thing.

This week do a personal assessment of your use of “yeahbut”.  See if you notice it in others and what feeling it brings to you.  The feeling is likely mirroring what they are experiencing!

In my work I make agreements with my clients– when they begin to say it, I get to interrupt them. A form of thoughtstopping, they learn to catch themselves in order to begin the change process. I think it’s more fun for me than it is for them.  But recognition is the first step.

See if you can move from “yeahbut” to “heck yeah!” 😉

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2 Responses to “Yeahbut…(Distortion #2)”

  1. Donloree July 28, 2011 at 10:46 PM #

    Yeah but…I like saying yeah but! 😉 Truly being able to accept a compliment has taken me two years and its a gift to be able to receive them now. But even greater than being able to receive compliments, I am able to GIVE them from the bottom of my heart. ‘Yeah but’ leads directly to scarcity thinking indeed! I say it’s time to get of your ‘yeah but’ and get to work! 🙂 Great post lady.

    • kpropst July 30, 2011 at 5:25 PM #

      Thanks, Donloree! Disqualifying the positive comes so naturally to some. It’s their default. Before they’ve even considered what has been said to them, “yeahbut” escapes their lips!
      Something I often have those I’m working with practice is counting for 3 seconds before responding. Not “1,2,3” but a drawn out “one-one thousand, two-one thousand….” Doing so minimizes impulsivity, gives them time to formulate a more appropriate response, and try out some new language. Resetting defaults can be tough, but just like a computer, we have a backspace key, and we can also “restart”. 😉

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