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Become More Assertive, No Buts About It

By Debbie Mandel

Has the word but been creeping into your statements? You might wonder what’s wrong with using this seemingly harmless coordinating conjunction? But contradicts what came before it, and signals to others that you are unsure of yourself and that you do not accept responsibility. But makes you come across as negative and conflicted. But interrupts other’s harmony and sets up conditions. I have never heard of a prayer beginning with but.
  • I would surely go, but
  • I take you for my wedded wife, but
  • I would have done well on the test, but
  • I am happy, but
  • I gained weight, but those holiday meals
  • I would exercise, but I’m tired
The words we choose create our reality and that’s why we should go for quality words when we speak to others and most importantly, in our own self-talk. Think back to the people who inspired you and made you feel like you could accomplish anything. What words did they use when speaking to you? “You can do it!” “I believe in you!” “Go for it!” “I love you so much!” “You look great!” There were no mixed messages or conditions to provide an escape route.

Make a commitment to your words and stand by them. By assuming responsibility for a decision, lifestyle or relationship, even when it failed, you are empowered. You made a mistake and will choose better. What is your message to the world? What do you stand for? Create a business card for your spirit.

Everything you say and do should be your brand name. To brand yourself take a journey to embrace your signature strengths. What do you love to do? Life is a treasure hunt. On the way you might find: Hugs, paper clips, mops, pots and pans, text books, vacations, gardens, dessert, shops, treadmills, etc. You don’t necessarily like everything on your list, or even need it. You do what is necessary to win the prize. What are you looking for? Name it and go for it! Make sure it is a quality word.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: