A “simple” trick that I have many of my clients do - to begin to sit with ambiguity and to highlight the dialectics that occur within our everyday lives - is to switch the use of the word “but” to “and.” Let me give an example.
Let’s say you’re describing a day that started out quite excellent, which then was interrupted with an inconvenience. Many people would describe the situation in a way like this.
“Oh I was having the greatest day. I woke up fully rested, I had an excellent cup of coffee, and my partner had taken the dog out for a walk; it was excellent. But then I went to start the car and the battery was dead.”
When we use the word but, it negates everything that came before it. We no longer care about that great morning, we instead are focused on the one perceived negative of the dead battery. A more effective way of describing the situation, that allows the positives of the day to continue would be to swap “but” out for “and.”
“Oh I was having the greatest day. I woke up fully rested, I had an excellent cup of coffee, and my partner had taken the dog out for a walk; it was excellent; And then I went to start the car and the battery was dead.”
It changes the tone of the thought we’re having and the story we’re telling both ourselves and others. No longer is the positive discarded; instead both events are given space and it balances out a bit.
Give it a try!