Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Useless phrases

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse, and. you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again; you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.--Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've said that there are six phrases that I want to eliminate from my thinking: "What if", "Yes, but" and "I know". When I use these phrases, my ego is usually in charge and I'm either trying to defend myself, prove a point or projecting fear.

Projecting fear can stop everything in its tracks. It can paralyze my mind. I can read all kinds of things into situations when I project my fear into the future.

I shared a story last night about a person who was undergoing exploratory surgery to determine whether he had cancer. He was concerned about the outcome and said to his friend, "What if I have cancer?" The friend looked him in the eye and said, "You'll deal with it just as you have dealt with all the other tough times in your life."

What I have often failed to realize is that if I don't "borrow trouble", I can deal with whatever comes my way. If I stop the worry, then my thinking clears up and I can see a solution or steps that I need to take more clearly.

If I eliminate the "what if's", then I can trust myself and my HP to do what's best for me.

If I eliminate the "yes but's", then I can listen to what is being said with acceptance for their viewpoint without having to prove my own point.

If I eliminate the "I know's", then I may actually learn something from someone else and find out that I don't have all the answers.


  1. The "what ifs" are major anxiety producers for sure!

    "I know?" I'll have to work on that one because I am the queen of "I knows."

    I think it was in Courage To Change...I was reading up on being controlling. They talked about telling someone something more than once and how that it is a controlling thing if you repeat yourself. I am a major offender and working on the controlling thing. It will take me awhile I think. I try not to let it slip out too often but if you knew how often I have to fight the urge to control someone, you might be surprised.

    To me the "I knows" are a control issue. Trying to get someone to think the way I do. I big no-no.

  2. This post reminds me of the title of one of my favorite Buddhist books that refers to having no ego and living in the moment: "Being Nobody, going nowhere". When we let go of our ego and live in the present things can be much better in our lives.

  3. Exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thanks Syd!

  4. When I finally came to the realization that I did not have all the answers(and did not have to have all the answers)for me, or for anyone else, a tremendous weight was lifted and a wonderful humility set in. Who am I to think I know what is best for someone else anyway? If I spend all my time trying to advise, direct, control someone else it is because I don't know what to do with myself, and I don't have to deal with me, I can avoid facing my own issues. I am so grateful for this program.

  5. My dad used to say to me in his well days, never say "i Know", its a total killer of finding things out, even if you do know listen and pretend ignorance.
    I think you are saying Live in the moment, dont live in the past with "what if", its done and saying what if is not your path through life.
    Yes I have done lots of weird stuff while drunk, its as if you are possessed by evil spirits which in a way you are

  6. i second you on those phrases. perfect and logical.


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