“Yes, But” vs. “Yes, And” Endings (Part 2)

“…every new beginning, comes from some other beginning's end”*
Man in a business suit standing at a crossroads

Image credit: alphaspirit

Last week I talked about whether ending something and moving on is a ‘yes, but” or a “yes, and” decision. If you missed that, you can read it here.

Below are a few more thoughts on why and how to discern this difference.

Does It Really Matter Whether It’s a “Yes, But” or a “Yes, And?”

Yes, yes it does! For two reasons:

  1. Making the decision to move on for the wrong reasons can lead to a life of regret, or one where you ultimately don’t achieve the things you want or deserve. On the flip side, failing to end something simply because you are coming from a place of “yes, but” can have the same effect of holding you back.
  2. Ending something for the right reason often makes room for something better to take its place, as the song quote above so aptly describes.

What’s the Difference Between a “Yes, But” and a “Yes, And” Decision?

There are actually many differences, but here are some of the biggest:

  • “Yes, buts” often come from negative emotions. “Yes, ands” come from a more logical and reasoned place.
  • “Yes, but” is about simply giving up without considering alternatives. “Yes, and” is about having something better to move on to.
  • “Yes, but” uses short-term thinking. “Yes, and” takes the long-term impact into account.
  • “Yes, but” involves narrow thinking. You focus on one aspect of the situation and base your choice on that. “Yes, and” involves a broader thought process and takes multiple things into consideration.
  • “Yes, buts” are reflexive, driven from the programming we internalize during childhood or from other previous experience. “Yes, ands” are about the carefully considered choices we make to put ourselves in the best position for the future.

How to Make More “Yes, And” Decisions

While there is no way to be 100% certain, these are a few questions to ask yourself to figure out if you’re making a “yes, and” or “yes, but” decision:

  • Am I in a high emotional state? If so, take some time to engage in an unrelated activity to calm down before deciding.
  • Do I have something better to move on to? If not, you might be making a reflexive “yes, but” decision. Be clear on not only what you are leaving behind, but also what you are moving toward.
  • Do a bit of mental time traveling: look back on your life as if it were 10 years from now. Do you think you’ll look back on this decision with happiness and pride or longing and regret?
  • Are there things you could try to make the current situation work that you have not yet attempted? It’s hard to know you are making the right decision if you haven’t tried everything you reasonably can.
  • Am I reluctant to let go because I truly think this is the best thing for me, or because I am worried about what others might think?
  • Am I afraid of no longer having this thing in my life because it has defined me for a long time?
  • Divide the possibilities into four quadrants. Most consider only one or two. Think through all four and consider the pros and cons of each, as well as how likely each is:
    What if I end this and it works out?
    What if I end this and it doesn’t work out?
    What if I stick with this and it works out?
    What if I stick with this and it doesn’t work out?

It’s never easy to make the decision to end things and move on. I hope these two articles have helped give you some help and insight to make the process a little easier and to help you know if you are making the right decision.

*Fun Fact: The song “Closing Time” from Semisonic is not really about a bar, but rather was written as a metaphor about the birth of the lead singer’s child. He knew no one would go for a song about his kid being born, so he wrapped it in a story about being kicked out of a bar. I learned this when my son was a baby, and the next time I heard the song it made me tear up. What can I say? I’m a softie…

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