Stay to the Left of But: A Great Spiritual Practice!


What most people are unaware of is our self-talk becomes instructions to our subconscious, which carries out the ‘orders’ given to it by our conscious mind. And if those instructions are negatively-charged, we get negative results.

Essentially, we program negativity into our lives as a result of our negative thinking, which generally creates negative choices, which lead to negatively-charged actions.

Most of us are constantly bombarded with this self-imposed mental clutter. We talk to ourselves all day long and, unfortunately, this self-censorship is often tainted with guilt about our past or anxiety about our future. This negativity can destroy any seed of hope that we may otherwise have in striving for our dreams.

Here’s a few of examples of what most of that negative self-talk sounds like. See if you’ve ever talked to yourself this way:

  • I’m capable, but I never seem to get noticed.
  • I know who I am, but I still doubt myself too much.
  • I wish I was smarter, but I didn’t inherit the right genes.
  • I choose to be present in all I do, but I feel like I’m still behind the eight ball.
  • I know I should move on, but I don’t believe I can ever love again.
  • I try to stay positive, but there’s always a dark cloud hanging over me.
  • I believe Truth principles work, but they don’t seem to work for me.

Notice the defining word in each of those sentences: BUT. When we keep ‘butting’ ourselves, our ‘buts’ become “instructions” to our subconscious, which works tirelessly to ensure these ‘instructions’ become our reality. So, we encourage you to stay to the left of but. And here’s what that looks like:

  • I’m capable.
  • I know who I am.
  • I wish I was smarter.
  • I choose to be present in all I do.
  • I know I should move on.
  • I try to stay positive.
  • I believe Truth principles work.

Edit out the wimpy voices and phrases that disempower you. Censor thinking that vetoes your self-worth. Ban thoughts that deny your innate divinity. What we’re suggesting is: Eliminate stinking thinking. Stay to the left of but!

One of the greatest enemies of your spiritual growth and human happiness is self-rejection, because it contradicts your Inner Voice that says “You are God expressing at the point of you.”

Staying to the left of ‘buts’ is like staying out of mud puddles. If you’re stuck in a mud puddle, it means there’s higher ground all around you. All you have to do is find higher ground. And staying to the left of ‘buts’ is higher ground.

How we see ourselves and what we say about ourselves is based on what social scientists call a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy.’ You’re no doubt familiar with it. 20th-century sociologist Robert Merton was the one who coined the term ‘self-fulfilling prophecy.’

Head-megaphone-dt_m_54884692It means that we react or respond to what’s ‘out there’ based on our perceptions of what we believe to be real. AND we make judgments based on the meanings we attach to our experiences, rather than the experiences themselves. And self-talk is a direct result of the meaning we attribute to our self-worth.

Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, studies the ways people explain the positive and negative events in their lives. He has found that pessimists form world views around negative events and explain away anything good that happens to them. Optimists tend to distance themselves from negative events and embrace the positive.

Things people who stay to the right of but seem to have in common are:

  • They magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones.
  • When something bad occurs, they automatically personalize it by blaming themselves.
  • They automatically anticipate the worst. They catastrophize it.
  • They see things only as either good or bad. There is no middle ground. They feel they have to be perfect or they’re a total failure. They see polarity instead of unity. They are conditioned by the world of outer appearances.

Trash-talking ourselves is demeaning and totally uncalled for. Our sense of well being decreases pretty quickly if we don’t stay to the left of our ‘buts.’ We’re inviting you to stay to the left of your ‘buts,’ however, what that really means is eliminating your buts.

Tips to Help You Stay to the Left of But

Back up the Power of Positive Thinking with the Power Of Possibility Thinking. Research has found that when you’re down and out and force yourself to say positive things to yourself, you may end up feeling worse because your internal lie detector goes off. Do you know what we mean? Have you ever felt that way?

Here’s the thing. Possibility thinking doesn’t activate your internal ‘lie detector.’ It puts things in a believable context. It softens the distance between how you really feel about yourself and what is possible.

So, don’t let your ‘buts’ pollute your present or your future. Choose words that inspire you, motivate you, make you laugh, and boost your morale: “You da Man” or “You go, girl.”

Your actions are inspired by your thoughts. If you can change the way you think, you can begin to change the actions you take. So, remove negative and pejorative terms from your self-talk. Keep your inner critic in its place.

Give your Inner Critic a Name. Preferably a silly one! It’s hard to take that negative inner voice seriously when you call it The Nag. (“Here comes The Nag again.”) That’s what Seligman calls it. Brené Brown, PhD, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and author of The Gifts Of Imperfection, calls hers ‘The Gremlin.’

The important thing is to create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life by staying to the left of but. That means eliminating the ‘but’ from your life entirely!

Align Your Human Self with your Divine Nature.  Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of the possible you into the roaring flames of self-worth and achievement as you align your human self with your Divine Nature. And there’s no ‘but’ in that statement!

Positively, Absolutely, Stay to the Left of But. And remember, a positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it’ll annoy enough people to make it worth your while. Become consciously aware of what you are saying, and when you catch yourself saying but — just stop — and listen to the Truth of who you really are, as you walk the spiritual path on practical feet!

© Bil & Cher Holton, The Global Center for Spiritual Practices

Photo credits, used with permission:
  © Cher Holton
  © Mikhail Avdeev |

About Bil and Cher Holton - The Global Center for Spiritual Practices

Combine a flair for the dramatic, a deep understanding of metaphysics combined with the teachings of Jesus, and a zest for neuroscience and Positive Psychology, and you have defined the dynamic duo who are at the heart of The Global Center for Spiritual Practices, a Cyber Home for people who are more spiritual than religious. Revs. Drs. Bil and Cher Holton bring quite a background of experience and depth of knowledge to this special ministry. They are dynamic and thought-provoking speakers, prolific authors, and spiritual teachers. Check them out at
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