An Ode to the Word "AND"

This article (chain of thought?) was part of my weekly newsletter, The Self-Letter.

We have to actively practice to replace the word or with and.

While or creates division and stands for pigeon-holing ourselves and others, and stands for inclusivity and compassion.

Here are some examples - needless to say, there are endless more:

  • We can forgive and not forget.
  • We can forgive and still not want a relationship with someone.
  • We can love someone and choose to not be with them.
  • We can be privileged and emotionally unprivileged.
  • We can suffer from mental illness and be jolly and outgoing.
  • We can have it all and suffer from mental illness.
  • We can love children and not want our own.
  • We can have compassion with someone and not want them in our lives.
  • We can be queer and date, love, and have sex with someone of the same gender.
  • We can be in a loving relationship and be attracted and fantasize about other people.
  • We can be in a loving relationship and masturbate and watch porn.
  • We can be generous and choose to not lend money to someone.
  • We can be kind and good-hearted and tell people to f*ck off if necessary.

To see what difference and makes, replace it with but in the above examples.

Bottom line: We can be/feel/experience/ one AND the other. One statement doesn't chip away from the other's validity.

In the end, to use and more than or is a way to embrace the complexity of human nature.