I have come to truly appreciate the word AND.  It is so little, but it could be the most powerful word in our language.  It is a word that gives us permission to experience multiple feelings at the same time. It is a word that allows us to be human.

Why do we often force ourselves into one emotion? And even when we allow ourselves to have multiple emotions, why do we assume they all  have to be the same stripe.

“I am sad for myself AND happy for you” says the mother whose daughter was moving away.  “I love it here AND I am homesick” says the 18 year old away at college for the first time.  “I am  eager AND terrified” says the newly divorced mother of three.  “I am loving my new life AND I am homesick” says the 18 year old in her first year of college.  “I am depressed AND angry AND hopeful” says the couple undergoing fertility treatments.

To be human is to accept that we can and do experience everything.  When we force ourselves to pick one, we limit our understanding of the moment.  Very often we try to shove our experiences  into the big emotional groups, happy, sad, angry, and excited.  But people are not made that way. To be human is to experience on a multitude of levels, in a multitude of ways.

AND allows us to be complex. It allows us to slow down because we no longer have to feel one thing, we no longer have to figure out how we feel in an oversimplified way.  Try adding AND to see what it can do for you.

Dr. Karen Wasserstein graduated from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology and has worked with individuals, couples and groups in the Maryland area since moving here in 1998. Karen focuses on both the here and now as well as on the deeper function and causes of thoughts and behavior. Karen will work with a client on both practical strategies and on the underlying understanding. She uses a multidisciplinary approach with a specific focus on the self. Karen’s focus is on working with clients in late adolescence through adulthood and has specific training in infertility issues and couples therapy.