Praise From the Praiseworth
Do you liked to be praised? I do. But, not all praise is created equally. Well, that may not be correct. It all may or may not be created equally, but it certainly is experienced differently. If someone tells you that you did something particularly well that probably feels good. If someone who is an expert at the thing you did tells you that you did something particularly well that probably will feel better. Praise from the praiseworthy gives you bonus ego points
I certainly like to be appreciated and I do like it when I get compliments. But, I find a lot of those comments don’t resonate that deeply with me. I like them. Sometimes I aim to get them. And yet, I can get them and not quite get the boost from them that I would hope.
So I asked myself who could give me praise that would really touch me deeply. When I grew up my parent's praise meant the most. I don’t know how you dealt with whatever praise you got from your parents, but I know most children want to hear that praise. They want their parents to tell them how well they have done, how good they have been. But, often parents, in an effort to boost their child's esteem praise things that are not all that praiseworthy. Kids catch on to this and their parent’s praise diminishes in their eyes.
My mother would often give me compliments to which I mostly replied, “You’re only saying that because you’re my mother.” Which was true because I wasn’t getting much of it elsewhere. I could have been more grateful she said the things she did and now I am. Thanks mom. But in those moments while I liked hearing them I didn't gave them full credit. That got me to thinking whose comments would I give full credit?
Since my father gave out less praise his comments held more value to me. I didn’t do well enough in school to get much praise from my teachers only my coaches. While my dad liked my athletic endeavors I don’t think he thought much of them. The way I got his praise was when I got him to laugh. He was not one to laugh easily so when I got him to laugh I felt a level of satisfaction and pride. It made me feel good to make him feel good. I had pride in that and it was often when I felt the most connected with my dad.
I read an article this week written by one of this year's Oscar nominees. The article was a transcript of a call he made to his mother. It is a touching piece and brought a tear to my eye as it speaks to a parent's love and a child's need for it. Often those around us can appreciate our achievements without the anxiety and mixed emotions that sometimes interfere with our own joy. Sometimes we may minimize a parent's or loved one's praise, yet their words and sentiments often stay with us.
Since I like to be satisfied and have pride in myself I asked myself whose praise would I most like now? Certainly since I write there are some authors whose praise would get me to swell up. There are some people who I know who don’t hand out much appreciation and compliments and their praise would mean a lot. My close one's love is praise in itself and helps carry me forward. But the person whose praise would mean the most to me lives within me. Like my father, I don’t hand it out so much to myself. I give it to others because I know it feels good, but I ‘m not so generous with myself.
What do I have to do to earn my own praise I ask myself? Effort is my answer. While I can write something or do something that I feel particularly good about, I also know that if I have invested energy into those efforts I tend to value them more. So, David, I say, effort more at the things that mean the most to you so you can have your praise. Effort at taking it in and letting it touch you and fill you with pride and contentment. And, you know, when it gets down to it, all life is effort. So praise your efforts as best you can.