Do we need praise
Hello fellow Protagonists,
Praise feels good doesn't it.
A pat on the back for putting in the overtime, meeting a tough deadline or simply just a compliment on the way we decided to dress one day.
For example, I like the way you styled your nasal hair today.
See how much better you feel now?
So what happens when we put great effort into something and get no praise as a response. How can that lead us to feel?
Maybe not so great.
All is not lost Buff folk.
Let's say that the task we completed was exactly the same and in one scenario we got praised for it, on the other scenario we were not praised.
Does this change the effort and good work we had put into the task? Has it even changed what your outcome was?
In reality, praise is nice but does not make any action better.
The situation being praised has already been and gone and we cannot change the past.
The past doesn't mean earlier in the day or even last week, it can mean the second that has just passed.
Someone saying well done to our task, does not add more to the task as it has already been completed.
In this same principle, calling a diamond beautiful doesn't make it sparkle any more. Calling a sip of ice cold beer refreshing doesn't make it taste any more refreshing.
Whether or not you did a good job on something does not depend on what others have to say about it. You already know.
The strangest part of praise is that once anybody else praises something, it is no longer reality.
By the time anyone has processed what it is they are praising into their own understanding - and running this past their own biases - to then generating an opinion, it has become something different to what it naturally was.
In other words, just because someone says something, or doesn't say something, it doesn't make it any more or less true.
And if anyone thinks they can offer praise objectively, this is impossible. To convert something into words in the first place we need to make it subjective.
Trying to experience things without focusing on our thoughts is a skill on being able to see something for what it truly is and in experiencing mindfulness.
This is not as easy as it sounds though.
As a little experiment, pick something up and try to view it without thinking about or critiquing the item.
See how long it takes until our brain wants to describe something.
Tough isn't it.
So what about an action or task rather than an item?
If we know that another person's praise of our task has been passed through their beliefs and biases, then we also know it is their truth, not the absolute truth.
If our actions are going to be weighed up against beliefs, they may as well be our own beliefs.
Holding our actions and completed tasks alongside our own core values is far more valuable to us than the opinions of other people.
We should still praise others and accept the praise of others, it is just realising that when we do this it is only our opinion of the situation and not necessarily the truth. Besides, a world with no praise would be depressing as hell.
The same can be said for criticism. If something we do is criticised then this is against another person's beliefs and biases.
So not the absolute truth.
If we realise that our own action goes against our core values then we know it is time to change our future actions to try and match those values.
There is a time and a place to listen to what other have got to say. People can provide criticism for a number of reasons so it is about hearing the criticism and then running it by our own values.
It may be that despite the criticism we still feel it was the right decision to make, just their decision would have been different. That's not a good or a bad thing, just a thing.
Constructive criticism from other people is what helps us learn and without that we still probably wouldn't be able to tie our own show laces. Focus on the constructive aspect rather than the criticism.
You will know if you did a good job or not. If you acted in line with your core values then that's enough. Any external praise is just a pleasant bonus.
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