Praise and Criticism

Cabernet by Tim CarlTwo sides of one coin.  If you give value to one side then you give value to the other side. This bit of advice is tough to take, but it is true.

Let’s say that someone says that you are fantastic at this or that — when they do you get that wonderful feeling that comes from someone’s acknowledgement of your specialness, hard work, persistence, etc.  That feels great. But then let’s say that later you now want that feeling again. You do things that provide you that feeling. That wonderful feeling of praise now as a lot of power over what you do or don’t do.

But then the day comes when someone doesn’t acknowledge you. Maybe you say, “That is OK, maybe I didn’t do whatever well enough, or work hard enough.”  So you work harder and then look to the someone expectantly for praise. But this someone thinks your whatever is still not up to snuff. They don’t think you are worthy of praise at all, and in fact now they think you need some criticism.  Now, because you value the opposite feeling, this criticism has the exact but opposite power as the praise did, and so this criticism makes you feel terrible.

It is nice to be acknowledged. It is awful to be unappreciated. But these are two sides of the same coin.  If you have a guiding light and follow it honestly, you can get to the point when you can view the coin as an interesting object, such as a wooden nickel, something to be curiously witnessed but of little real value.

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