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Praise cannot be overestimated

April 13, 2012

Last night I sent some emails through Linkedin to ask for recommendations. As a freelancer I need to keep generating work and apparently people read these things so I thought I’d ask a few people to write about me. It is so nice to read positive feedback. Obviously a recommendation is exclusively the positive bits, none of the critical stuff or the could do better bits so it is literally all good.(I hate it when people use literally loosely – as in ‘I literally exploded after he said that’). When I had one of those psycholgical profile colour things done last year I read the summary page and of course focussed on (and remember) the positive aspects – well the things I regard as positive.  And lightly skipped over the bits that didn’t sound so great. I’ve always had a capacity for self-belief. Overstated some may say, but bloody useful and a wonderful buffer against the knocks of the world. Whereas some people seem to focus on the negative – things that have gone wrong rather than right, things they can’t do rather than can, things they haven’t done rather than have. I don’t get it. Really. It must be so hard thinking you’re not good enough all the time just because you’re not perfect. Nobody is perfect, but you just have to be good enough for the task in hand. I fully accept many people could do the job better than me (whatever the job is), but i don’t sweat about it. I’m not a great cook – I have friends who are brilliant – but I don’t feel inadequate next to them. I can make edible food, a half decent roast and a good cake. And am lucky enough to earn enough to be able to eat out. I hope I appreciate their fabulous offerings and tell them so as I want to be someone who gives compliments. I know my kids think I am quick to criticise (and I am), but I do try to say nice things too as I love to receive as well.

It is a fact though that some people just cannot accept praise. Or see it as meaningless. I think that’s when they are praised for something they can do naturally – that requires no effort on their part so they take it as a given. Like beautiful women respond best to compliments about their brain as they are always told how wonderful they look,  and intelligent women want to be told they’re beautiful…….. we all want want we don’t have naturally. But I think we should give and recieve compliments more than we do. When you think someone’s done a good job, or smells great, or looks good we should tell them, not just keep it ourselves. And in turn we should smile and say thanks rather than try to bat it off or dismiss it and make the person doing the complimenting feel awkward. Was it Bing Crosby who sang Accentuate the positive -eliminate the negative ? I’m with him all the way if it was.

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