Praise Raises & Criticism Tears Down
The benefits of self praise are that praise raises. All too often you might wait for praise to be given by another and if praise is not given you may feel unappreciated and unloved. While being appreciated by others is a welcome acknowledgment, you need to turn your attention inward and affirm the quality of your abilities to yourself.
Have you ever noticed the common human trait of self-criticism? If you are like the majority of others you will be a fantastic self-critic. And like most of us you probably hold back from self-praise. Oh, OK, I know that when you complete a monumental task you may give yourself praise but on a daily basis how many things do you do that you praise yourself for?
Take a look at your life and check out those things you are good at. Your list could include, driving, knitting, typing, gardening or skiing among many other things. Have you ever wondered why you are good at those things and not others? The simple answer is that those things you are good at are those you praised yourself for or things you can do because you were praised by others.
What you focus on grows:
It is a well known psychological fact that whatever we focus on grows and gets bigger. That’s why criticism never works, unless of course if the aim of the criticism was to make the situation worse, in which case it works perfectly. Self criticism can only make whatever it is you are critiquing get worse. If instead, you look for the things you can appreciate yourself for they will grow too.
Larry was suffering from memory loss. At age 77 his thinking was that the condition was inevitable. After some coaching he agreed that he was always focussing on the things he forgot and completely ignored the many things he remembered. He was reminded that he remembered many more thing than he forgot and yet he omitted to focus on them at all.
As children we are often left to our own devices when we are being good and chastised when we misbehave. This sets up a pattern or habit for life and we carry on doing exactly the same to ourselves when we are grown and have fled the nest. He was told that to improve his memory he must start to focus on the things he remembered and celebrate them. In this way his mind would hear his new focus of attention and his memory would improve.
Gill was dieting and she was hard on herself for every digression but she gave no thought to her improvements. All she was doing was instructing her mind to make more mistakes and to eat more unhelpful food. When she started a journal to record the improvements she’d made and wrote in it every night she found it easier to stick to her eating plan.
If you’d like to start an appreciation journal you could head the page:
“Well done you remembered these things today.”
• “How to surf the internet.”
• “How to make a meal.”
• “To pay the car insurance.”
• “To phone my daughter.”
• “To take my suit to the cleaners.”
Or try……”I very much appreciate you today Gill because you:
• “Walked past the biscuits and left them alone.”
• “Left two peas on the plate at dinner.”
• “Scraped the leftovers in the bin.”
• “Took the time to make a healthy packed lunch to take to work.”
This new focus will send your subconscious mind in a new direction, one that benefits you instead of hindering you.
Life is a mirror
When you appreciate yourself you will be appreciated by others too. Others are reflecting back to you what you believe about yourself. So praise has to start at home with you. You may not have noticed but the majority of things others praised you for were things you had already decided you were finding easy and feeling good at already.
When you begin to praise yourself others will pick up on that subliminally through your body language and your energy patterns and praise will be more forthcoming from outside influences. Also, self-praise builds your self-confidence and ability to manage any task. Praising yourself for a job well done and focussing on the slightest improvements can take you from where you are now to where you want to go.
Giving yourself positive feedback about your accomplishments will help you feel more confident and empowered and instructs the subconscious to give you more things to praise. You might turn to others to validate your achievements and seldom recognize your abilities for yourself. Lack of self praise is a loud and clear message to oneself that other’s opinions are more important than your own.
Notice every tiny improvement
Once you have changed your focus from criticism to praise, notice every tiny improvement. Don’t wait for the big bang to happen. Instead notice the small things. When you have a cold or the flu you aren’t terribly ill one day and then completely healthy the next. The recovery happens in increments. One day you start to feel a little relief and you comment on it by saying, “I feel a bit better today.” The following day brings further improvements, also commented on and each day your health improves.
Think of this process in the same way. As you comment on your improvements, no matter how small, and carry on commenting daily you recover from whatever it is that has been bugging you.
Jane’s house was a mess with boxes piled up everywhere from her previous move. Although she’d lived in her new house for over two years nothing had changed. She told me, “Nothing I do makes any difference, as fast as I empty a couple of the boxes more stuff just appears.” This was because when she sorted out a box or two she still focussed on what she hadn’t done.
Instead of congratulating herself on the improvements she looked at the rest and said things like, “I’ll never finish,” or, “There’s still a mountain to tackle.” When she began to praise herself for her achievements the boxes started to get less and the last time I saw her, although progress was still slow, she had at least cleared her hall and stairs.
Celebrate your successes and forget your failures. Focus on failure creates more failure. Nothing you are critiquing yourself for will improve so what’s the point of it? Ask yourself next time you criticise yourself, “Do I really want to make this worse?” If the answer is NO then find something you can appreciate about yourself and make that grow instead.
To Your Success
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