Yesterday I was complimented and I got upset. It’s not that the compliment was false or ill-timed (it wasn’t). But I suspect when you hear positive things praised and they don’t align exactly to your own (often mistaken) inner beliefs about yourself then your internal critic is put offside. Inner critics loathe being wrong. The result is a happy sadness.
This is healthy. My internal critic is extremely harsh and exacting. It consumes self-esteem. Very often it stops me rather than helps me, and sometimes I can’t ignore it. Sometimes, it does take others to soften its edges, hold it down, and make it admit that I am a decent person, with plenty of admirable qualities, and skills.
The upshot is this: since I know I occasionally benefit from positive reinforcement from beyond my own brain, surely others do too? It’s not breaking news to reveal we don’t praise each enough. We don’t thank each other enough, even for the simple, every day things. Perhaps we don’t even talk enough. Or when we do, it’s not helpful, nor friendly. It’s easy, with social media, to present digital facades that are cynical, and critical, and cool. Or to be misunderstood. It is far more difficult to recognise sincerity and embrace it.
We all know the world could benefit from more kindness. But the world is big. What’s easier to manage is to offer kindness to individuals. We can start with small dose thank yous. We can recognise the qualities we admire in others. We can recognise achievements – even if it is just with words. Because words matter. And, because it would be nice to be so comfortable with compliments that they do not make me upset.
You in on this?
Too bad if you’re not because you’re here. I know how few visit my blog and broadly, where they are from. Thus, from me to all of you who read and move on, or stop and comment: thank you. You are appreciated. You keep me going. Every time the numbers click over, it is positive affirmation that my words could be interesting or helpful, or just recognised.
Thus: thank you. Now move on before I cry.