Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Open to criticism but closed to praise.

My cousin is proud of me, I was confused, I'm not the person I used to be, I don't 'do' anything much anymore because I can't so what on earth had I done to make her proud of me? I asked her? I won't go too much into her reply as obviously it is personal to both her and me but it got me thinking, why is it that we don't see in ourselves what others see in us? It took me a while to accept that what she was saying was right and she was actually talking about me, yes me.
Last year I wrote a 'daily thought' for Twitter, some liked it and I daresay it annoyed others but I said I would do it for a year and I did, this reminded me of the very first one i wrote on January 1st 2010
Why are we so open to critisism and so closed to praise?
If my cousin had said something really negative to me I am sure I would have accepted it without question, but Because it was a positive statement I had to check it out. Why? And what was my thinking behind the thought of the day on that day?
There are really two points here, one is the fact that we never see ourselves as others see us and the other is our inability to just accept praise with a thank you but to grasp eagerly with both hands any criticism levelled at us.
I was surprised how many of my clients came to me with a view of themselves so far removed from what I saw that I started to use an exercise that proved highly successful in getting them to question their distorted view. I asked them to ask friends,family,colleagues to write a statement of who they knew my client to be, they were to be brutally honest and could write them anonymously if they wanted.
When we read these statements together in a session they were astonished with how they were being described, yes there were often negatives in there but never said in a way to hurt,more to empower and mostly these people would describe the very positive attributes of the person. It's what I used to call evidencing, if you believe yourself to be good or bad in a certain way where is your evidence?
I could carry on with this but had no intention of writing a counselling book when I started this blog so back to the point of this blog.
There are obviously different degrees of low self esteem and therefore some people are more negative about themselves than others but with very few exceptions we are all more inclined to see the negatives first where as others will look at your positives first, isn't it true that we all want to see and look for the good in people? Where do you come on that scale? Try listing as many positive attributes about yourself as you can and then list the negatives you believe you have, which side wins?
As to the issue of accepting praise, I believe the reasons are the same plus added in there the belief that it's somehow 'not nice' to appear smug or big headed so we play down the good stuff when it gets pointed out instead of just accepting the praise that we are due. So next time someone pays you a compliment or praises you for whatever reason don't be embarrassed, dont play it down and thereby diminish it, say thank you kindly and preen for a bit, you deserve it.
Yes Cuz you should be proud of me as I am proud of you for who you are.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


JustASpur said...

Again a very well thought out and presented piece Pen. For my 50p's worth I think the reticence to fully embrace big compliments stems from modesty as much as anything else. I like who I am and know that I have both pluses and minuses to my character yet I still find it a bit difficult to fully accept compliments (and let's face it, I get plenty from you!) for fear of appearing somewhat arrogant. However, having read your enlightening piece I will attempt to be more gracious should such an occurrence happen again! ;o)

tinysuz said...

Yes very well written as usual Penny. I also think it is an 'English' thing. We are brought up to think that blowing your own tempt is wrong, you should never own up to being good at anything. Modesty about your own successes is considered to be everything and as you say we all to readily accept criticism.

Brookmans Bakery said...

Hello Mate, a wonderful paper and completely on the mark. I hope people who read it take what you say on board. We tend to beat ourselves up over - what mostly turns out to be - minor issues. When we resolve them we think 'good, that was ok' instead of 'I made it ok so well done me. It's an alien concept to most of us. You are spot on, we ought to say 'well done me' much more than we do. You write with great passion and I admire you for, well for everything really. xxx

sally in norfolk said...

this is something i still struggle with :-( But I am getting better :-)

John said...

"O would some power the giftie gie us / to see oursel's as others see us." (Robert Burns).
As for me Penny, I've received so many compliments lately, chiefly about my poetry, that I've started to believe I might actually be quite a good poet! The other compliments are to do with my good looks, which no amoubnt of modesty will make untrue, so I may as well concede there's nothing I can do about that :0).
You are wonderful Penny, and if ever you should think that not to be so, then I'm afraid you're outnumbered by all the people who have known you for longer than 5 minutes. :) xx

Anonymous said...

Hee hee cuz-you said I was right!! Well written and lovely to read you accepting praise. Well, telling others to accept it is a start huh. Catch ya later Doc. Xxx

~~Sammi~~ said...

The art of denying ourselves positive praise can be ingrained from childhood in most cases. I know this to be true of myself and
I struggle daily with any compliments.
A lovely 'aware' piece.
Today I will try and take any positive and smile graciously :)