07 May Unhook from Praise
This is counterintuitive, but take a step back and look closely at the words above. Read them with your heart and gut in the mix.
Praise has nothing to do with you. Neither does criticism. Both are simply the subjective opinion or mood of the person bestowing the sentiment in that moment. The next moment, they could think or express something entirely different. Praise and criticism are outside of you…they are not in your control. And yet, we often bask in praise. We seek more. We subject our lives – our worth – to the judgement of others. We are high one minute and low the next. When someone compliments us, we now have something (external) to live up to. We inadvertently become a prisoner to praise and to those who give it to us.
We spend countless hours trying to ensure that we maintain the other person’s high opinion of us. It is exhausting and adds nothing to inner joy, happiness or deep peace. Ironically, our dependence on praise…our craving and the resulting insecurity…keeps us from inner joy, happiness and deep peace.
Those hours (or years or decades) and that energy could instead be spent living, loving, doing our intended work in the world. The kind of work that comes from inside of us and not from simply trying gain and maintain approval.
It’s not that the words themselves are the problem. It is our reaction to the words, conscious and unconscious. We can become more aware of our reactions – the patterns of our mind – through meditation. Awareness changes everything. Awareness is the way to live fearless and free.
Take time to understand this.
And when truth comes wrapped in praise or criticism, can you be sound enough to mine the facts? To separate wheat from chaff with no sense of pride or insecurity?