Accepting Praise

“Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit: we cannot flower and grow without it.” ~Jess Lair

As a person who battles low self-esteem, it seems like praise would be a wonderful thing.  Praise should make me feel better about myself.  It may help me to convince myself that I am competent.  It may give me the confidence to try new things and to set new goals.  But it doesn’t work that way in my case.  The other day,  I wrote about how I don’t believe my positive self-talk or affirmations.  I think this is true about praise too.  I don’t always believe it.

When I was in the 8th grade, my English teacher gave us a blank crossword puzzle template and gave us an assignment to fill it in and write clues.  I remember how easy this was for me.  I made 6 different puzzles while some kids had trouble making one.  Kids and teachers were telling me how amazing I was.  To me, I just thought that it was no big deal, nothing special.  In that same year, we had a tryout in band and we had to play over 50 short pieces with different rhythms and key signatures.  We had to play as many as we could until we made a mistake.  I was sitting first chair clarinet so I had to play it first.  I played the whole thing and the kids applauded.  I didn’t think it was such a big deal.  I assumed that a lot of kids would play through the whole thing but nobody did except the snare drummer, and he didn’t have to worry about the notes.

When I receive praise, I wonder if people are just being nice to me.  I don’t give myself credit for doing something well.  I usually think that I could have done better or that other people could have done it just as well.  Like it was nothing special.

I started a new job 49 weekdays ago.  It is the kind of job where not only is my plate full, it is also a very large plate.  There are times when I feel like I get it and times when I don’t get it at all.  I feel like I am trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together but I have no idea what the completed puzzle is supposed to look like.  I have received a good deal of praise from my boss, my coworkers, and from the people I serve.  One person even said I am the perfect person for the job.  But I feel like I am not doing enough, I’m not learning fast enough, I should get it by now.  It’s been 7 whole weeks already.  The words of praise are nice but they don’t sink in.

Rather than question praise, deny it, negate it, I am going to work hard on accepting it as a gift.  After all, it is meant to be a gift to me from someone who appreciates me.  People who praise me see my value.  So why can’t I?



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