- Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Why Are We Stingy With Our Compliments?

I'll tell you why.

We've been growing in a culture that believes that praise is detrimental to a person. It robs a person of dignity by smothering pride, a by-product of praise. And because of this belief, we have learned how to condemn and be shrewd so well that it seems like our second nature.

Why are we so stingy with our compliments?

We analyze praise that we receive as whether it was genuine or not. We dismiss the praise we get from others and are quick to condemn ourselves. Perhaps, at the core, we don't want to believe we are good. Laura Trice who spoke at Ted.com believes that all of us want to be praised in a certain way but are afraid to communicate how we want to be praised, all because that information describes the very core of us and our insecurities, which would most possible lead to these responses:
  • Neglection
  • Abuse
  • Receiving Praise
Over the years and quite very recently, just as the Western beliefs slowly penetrate our closed-up Asian belief, we start to praise people bit by bit. Yet, much we still hold back. Why? Shouldn't we be taking chances about receiving praise, because that is what we need? But we wouldn't want to tell everybody about how we want to be praise, lest we come across as being desperate, don't we?

So here's what I suggest: As much as life is about taking risk, we ought to take risk. Let's start by telling those closest to us how we want to be praised. I'm sure these people will not be out to hurt us, but should they do so, know for sure that most probably, these people don't matter.

Are we capable of giving praise? Yes. And a hell lot of praise. But we're just stingy. We just enjoy being plainly direct, shrewd, sarcastic and the list goes on. When will we be different for a change, at least to those we care?

Something worth thinking about.


Crystal said...

So how DO you want to be praised??? =)

I'm a goal-oriented person... I like knowing that what I DO makes a difference or is noticed (yes yes, I can be one of those 'martha-types' sometimes :P

I like being praised for what I do. =)

That's work-wise.

On a personal level, I'm the total opposite. Like very emotion-driven. I like to know that I make a difference in other people lives by making them FEEL. Or have some sort of change of heart/perspective. I'm not quite so practical on a personal level. Haha...

ah^kam_koko' said...

I've seen a lot of things in life & I have also seen cheap insincere praise.
It's worse than no praise.
It leaves you with an icky feeling that 10 showers cannot remove.

I have a leadership role in my school & I do my best to praise extra effort & quality work.
I do the same at home with my siblings.
Subordinates are easier to praise.

With superiors I do not want to sound like a brown-noser.
I will be specific & I will be objective.
They need to know that they're doing a good job too!

Well, Jon.
Thanks for being honest with your posts & for sharing many great ideas with the world!

Someone's Secret Lover said...

those people who would be stingy to compliments, in my opinion, are the people who can't take criticisms in a constructive way, and they are the same people who would read in between the lines excessively.

it's ok to be analytical over some things. just don't overdo it :)

interesting post you got here.

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