It is nice when others give us praise, acknowledge our efforts and say we are doing a good job. However, it is more important that we believe we are doing the best we can under whatever circumstances we are in.
There are those who believe adults praising children can have negative effects. When adults praise children, which is an accepted practice, the intention is usually to improve self esteem. However, some child experts believe praise can manipulate children to do what adults want. It can decrease internal motivation for a child. It can also lessen their sense of achievement because they are depending on praise from adults. If they do not get that praise they are likely to feel their efforts aren’t good enough.
Children may avoid making their own judgements because they want to please the adults in their life. They may not try something different because they don’t know if it will be approved of. I certainly remember doing things to continue getting praise from my teachers when I was a young child. One day the teacher praised the smiling face I had put on my drawing of the sun. I continued to put a smiley face on the sun, desiring continued praise.
This need for praise from others can continue into adulthood. We may become ‘people pleasers’ or find it difficult to say, ‘No’. We may avoid expressing a different opinion from that expressed by others. We may doubt our capabilities and feel inadequate.
When we do get approval and praise we may crave more, becoming what has been referred to as ‘praise junkies’. If we don’t get praise and awards we feel discouraged. We may feel it isn’t worth bothering or we may doubt ourselves.
There are many things one will do which won’t be acknowledged by anyone and this can make one feel unappreciated. These negative feelings may go back to that need for approval and praise experienced in childhood.
Sometimes others won’t give us the praise we desire. Perhaps they criticise what we have done. It can be hurtful to have one’s cooking, creative endeavours or a project undertaken in the workplace criticised. Even comments made as ‘constructive criticism’ can damage our confidence.
Whatever we do, it won’t be met by approval from everyone. Perhaps we have put lots of time and effort into something. Others may believe it should have been done differently. Some may be jealous or feel insecure because they feel it makes them look inadequate. There may be numerous reasons why we don’t get the praise we feel we have earned. It is important we are happy with what we have done rather than depending on accolades from others.
Sometimes there may be room for improvement. Criticism may make us depressed, embarrassed or defensive. It may be hard to accept suggestions or offers to help one get it right.
At times it really doesn’t matter if something isn’t done as well as some would like. There are plenty of times when, ‘Near enough is good enough’. Perhaps you have too many responsibilities and others need to help out. Perhaps others have unrealistic expectations.
When you have been brought up to value approval and praise from others it is difficult to get past this and believe your own opinion of what you do is what matters. Only you know what you can manage as you attempt to get balance in your life. It is your life. You need to believe in yourself instead of depending on praise from others.