In the Name of Praise
Oh that good feeling when we are praised be it a casual compliment; “I like your shoes”, or something more meaningful. Praise is something the ego mind craves. It strokes us and creates momentary pleasure, allows us to feel good about ourselves and build our confidence.
We know the importance of positive feedback, the power of praise. Children thrive and grow stronger and more sure of themselves when praised, we learn more effectively when we are praised rather than criticized or judged. Even plants grow bigger and healthier when fed a diet of loving, praised filled words as opposed to being yelled at or scolded.
I taught young children in a school setting for many years, I did observe the overuse of this tool. Children praised constantly, for everything, whether they had actually achieved anything of value or not. I’m witness to how kids know the difference. Children are more tapped into their natural intuitive capabilities and sniff out disingenuous praise faster than you can say Sponge Bob Squarepants. They don’t like it, they somehow inherently know this feeds into a false sense of a healthy ego.
The ego, a trickster if ever there was one. In our current culture in order to thrive a healthy ego is necessary, but it is the ego mind which creates much of our suffering. The endless harping and categorizing, the plots of complicated twists and turns we create inside our heads.
The ego mind will supply the opposite of praise when feeling underfed. Blame, shame, judgment and criticism plague our thoughts when we are not feeling enough. Why is it the human ego needs so much bolstering? Where did we get this idea that we are not enough? So many places, society and media, families and belief systems, schools, peers the list goes on and on.
Perhaps we could work towards a shift, one where rather than praising for accomplishments, outward appearances and the trappings of the material world we move towards authentic praise of who we really are. At our core. Praise for our vulnerability, our boundaries, our emotions, our beliefs and passions, praise for the work of our souls. The soul works in tandem with a Higher Source of your own understanding. The more we connect and praise this Source, this essence of Divinity which sparks within all of us, the less the ego may need the strokes of empty praise.
So the next time you find yourself on either end of the praise game think about the authenticity of the soul and maybe offer up a little praise for the Divine essence and the gift of this miraculous life.