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Why is it that praise is so much harder to assimilate sometimes than criticism? This week I got some high praise form someone I greatly respect, it made me feel amazing but I couldn’t quite take it in. Couldn’t quite believe that what was said could apply to me.
Around the same time there was a bit of a spat on twitter where an author was upset by someone’s negative review of one of their books. Both of these events made me think, as usual.
We are all a product of both nature and nurture, our genetics and our socialisation. Of course deciding which bits of us is which has puzzled thinkers and scientists for decades, if not longer. But often I think our ‘self’ (whatever that means) is a product that is guided by what others think of us. Without realising it we see ourselves through the opinions of others. The problem with this seems to be our perception of how others see us. And that perception is so often defined by the negative.
I think this is because the negative sticks, it is much more powerful than the positive. I have no idea why this is, maybe as some kind of innate defence mechanism perhaps. But it is certainly true that we remember those stinging criticisms and barbed comments. Can you remember that bully from school? We remember such things above the kindnesses and compliments.
Is it just me who finds it more difficult to be positive about myself than negative? I feel naturally modest so compliments don’t always come easy.
But it is true that negativity is best ignored. Any author or creative person will get bad reviews. These are ALWAYS best ignored. They will also have some who love what they do. Seek them out…
So my feeling is that I must begin to try and assimilate the positive more often…the thought makes me smile. And give more compliments to others…
How do you feel?
© 2011 Simon Poore
Samoa lost a day the other day. A whole flipping day! They decided to cross the international dateline for economic reasons, so that their businesses can be ‘closer’ to Australia and New Zealand. This, along with the ever decreasing return that is the celebration of new years, got me thinking.
I seem to lose days sometimes. I am not sure what happens but then it is suddenly evening and almost over. It’s not like I even do anything that productive during those days. They slip by in a haze, maybe because of inertia or maybe because of a hangover or whatever. This can be so disappointing, especially for one who professes to believe that we only have one life, ‘Carpe Diem’ and all that!
This year I celebrated my fiftieth new year on this planet. Fifty years of existence and of course I wonder about my achievements. But there is a problem with measuring achievement. Many choose to measure their lives in terms of ‘things’; material things, money or how far they have gone in their careers. These are tangible and easy to measure, and this is why people choose to measure them perhaps. But of course these things don’t last and are ultimately meaningless. I feel that when we measure ourselves with such things we forget the impermanence of our existence.
Others may choose to measure things in terms of happiness, surely a more difficult thing to measure. How happy are we? How happy are our friends and families? How can we tell?
And yet people insist on periodically attempting to measure such things and the new year is one of those times.
I have always felt the new year rituals to be disappointing. It is simply another day passing and yet some people almost feel desperate to enjoy themselves. Or at least show others they are enjoying themselves. Have you ever been that single person longing for a kiss as the chimes strike midnight? Only to find you are the over-looked wallflower?
The other new year ritual that leads to disappointment is the idea of ‘resolutions’. To me it seems that often planning things or setting goals are inevitably going to lead to a sense of failure. Too many times have I made to do lists or promised myself some great achievement over the last fifty years, only to feel like a failure when I didn’t achieve it all.
So this year, no more resolutions or promises. I choose to replace them with dreams. I know this year that some of my dreams may come true but some may not, and this is ok, because they are but merely dreams after all. Big ones and small ones.
I also know that there are times when I am so busy, and perhaps tired, that I dream of losing a day, a day doing nothing. So, for me, maybe I should relish the lazy day with nothing accomplished. It wasn’t wasted, it was a dream come true…
I hope some of your dreams come true this year…
© 2011 Simon Poore