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