By Harry Petsanis and Donna McCance
Praise is something that our society has become dependent on. It’s encouraged by parents, educators, authority figures, and society as a means to define external expectations and conformity. While the debate continues about whether praise should be given for efforts and/or intelligence, it’s time to realize that praise for both is damaging.
In reality, praise is one of the most dangerous things to the self esteem, self confidence, and self worth of people. It has become like an addictive drug. The more you get, the more you become dependent on it, requiring the need for even more to get the feeling that you’re trying to get out of it. When people don’t get the praise they have been conditioned to rely on, they break down. Anything that is initiated and created externally is often unhealthy and damaging to our level of faith and belief in ourselves.
Words associated with praise are admiration, approval, and favorable judgement. This is directed by people toward another individual’s achievement and are all subjective words. Subjective is a viewpoint or opinion of an individual formed in their own mind, based on their own feelings and beliefs.
As you can see, this lays out the groundwork for people to develop expectations to be used toward judging the achievement of others, controlling their self esteem, self confidence, and self worth.
Self esteem, self confidence, and self worth are part of self-satisfaction. Praise is contradictory to self-satisfaction. “Self” is who you truly are as an individual. It’s your sense of worth, personality, and character. You will never have a sense of who you truly are as an individual when you have been conditioned to rely on the praise of others.
Self-satisfaction is internal. It means that you are satisfied with your own achievements. It doesn’t mean satisfaction with another person’s satisfaction with you. Praise should be replaced with a sense of self-satisfaction that we get from the work and deeds that we do, not the acknowledgement and reciprocation of others. A job well done, is a job well done. It’s not someone telling us that we did or did not do our job well based on their expectations and self serving agendas.
If we expect to see a change in behaviors for better work ethics and learning habits, stop praising and stop relying on it. Start with a new mindset toward the true meaning of self-satisfaction. Learn to allow others to define their own expectations, feelings of accomplishments, and need for improvements. Learn to develop your own self-satisfaction.
At some point, the people you have allowed to control your life through praise will be gone and you will be left with the ramifications of the decisions you made to earn their praise. When you live your life based on the pursuit of your own goals, you won’t need to rely on praise from others because you will have defined your own success. Breaking away from dependence on praise means learning new ways of thinking by transforming your mindset.
About the Authors
Harry Petsanis is a mindset and accountability coach, philosopher of human nature, consultant, and lifelong fitness and nutrition expert. He is a writer and author, with two published books: “The Truth is A Lie” and “The Logical Path To Life.” His book “The Truth is A Lie” was nominated by the 2019 Author Academy Awards in the "best self help" book category. Harry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, with an
intense passion for psychology and the human condition. Click here to order Harry Petsanis’s books.
Donna McCance, M.Ed. is a business administrator, licensed teacher and principal/vice principal with over 20 years experience teaching in elementary education and educational leadership. She has a Masters in Education, Masters in Human Services Management, Bachelors in Business Administration and Associates in Business Administration.