Let Them Shine

>> Monday, May 02, 2011

Have you had someone give you a compliment about your spouse or your children and you agree yet find a "true but" to add to the conversation. I have been guilty I must say. I have heard spouses and parents hear positive feedback then agree or say thanks, followed by "but you should see them at home, true but have you spoken to their younger sibling, their alright, now if I could just get them to..., yeah, but you don't live with them, are you talking about my child, she/he can when they want to be, after I had to reinforce it a hundred times"...etc.

Why can't most of us just say thank you and accept the compliment. What is with the assumed unconscious need to make the other person look bad. How was this habit developed? In some cases it makes one look good or getting credit at the expense of the person being praised. What is this all about? Let the person have their day in the sun. It is healthy for us to be praised and for our loved ones to support us by allowing the praise to positively motivate them to continue on the path of "betterment".

It's almost like when you get an "A" or "B" on your exam and your parents say why didn't you get... (a higher grade). Where is your "good job" for all the work you did? Why be told, "but next time....", when right now you did great. This is much more motivational for taking the initiate to have self improvement if those you love are proud of your efforts. So the next time family members do well, speak well of them to others about what they did without including what they could work on, especially if someone else tells you they have done well. Take pride in it. Take yourself out the equation. Reflex to say they are good at what you are saying and they are also good at.....There will be appropriate times to discuss what they can work on but during the time of complements, let them shine.


Mitchell Allen May 5, 2011 at 9:12 PM  

I wonder how much of that is latent jealousy. We hear praise for which we had little or no hand in and feel the need to assert ourselves.

Something else in your post is tugging at a memory: why indeed, do we feel the need to rain on someone's parade? What if, in some instances, it's NOT jealousy but genuine incredulity? If a parent is unaware of a child's talent, that parent will be dumb-struck when the teachers give praising remarks about the child.

Seems like I was often that child...

At the end, though, your suggestion is still the best advice. Just be gracious.



mpmi May 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM  

Mitchell, I love your comment. It's so in tuned with my post. Sorry about not getting the verbal positive reinforcement you deserved when growing up. Know that from your words I sense, you are warm, sincere, wise, thoughtful, gracious, and cheerful. Great qualities in a man. Thanks for visiting.

Unknown May 9, 2011 at 4:24 PM  

What a great point. I think people are just afraid of bragging or being too proud, and that's why they turn the compliment around.