Three Hundred Forty Two: Outside In

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”  – Marcus Aurelius

Tuesday, December 9th

Today I met with the member parents of the environmental club at our children’s school. I lead the group or at the very least set the meetings and coordinate our efforts. Afterwards, someone told me that I was a great silent leader. Then a friend mentioned that I could do a completely different volunteer job that required extreme organization skills. I certainly do not see myself the way other people view me.

I do believe I have become a more committed volunteer over the years, but I have a difficult time taking praise for it. On the flip side, I loathe volunteer jobs where there isn’t a level of appreciation and praise.

I am starting to see that there is a disconnect between what I want and accepting what I get. It’s very interesting because my daughter is the same way. She loves sincere and genuine complements but there’s a certain point where too much attention has been paid and she will clam up. What is this? Is it a learned behavior?

I think underneath it all is wanting someone to notice the time and effort that I put into things, but not gushing. The floods of praise then start to feel forced and contrived and it feels that this person is referring to someone else.

This all reminds me of a workshop that I held with a professional public speaking trainer. She had participants (mainly ESL students) look at their peers; look as in hold the other person’s gaze for a straight minute. It is incredibly difficult – both to see and be seen. Dare I say that we are not used to being seen that completely, and the primal source of our brain recognizes that this is what happens when we are about to be attacked. So we deflect the attention and put it elsewhere.

I see that I need to work on accepting the praise and simply saying thank you, instead of correcting someone or denying their complement. I want my daughter to see that it is entirely okay to receive encouragement and strength from others in a healthy way.

How do you accept praise?


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