I am going to discuss how to deal with praise, but first, let me talk about blog post length.
First Mini-Post In A While
When I started this blog, I used to write only short posts of 300 words or so. That was not enough, so I switched to longer ones, about 2,000 words. Now, I decided that not all posts must be long to be worthy; variety could be fun. I often have ideas for shorter off-schedule issues on rather specific topics, and I will not shy away from publishing them. This is the first one (in a while).
A Thick Skin
I have a pretty thick skin. I am not a particularly emotional person, and I do not get hurt easily. I take very few things personally, and I tend to assume the best intentions whenever there is no apparent ill-disposed purpose. When someone criticizes me, my blood pressure goes up a couple of millibars, then it stops and waits. The discomfort I feel in the process is proportional to how much I believe in the criticism, multiplied by my perception of any malicious intent.
Still, taking criticism is not my favorite sport. I play it freely because it is good for my health and makes me stronger and better. I listen to it, and I work feverishly and unapologetically on fixing the many faults I realize I have; too many to count.
Criticism is one thing, but taking kudos is very different and, in many ways, more uncomfortable. Receiving praise always made me feel good, but it took me a long time to determine the best way to react to it. My natural temptation was to dismiss it or minimize its significance.
However, at some point, I realized that it is not the right thing to do.
If someone takes the initiative to recognize you for something you did, why ruin it by acting like it is not a big deal? Why arguing with a kind gesture by dismissing or minimizing it? Why refusing a gift?
Eventually, I decided that there is only one way to deal with praise.
The One Way
The only way to react to praise is to say, “Thank you.”