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Praising criticism and criticising praise

  • Published at 06:23 pm March 23rd, 2015

It feels good when someone praises you for something. Period. It all adds up to your self-esteem as a feeling of success that in turn makes you act more independently, in a more responsible manner and encourage you to take up new challenges. But criticism is a tricky concept. Too much of negative criticism can also take a toll on someone’s self-esteem.

Implications of both

@childhood Beginning with the benefits of praise, know that young children thrive on it. In their early stages, they require support and positive feedback to allow them to open up to opportunities and explore on their own. It is a point where a simple smile and “well done!” can go miles and effectively cut off all internal barriers to express themselves for the future. If done right and in the proper dose, this serves as a fuel for these little toddlers to open up their mind and take initiative without the fear of failure or consequences.

That’s where criticism comes in. At this stage, it is usually minimal, mostly exerted through body language and verbal communication (unless dad goes Bruce Lee on you). Punishment and limitations only make things worse at this stage, simply because it’s at this point where consistent comments can change their whole perception due to their fragile and fresh minds. Kids just don’t listen, true. They make mistakes and learn the consequences for them. Thing is, it’s all about how that ramification reveals itself that makes all the difference. A common tool used by parents is fear, and it is effective, mind you! However, it destroys a child’s sense of self-importance and hinders their personal willingness to follow their interests; cause you know, you’re six years old and mom doesn’t like you following Kylie Jenner on Instagram.

@teenage years At this stage, praise is inhumanely addictive, depending on its source. It serves as a major motivation in everything you try, even if it’s not something you should be doing. The pretty girl in class said she finds your pen-ink tattoos cute. “Oh yeah, I’ve gotta get a real one!” You can relate. Another aspect of this comes in the manner of how you may receive that praise, interpreting it to be sarcasm and shooting your morale down by yourself. This occurs commonly after a prolonged period of childhood criticisms, for which a nice compliment either gives you wings or makes you suspicious of ulterior motives. By the way, nice hairstyle you got there.

Criticism at this stage is a no no. Pride is on the line here, and a single bullet of reproach can shatter it. Hence comes the term constructive criticism, which points out the scenario according to what matters to you and lets you figure out the problems. Brilliant, but difficult to pull off, for which some teenagers shy back in fear while others shamelessly proceed forward as a result. It matters here massively, for the numerous developing traits of socialism, discipline, behaviour, attitude, perspective, etc. depend on it as you grow and start to leave fairyland for the real world. Maybe getting magnet ear studs is a good idea, dad said it’ll hurt and look like fungus; but I’m glad he didn’t say no. He did.

@young adulthood You’re all grown up here, but you still shed a river when someone makes fun of your favourite shirt. You have trouble getting over rejections and your nose bleeds when your crush says hi, or you storm into crowds confident and carefree. Tasks can be motivated through the anguishing thought of failure or by the expectation of recognition. Take your pick. This becomes the part where you can choose how you take a compliment or a scold, as you’re big enough. But this era right here was carried forward by the previous two, shaping your personality, behaviour and attitude into their full forms. It becomes tough to change yourself here, and that’s why it’s very important on how you manage your younger years.

As a culture, we tend to focus on the negatives and look over the positives. To prove it, go to a random Facebook account and judge that person. It takes mere seconds to find out what’s wrong with that person than finding something worth praising, as it’s easier and more fun. We see ourselves as perfect and our opinions to be correct, but have a hard time accepting anything that goes against us.

We should really start seeing the good in people, and develop the simple habit of an innocent praise. It helps one to start to see the world positively and identify, much more accurately, the good things from the bad. When’s the last time you let out that wonderful smile of yours to a random passer-by? But yet, it is never healthy to scratch off the criticisms when they’re due.

There’s no point in being nice all the time and thanking your sister for gluing your FIFA’15 disk on her science project. Praise and criticism must be balanced, but with a little trick in hiding the criticism inside a praise. A compliment distracts attention away from flaws, at which time that flaw stated out would balance out one another, paying heed to both. An outright phrase on how your playlist is so 70s may hurt you, and create a veil on your complimentary features. The informal ratio is one criticism to five praises, but that too varies from person to person. But remember that these remarks are to be all genuine, and not meant to deceive. But seriously, the 70s were awesome! Try out the new remixes, you might love them.


Just how much

Too much of anything is a bad thing, agreed? Well, so is too less for the topic at hand. Here’s what happens when either of these two sides slides off the bar at both ends. Try to relate them to your own experiences and preferences. Why? You can find out what drives you, a pat on the back or a sneer off a hater.

Too much praise to usual criticism Common symptoms include over-confidence, immunity to positive feedback and an internal desire to be taken seriously.

Too little praise to usual criticism Many interpret this for ignorance and misunderstanding. This creates two forms of attitudes; either cumulating a vicious desire for recognition or self-acceptance of defeat.

Too much criticism to usual praise When tied to a train line of consistent insults, the depressive route is famous. As always, a few tend to shake it off in the end and create a self-antidote for the poison bites. But this may also lead to ignorance and an unshakable habit of self-righteous thinking, which may transform into something real nasty - arrogance.

Too little criticism to usual praise This combination spawns something very special, the ability to welcome negative feedback. It grabs attention, as it comes in small doses, and may help seek self-development. On the other hand, it may catch one off-guard completely as it is not something he/she is used to, and may hurt.


Attitude towards it

Take it like an ol’ sport There are all kinds of people in your life but your family and close friends are definitely on the lookout for your wellness. Some words may seem hurtful but if you can take criticism (both negative and positive ones), boy, you can go places!

From the good ones When you work hard for something, and you feel content with the results, you’d love it if you are being praised for obvious reasons. It motivates you to try something new, as you now know that you too can be good at something, irrelevant of how small your accomplishment is. But the important thing to remember here is not to let all the praise get to your head. Being humble has it’s perks.

From the not-so-good ones Every good thing comes with its negative counterpart. If one expects praise, they should also expect someone pointing out their shortcomings. The trick here too, is, not to let it get to your head. The more eyes you have on you scrutinising all your moves and actions, the more point of views will be thrown at you that you can learn a lot from.. Keep calm, be open about it and ask for opinions from your critics. If you think it is legit, work on it and you’ll have something better for the world to see.


Live and let live. Enjoy and observe the positive things in life, but keeping the negatives hanging in the background. Praise genuinely, and criticise constructively, and that pimple will no longer be noticeable with that breath-taking smile.