Editor's Comment:  A person who waits for, hopes for, and convolutes oneself for fulfillment by receiving praise and approval is a person who chooses to be in a situation like the donkey with the carrot dangling from the stick that is attached to the donkey head and neck.  Occasionally, there may be an accidental swining of the carrot within reach of the donkey's mouth, but the donkey will never experience nourishment and fulfillment from it.  Being dependent on and looking for approval and praise from others is the same as going down a tunnel over and over but having cheese there very infrequently - when one could just choose something that is more reliable and more nurturing.  Read The Child Persona, and the piece on the racket and its costs.

From L. S. Barksdale, "Essays On Self-Esteem":


Praise implies and reinforces the concept that if you are not a "winner" you are a "loser" - a reject on the scrap heap of  broken hopes and aspirations.  The purpose of this article is to point out the destructiveness of praise and to suggest a valid alternative that is not destructive to your Self-Esteem.

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Now, before we can make an intelligent presentation, there must be agreement, at least temporarily, on the meaning of some other relevant terms....

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Value Judgments:  Value judging is the assignment of praise or, more commonly, condemnation to a person for his conduct, erorrs, personal characteristics, life style etc. It is essentally based on the assumption that the other individual has the same Awareness, and therefore the same concepts, ideals, needs and values as you.  In other words, value judging is a criticism of yourself or others for doing or not doing something that violates your own particular set of values.  It manifests in unfounded "oughts", "musts", "shoulds" and "should nots". 

Now, we perceive praise to be an invalid and destructive value judgment.  [It is the flip side of the same coin, that of judgment and criticism.]  since your prevaling Awarenes determines what you have to do at any given instant, there is no rational justification for either praise or credit.  No matter how examplary or "praiseworthy" your act, you could not, with your prevailing Awareness, have acted otherwise. 

Thus the fundamental reason parise is destructive is that it is out of alignment with reality.  And you cn be harmonious, happy and at peace with orelf only to the degree that you function in alignment with reality, with what actually IS!

Probably the most destructive characteristic of praise is that it identifies or locks you in with your actions.  For, since praise says you are good because of your "good" acts, conversely it says you are bad anytime you make a mistake or act "bad"(!).  Thus you are conditioned to self-accusation, shame, guilt and remorse every time you act or behave less than "perfect."  But, thoughtful consideration of how anyone actually functions as an individual discloses that there are no faulty or "bad" people, that there are only people with faulty Awareness.  


Another destructive consequence of identifying with your actions is that you must prove or validate your worth by your conduct and achievements. 

This concept ignores the reality that your very existence proves your innate worth and importance in the scheme of things - that you are inherently a unique and precious being, ever doing the best your current Awareness permits and ever growing in Awareness, and in wisdom and love.

Furthermore, when you feel you have to validate yourself by your performance you raise a very disturbing question:  "When have I done well enough?" 

This question has no satisfying answer to one who is hooked up with his actions and dependent on praise for a sense of personal worth. [It doesn't work!] 

In fact, it is the trying to do "well enough" that is at the root of the need to do or be "better than," which, in turn, is the cause of greed, envy, jealousy, aggressions and gross selfishness.

The fact that praise is normally based on comparison with the actions, personal characteristics, possessions or prestige of others makes it even more destructive. 

For no matter how hard you try to excel, to be the "best" or "better than" in any given area, you can always find others who have done "better", have made more money, have a finer home, more prestige, or what have you. 

Thus, it is always a "no win' game which generates guilt and a sense of inadequacy.  You can never do "well enough" while equating personal worth with your acts or accomplishments because there is never a cut-off point - never  anything to tell you when you have done "well enough."

Also, you realize at some level that comparisons do not count becasue they are invalid.  For you know that no one else has the same Awarenss, the same heredity and total conditining, the beliefs, values and capabilities, different understanding, needs and pressure inhibiting or motivating them.  Thus, what another does or does not do has no rational bearing onwhat you do or do not do. 

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Praise also generates a sense of dependency.  If you are so conditioned that you must receive praise in order to "feel good," how are you going to feel when you are not receiving praise? 

[This is the hopeless predicament of one who chooses to be in the being of a Child, as part of the set of ways of being of a child is the belief that one is powerless and dependent - which is, of course, an untruth, not in accord with reality.]

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Moreover, praise and its ugly twin, blame, like reward and punishment (which are equally unfounded), are very manipulative and coercive in personal rlationships, especially with low Self-Esteem individuals.  [Praise is the other side of blame and criticism.  Learning that the whole domain is invalid and unworkable is an important step in dropping these old childhood beliefs and becoming a healthily functioning adult.]