Why An Attachment to Praise Makes You Vulnerable

Loving praise means you are open to suffering

A vulnerable child pleading for praise with her eyes.
Photo by Henrikke Due on Unsplash

Most people love praise. Giving it makes them feel good, and receiving it’s divine. That is until you recognize everything has an opposite side.

Whatever you are attached to, be it wealth, perfection in a relationship, or praise, you are vulnerable to the other end of the spectrum when things go wrong.

For example, when you are chastised rather than admired, you will experience significant distress. But when you drop your attachment to praise, you stop being vulnerable to disparagement.

Your attachment to praise makes you vulnerable

Sometimes, receiving praise, particularly from a person you admire, feels delicious. Their acknowledgment that your skills, appearance, or opinions are top-notch can boost your confidence, show you’re on the right track, and feel like a reward for your efforts or innate qualities.

What’s not to like?

You could think there’s nothing wrong with wanting praise. Yet, once you understand your desire for it means you are attached to whether or not people offer it to you, perhaps you’ll change your belief.

It’s OK to enjoy praise, don’t get me wrong. You can find it pleasant without needing it, though. Doing so will free you from the plummeting feeling in the pit of your stomach when people criticize you or dislike something about you or your work.

The opposite of praise might be disparagement, criticism, or dislike due to personal taste, experience, and perception. Ideally, if somebody offers you feedback, you’ll weigh it and uncover whether it has merit.

Perhaps you’ll learn and grow from it if it’s accurate. Constructive criticism is a valuable gem if you know how to receive it in a balanced way. But you can’t do so when you are attached to praise because it grates.

Criticism will make you defensive and upset you unless you detach from the need to receive praise.

It’s helpful to adopt a relaxed approach to whether people like or dislike you and whatever you do. Then, you can receive constructive criticism, make the most of it, and let nonconstructive criticism go.

Not needing a particular outcome when people make personal comments or give you feedback is invaluable. It strengthens you and liberates you at the same time.

How can you detach from the need for praise?

First, note the need for praise is different from the desire for it when you aim to retrieve help from someone more knowledgeable than you.

For example, if you are a student, you want feedback from your tutor to help you improve.

When the need for praise overwhelms you or means a great deal, you are vulnerable to suffering when it’s not forthcoming. Or worse still, when you receive the opposite.

You can detach from needing praise by recognizing people’s opinions about you stem from their perceptions. Their praise may indicate your growth and accuracy if they know more than you. If not, it reveals their opinion and isn’t about you.

Also, you are not your body, appearance, skills, or other tangible qualities. The real you is less palpable and describable. You are the essence of being or awareness, perhaps.

You are not your exam results, grade, or body weight. You cannot be measured, and praise is a measurement. It indicates an opinion or your accuracy, depending on the circumstances involved. You can calculate your performance. But remember, it’s not you people assess. Instead, it’s an action or something else.

View praise as a helpful indicator of your performance when it stems from a qualified opinion. But don’t get hung up on receiving it and get attached. As a result, your confidence and self-image will expand rather than wilt under the weight of others’ opinions.

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Bridget Webber is a writer and nature lover, often found in the woodland, meadow, and other wild places. She writes poetry and stories and pens psychology articles; her love of discovering what rests inside the thicket and the brain compels her to delve deep. She’s appeared in many leading publications and ghostwrites for professionals who can’t spare the time to pen compositions.

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✨ Bridget Webber

✨ Bridget Webber

5.4K Followers

Writer, former counselor, author, and avid tea drinker learning how to live well.