As adults that were raised in dysfunctional families, we rarely, if ever, received praise.
The second Right Of A Human Child states: “You have the special right to grow up and to develop physically and spiritually in a healthy and normal way, free, and with dignity” In order to grow in a healthy and normal way, we need praise and encouragement, especially in the early years.
Most of us, however, didn’t receive praise and as a result, we don’t like ourselves. We believe that everything we are is a mistake; everything that we’ve said is wrong and that we can never expect forgiveness. We often hate ourselves so much that we believe God has abandoned us.
We dislike ourselves so much that we cannot abide in saying anything nice about ourselves, even in private. It’s often the case that we feel we have to earn approval by being extra nice to others or molding ourselves into what we think they want from us. The thought of putting ourselves first is abhorrent and we don’t know how to do it.
We feel so bad that we make it our life’s work to ‘stuff’ our feelings so we don’t have to face the inner critic that burdens us. It then filters into our relationships because we’re so frightened that others will annihilate us because our self worth is so low.
Many of us, as adults, have turned to the outside world to find the praise we yearn for. Whether this was from a sexual relationship, work, status, shopping, gambling, drugs and or alcohol, we searched for something to fill the emptiness inside.
Of course, we have discovered that the black hole inside cannot be filled by an outside source. Even if praise does come our way, we feel uncomfortable as a result of having learned to shut other people out because it was too dangerous to let the praise from our parents in. This has led to further complications in our most intimate relationships with others.
This is where self-praise work stops the rot and begins to turn us around. However, like turning the direction of a cruise liner, this turn takes time and consistent effort.
We begin by looking at our different ages and imagine what praise we would have loved at those ages. We then take one of these examples of praise at a time and concentrate on it for a whole day. We write it out 20 times in the box, say it out loud or record into a phone and listen to it 20 times a day. We take one praise a day for 7 days.