Sunday, September 21, 2008

Praise or Criticism?


The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise then saved by criticism.

  • Norman Vincent Peale
Another great quote right?

I have been working out (exercising) Monday through Friday for the last two weeks and everyday I walk past this quote that is strategically placed in the hallway on your way to and from the gym.

I was thinking just a few days ago, as I was slowly making my way out of the Recreation Center to my car, if that is more true in my life up to date then I really know.

I guess it probably is a weakness in all of us. Isn't it nice to hear praise for something you have done? Like when I clean the bathroom or dust and vacuum the family room...I'll admit, I want to hear my husband tell me how nice it looks when he comes home...to show me he noticed my manual-labor efforts! :) When I was first married, I remember, I use to get bugged if he didn't notice...like it was my RIGHT to hear from his deep sexy voice, "Shelle...WOW...the house looks incredible, thank you so much!" in which he would be hugging and kissing me to show me his gratitude of my wifely efforts! A little romanticized? Yes...but I wanted it nonetheless!

If you know my husband at all...you know he never did this, in fact, he most likely never noticed and was SURPRISED when I would be bugged with him...not understanding why I was bugged. Then when he finally squirmed the answer at of me, by using unfair tactics, such as, distracting me with OTHER things...he would then tell me I was dumb...that I should be happy and content just because I was doing something nice for both of us...not to get praise for it! The only excuse I can give you for that is I was...ummm...young when I was married?

I could give you other examples of how I love praise...and sometimes, looking back, I can see how that praise or thought about praise has ruined me and/or kept me from being a better person.

Sometimes we praise people but are really lying through our teeth. We tell them what a good job they did, when really, in our minds, we are saying just the opposite! I think this is what the heart of the quote above is meaning. Instead of telling people, in a nice way of course, that they shouldn't quit their day jobs...we praise them and give them false hope.

Constructive Critiscsm:

criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions.

I think that is the best way to voice ones opinion, instead of giving false hope to something. I remember that even though I was good at gymnastics for my age...my Mom told me that I would never be 'the best'...because I was destined to be too tall for the sport, and with a smile added, "And we could never afford the lessons it would take to go anywhere with it". At the time I didn't understand, I was heart broken, but looking back I see that by doing that, by directing my efforts elsewhere, such as dance, I was allowed to focus more on something that I could find some self-respect in. I can tell you that in my life, dance has been a great anchor and something I feel continually blessed to have in my life!

So I would add to that great quote: "The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise then saved by CONSTRUCTIVE criticism."--revised by Shelle Blok.

So my question to you is this...when is it okay to praise and when is it okay to be critical, constructively of course?

I also guess what I am asking you is, if you don't like something I have done (photography) or written (stories) will you tell me how I could do better or what I could do better? Especially when it comes to this blog...what am I missing to make it worth coming back to?

Love you guys,

Shelle

10 comments:

CJ, the Purple Diva said...

Shelle-
This post was so on the point.
I never thought of looking at life like that before, even though it's so true.
I love the way you blog and I am not seeing anything that needs to be changed.
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

American in Norway said...

I for one think your photos are AMAZING! That is the main reason I kept coming back.... that was od course before i got to "know"| you....

Lisa (Funny Farmer) said...

"So my question to you is this...when is it okay to praise and when is it okay to be critical, constructively of course?"

I think you've answered your own question: when someone asks for constructive criticism, they're looking for help and are in a place where they can benefit from the criticism.

I tend to just blurt out praise in the moment it occurs to me. With criticism, I have learned to be more reserved, because very few people really want to know the truth. That combined with the fact that I am too honest and don't possess the little social convention called "tact" in abundance, has taught me that it's just better to keep my opinions to myself most of the time. Unless the audience is my children -- hoo boy do I let them have it!

Ahem.

As for your blog - I come for the content and humor of your posts. You are honest and outrageous and I think that's refreshing. So, I'd vote for more reality blogging - this funny conversation or that embarrassing moment or this is how I feel even though it's not Christlike but how do I change it?

Hmmm. Maybe I should take my own advice. :P

:waves madly:

Marie said...

Hey Shelle. Good post. Good points. Good questions. I too have found that I rely too much on praise in my life. Specifically my earlier years. As I read through old journals, it occurs again and again where I feel bad about myself or something until someone gives me praise for what I did. I still feel that way sometimes, but not as much.

I like to refer to it as positive reinforcement now (versus praise). I like to receive positive reinforcement when I cut my hair or lose weight, because then I know that others can notice and then reinforce my desire to keep at it. I like to receive positive reinforcement when I accomplish things at work because then I know that I am making a difference.

I think that positive reinforcement is necessary in all facets of life, but especially in childhood. But I also think that constructive correction is also necessary. Not criticism...because I think that constructive criticism is a oxymoron. We all need correction in our lives, not criticism. Criticism has a very negative connotation and is never looked at as being positive. But we all make mistakes and we can all admit it, so when someone wants to help us overcome making more mistakes, they can give us construction correction.

How about that?

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Serioulsy thank you all of you! I love when I get input back that is meaningful and helps me!

all of you have good points in your comments and I look to being better by following what you guys have said! Thanks, thanks, thanks!

Kritta22 said...

I missed that party!
I think you are great and I love checking your site for new posts! Maybe you could adversitize your other site more cuz it took awhile to know that you had a photography blog.
That would be my only suggestion.
I heart you!!

Giggle! said...

Hmmm thats a toughy!! And something I often wonder to myself.

I reckon if someone doesn't like our blogs, they can just bugger off!

YOu write from the heart, and you're very honest and entertaining! What's to criticise about being yaself?!


By the way I have an award for you... my post before last xx

The Bayou Belles and Their Beau said...

I'm definitely not one to ask about this. I struggle with what to say and when to say it. I can be critical at times. Hey, but the first step is recognizing you have a problem and then just keeping your mouth shut.

But, yes, there is a time to give constructive criticism. I think it's just how and when you do it. I always pray for the right opportunity, if it's a serious issue. If not, I feel most people are accepting of what I say. Or maybe, they secretly hate me and wish I'd shut up and keep my thoughts to myself.

Natalie Sue said...

Oh my heck! I finally realized where Blok came from. I am SO slow!

Anyway, I love your blog and check it everyday.. just some days I am not able to comment cause I'm usually holding one or two babies on my lap...

Shannon said...

I LOVE your blog... I don't think you should change a thing. I think you have a great mix of entertaining posts as well as though-provoking ones. And I love reading both kinds!


I have to agree that there is a time to give constructive criticism, but you have to know how and when to give it. Which I don't always know!

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