Why Compliments Are Hard To Receive

If you’ve ever felt uneasy about a compliment that someone has given you I think it’s because you’re starting to understand that you don’t – and never have required the validation of others to live a good life. The trouble is the way you’ve grown up makes it really hard to shake the feeling that you need to be complimented – otherwise you’re doing badly.

I think we’ve all grown up in a world where we have this messed up social reward/punishment system that’s drilled into us from a very young age. Our personalities are twisted, pulled, shoved and totally manipulated by the people who raise us to the point that most of the time we actually don’t understand how to practice self-belief – unless we’re indulging someone else’s wants and needs rather than our own. We seem to mostly rely on others to validate our actions with praise – or punish our actions with negativity. Have you ever had someone tell you ‘You just gotta have a bit of confidence in yourself’. Damn man, I wasn’t raised to have confidence. External validation was all I knew – my confidence literally was other people cheering for me – none of it came from me. If my teachers said I was wrong or that I wasn’t good enough – I believed them. If my parents said I should to do something, I did it. Personally I rebelled a lot and it messed me up big time because even though I knew I was trying to do the right thing and believe in myself – everything else in the world was telling me NO NO NO.

Good advice is good advice, but I think that we’ve become quite socially backwards. Like we’re totally selfish when it comes to what other people do – we often want to control them with our influence to benefit us rather than them. We’re also totally neglectful of what we really want because we allow everyone else to make our decisions for us. All of this because we were taught that it’s not ok to be ourselves and do what we want to do. We’re also told what the consequences of our actions will be before we take the action – and in an attempt to make us ‘see the light’ our peers and parents manipulate our situation so that we learn a lesson as close to what they said we would as possible – which is a way for them to validate themselves by telling you you’ll screw up and almost ensuring that it happens rather than supporting you. Most advice is selfish – I rarely come across advice that doesn’t have a hidden agenda. Why? Like I said, I think our practices of love and caring for others is just structurally backwards.

With where I’m at in my life now I’ve come to the conclusion that compliments are nice – they do feel good but I do not need them to be happy within myself. I know that I’m good at what I do and I know that I’ll do well in whatever I choose to pursue. My advice is to stop asking people if it’s a good idea to do something. You already know if it’s what you want to do – which makes it a good idea even if it’s a mistake. Stop trying to validate your life – just live it and love how crazy it can be. Also be kind to those who try to fuck you up. I don’t think they truly want to – what they really want is to be able to love themselves – they just don’t know how to live life any other way.

Thanks for reading!

Sean ❤

Let’s Talk About Kindness

To me, kindness is a wonderful thing you can offer to an individual or group, it’s often not free (and I’m not just talking about money) but you can really change someone’s life by being kind to them, even for just a moment. Personally I think the world could do with a lot more of the stuff – the genuine kind anyway. I certainly think there would be a lot less anger and judgement in the world if this was the case.

First of all if you ask anyone if they like to be kind to others, like to do nice things for them – the answer will probably be ‘of course’. I mean who doesn’t like making someone else’s day. It feels good right? It is something I really want to talk about though, because I think that plenty of people consider themselves (or are considered) as kind or giving, but when their kindness is really needed by someone and it isn’t just an added bonus, often these people are nowhere to be seen.

I believe that kindness is subjective and therefore goes hand in hand with understanding. I think it’s very hard to be kind to others if you’re not able to empathise with their situation. Otherwise you’re just behaving in a way that you think would be kind and not in a way that is actually beneficial to the individual. I suppose you might be asking yourself, why does he have a problem with people’s kindness being taken the wrong way – surely it’s not my problem if my being kind results in upset? In most cases I guess you’d be right. If you have good intent in your heart then it would be hard to say that you’re entirely responsible for how your actions are perceived – I believe it’s often ignorance that leads us down that road. However it does beg the question; what’s the motive? Are we being kind because we genuinely want to help, do something nice or make someone else feel good? Or is it about you, and making you feel good? Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware of the fact that doing good for others has a tendency to make you feel good too, and that’s pretty cool because it provides us with an excellent incentive to be do-gooders, so to speak. This being said, if the primary motive of your act of kindness is to make you feel good, (which in theory should only be a bi-product of your action) then the resulting act is actually that of a selfish nature, not a genuine giving one. Before anyone gets the idea that I’m saying that offering out a bag of muffins to your work colleagues and one of them being offended because they’re on a diet is wrong and that you were being selfish or inconsiderate..I’m not. Really what I’m talking about here is intent, and the kind of impact it can have on both yourself and others.

Consider that someone is yelling at you, a close friend, relative – heck, even someone on the street claiming you looked at them funny. In my experience, as human beings we’re prone to naturally defend ourselves from attack, verbal or physical which makes it awful difficult to take a moment to understand the situation and it’s often our ‘animal brains’ that respond, often with more aggression – like a puffer fish blowing up to make itself more intimidating so as to ward off further attack. I imagine this defensive response may well be necessary for the safety of all involved on rare occasions, but most of the time I don’t think it is. In my experience, people are actually pretty nice underneath it all. You’re a nice person right? But I would guess that you also have pretty bad days, probably said and done things that you wouldn’t like to be remembered for, just like the rest of us. Take the person yelling at you, I imagine it’s very easy to yell back, especially if  they’re being wildly accusatory and you believe them to be ‘off their rocker’, but if you’re able to take a moment to come to the conclusion that you’ve done nothing wrong and this person is mad (which we often do pretty quickly even if it turns out we are at fault), then it can’t take much longer to consider that if you’re not the problem then maybe this person has the wrong end of the stick, or perhaps another problem entirely unrelated to the situation at hand. Surely the kind thing to do would be to politely make them aware of your position and perhaps even offer to help, rather than telling them to bugger off. How many of you would do that though? It’s certainly not the easy thing to do, but then if it’s so easy to offer out a bag ‘o muffins, then I ask again, what’s the motive?

Thoughts?