This morning I had started off writing a bit about how accepting help from others is a way of valuing what they can contribute to our lives. Then, I popped into Twitter to spin off the #OtherEsteem Wednesday tweets and asked my friends there:
I don’t think I can say it any better than the great Mary Jo Asmus and Becky Robinson did. Both are women I have come to appreciate over the past months as the bright, warm and smart leadership experts they are. Their help in thinking things out for me has been invaluable. So here are their tweets as food for thought:
I know for me it has been a challenge to do what Mary Jo said here. I still have to remind myself and bite my tongue before saying “It’s nothing.” or “It’s not really like that…” It helps me to remember that when I downplay praise, I am not valuing the other person’s perception and willingness to share the positive with me. As for help, I often found myself being too self reliant and wearing myself thin. Yet, when someone offered to help, I said no. Even to things I would gladly do for them. So now, I simply say thank you and “I accept”. Great advice, Mary Jo and Becky!
Anything else you readers might want to help me with in expressing this idea?
Last night I had the wonderful opportunity of talking to Susan Mazza and Lolly Daskal on their radio show, “You Matter”. (You can listen to the recording of it here.) As always when I speak to each of these women, I am left with much reflection and new insights. During the conversation, Lolly brought up the point that it is difficult for many people to receive praise. This definitely affects the way we practice appreciation, one of the four central aspects of otheresteem. In the book, I recall an excerpt from “Something So Right”, a song originally with lyrics and Music by Paul Simon that was adapted for Barbra Streisand’s 1974 album THE WAY WE WERE.
“When something goes right,
well it’s likely to lose me
it’s apt to confuse me.
It’s such an unusual sight!
(Oh, I swear, I swear)
I can’t get used to something so right.”
Giving and receiving praise is an important part of building relationships and, though it may feel unnatural at first, it is an easy thing to warm up to if you get it right. When praise is sincere and from the heart, said with the only intention of sharing what we find to be true, it is a powerful way of building a connection between people. In our conflict dissolution sessions, my colleagues and I frequently ask people at odds with eachother to express what they appreciate in the other person and what they would like to thank them for. After disbelieving looks and some awkward shifting around in their chairs, they humor us with their first shot at it. The effect is usually nothing short of magic. They are frequently impressed to learn that there is more to their view of eachother than they knew. We can get back to the difficulties now, armed with the knowledge that not all is awful. It takes the edge off, and helps to create the beginning of a conversation for improvement in their relationship.
So, as any practice, it takes some perfecting. Though you might be met with suspicion in your first attempts at appreciating others, as you get better and better at it, you will understand yourself more and have a powerful way of communicating the positive.
How good are you at receiving praise? How might you make yourself more comfortable with it?