The Seduction Of Praise

If you wish to be at peace, never look to attain praise. Often we can look to get praise from others, because the personal entity inside feels it is inadequate, that it lacks something. Praise can temporarily remove this feeling of lack from your awareness, and happiness can shine to the surface. The moment you receive praise, your ego is no longer searching for it, it is no longer in a state of desire. With no desire, your natural state remains – which feels whole, complete and satisifed. Then the mind ties this satisified internal feeling – to receiving external praise. This can cause trouble.

If you did not desire any praise or approval in the first place, you would naturally have a feeing of contentment, similar to the feeling of receiving praise, except it would be more stable and less overwhelming, and you would be less attached to the feeling.

If you value the praise of others in a personal way – if praise makes you feel good, then you become dependent on it. Then, like a drug, you may behave unnaturally in order to get it. This is then a kind of misery. You are no longer free, you are looking to someone else to make you feel good.

This addiction to praise is nurtured from a young age, even as children we love the praise and hate the blame, and we are conditioned to value this more and more. Our whole school system runs on it. 

Praise in itself is not a problem, and can be an indication of how your actions are affecting others. But to take it personally can form a prison for you. If you seek praise, you will avoid disapproval. This is a human weakness, and means you can’t be natural or true to yourself.

How To Resolve?

Don’t blame yourself for seeking praise. It is part of the human condition. The inference of most of our conditioned lives is that praise and acceptance from other people and from society is to be sought after, and rejection from others is to be avoided. This is not true, but is how we are programmed. 

Don’t take it to be a behaviour that you can modify, or that you are responsible for. Don’t be responsible for it. Don’t identify with it. Let it arise, don’t fight it, but only be the awareness of it. Then it will resolve itself. Or, if possible, you can completely drop it once and for all, when you see it no longer serves any use other than to keep you enslaved to someone else’s ideal model.

We must also become aware of the natural contentment that is the nature of our own being. To feel this, we simply give up our search for satisfaction, and relinquish the seeking-mentality. How does it feel, even for a moment, to relinquish desire? To no longer believe you need something else, to not believe in the idea of "next" or "future" or "me", and to simply be aware of yourself, here, to feel your own presence? Be aware of the natural silence that is always here, which is merely masked by the imagination of being a person.

From here we see that even the idea of "other people" really is only an idea. There are other bodies around, other energy fields, but when we are not taken in by our own personal minds, the personal interpretation of everyone else diminishes in the same way.

The personal self, the thought of "I", will always be unstable, it will always be affected by opinions, whether they are from itself or other people, and so it will always seek to be associated with "positive" judgements rather than "negative" ones. The real Self, the emptiness from which the "I-thought" arises, is beyond opinions, it is not interested in trivialities, and is naturally at peace.

Your Role Is Not To Impress

So to sum up, see how it feels to realise that you are not here to impress anyone. You are taught that your role is to gain praise, to be seen as successful or good or of value, when really this is a lie. The source of true success, goodness and value, is always with you, beneath the ideas of "me and my Life", and only requires you to relinquish your expectations, ideas and opinions about yourself, even if for a moment. Simply be.