The Dangers of Too Much Praise And How to Give Healthy Criticism

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” – Norman Vincent Peale


The Cons of Compliments

Some of you may be thinking, “Cons of compliments? There are cons to compliments?”. Well, yeah, there can be actually and if you’re not aware of what those cons may be then you are leaving yourself vulnerable to the possibility of a whole world of trouble.

Let me explain, when we are criticized, we know that hurts. When it’s constructive well-worded feedback then it hurts much less, and that can be used positively to enhance ourselves or our work. Praise might seem like it should almost always be a good thing, but if you’re not careful enough to keep your humility in check you might be walking blindfolded down a dirt path path towards a looming cliff-side.

Cliff
Just another Monday blindfolded nature walk…

What the heck are you talking about, Wolf Boy?

Listen! Alright, so maybe you’re not bombarded every day of the week with praise, but if you are… Bravo!

Now, I’m sure you have an amazing blog and can write the shit out of that short story or novel that you’ve been working on, and that’s awesome. You deserve praise and you deserve to feel good about that. Being confident is a good thing, and perhaps just a smidgen of arrogance can help you. That’s going to help you keep pushing forward. 😉

It’s just important to remember that no matter how awesome you become (or think you become) at at a hobby, your career etc. The moment that you start letting it get to your head is when you actually start to slide backwards, and you might not even notice it.

We need to strike a fine balance between praise and constructive criticism. We should not be afraid to look at the product of our own creation in a critical way. There needs to be a balance between being confident and sure of ourselves, and knowing that there is always room for improvement!

Sometimes, the worst thing that could happen to a person, is to surround themselves with a bunch of insincere “yes men”. Those who compliment everything just for sake of kissing some…

Ass

Not everyone who enjoys dishing out compliments is straight up kissing butt though, and sometimes we just need to do our best to remain humble in our accomplishments. I’m actually the type of guy who loves to be supportive and to compliment others on what they do right. However, if I’m ever asked my honest opinion on anything, it’s going to be an honest mix of both praise and constructive feedback.

…And on another note, if you are asking someone else for their feedback on something but even their slightest criticism offends you, then you likely have some ego issues to sort out. You may have surrounded yourself with only the kinds of people who tell you just what you want to hear, and this is never a good thing!!! This is exactly what this post is all about actually.Flashy

Why, you ask?

Because you’ve just eliminated your ability to grow, learn and evolve.

Now if there are any of you out there thinking, “Yeah this guy is right, I’m going to go out and tell everyone what I really think about their blogs and posts, because it’s being helpful. People should be able to take criticism, it’s healthy.”

No, this is also wrong. Unsolicited criticism is not usually welcomed. We should still focus on building each other up as a priority. There have been a few times where I’ve received unsolicited negative feedback from a blogger who I have no rapport with, and it’s really bugged the hell out of me. Especially if they have no discernible accolades behind them, or work which impresses me on their blogs. Typically, this is not constructive feedback but the signs of an over-inflated ego.

No one cares about your negative opinion on their blog if you haven’t already earned their friendship or respect first. Giving unsolicited criticism is often just social suicide with whomever you’re critiquing, if you don’t already have their trust. It’s important to keep all things as balanced as possible. This doesn’t just apply to the blogging world, but to the real world as well. The criticism that is best able to sneak past another’s guard is the criticism that is diplomatic, timely and sensitively produced.

If you want to give constructive feedback, it’s important to talk about what you believe the other person got right as well as what they could have improved upon. Wording is everything, and so is a proper balance. A compliment, no matter how small, often takes the sting out of a criticism. Most of the time this formula works, unless someone has really fallen of the deep end in some way. Everything needs to be sincere, honest and careful.

Balance
Good criticism can be like crossing a tightrope

Let’s just all remember that as dangerous as criticism can be at times (particularly the hurtful and insensitive type), too much praise can also be dangerous too. A healthy ego is a balanced ego. Stay humble. It’s the number one way to avoid being humiliated.

We are all imperfect creatures. We all make mistakes, and as long as we believe that there is always room to improve, then we are going to keep growing and keep evolving for the better! Believing that we’ve already mastered something is only going to cause us to stagnate and regress. It’s all about balance, humility and quiet confidence, with perhaps just that smidgen of over-confident self-belief. Just enough to keep you going when the world feels like it’s overwhelmingly against you.

What do you think? Thoughts? Opinions?

Leave them in the comments down below.

47 thoughts on “The Dangers of Too Much Praise And How to Give Healthy Criticism

  1. I thrive on criticism of my work, so long as it’s fair and constructive. The first negative review I received on my book I displayed for all to see on my blog and social media. Now as I write the sequel I’m taking some of the negative things people have said to improve my writing!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha I don’t think he minded! It was very constructive feedback, and admittedly a lot of it was just a case of personal preferences. I actually catalogue all reviews of my book on my blog so that people can see for themselves what others are saying.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Meh. It’s all useless to me, not that I mind the compliments because people are being kind, and I appreciate that. Plus, I know sometimes I’m funny, so when people “lol,” that’s probably real.

    But I get that my poetry isn’t great. It doesn’t have that extra layering the great poets have. Some of it is good, and occasionally I do some clever wordplay, but it’s never up there. I know this. So, that is that.

    Where I thought I had some skill and could make some money (because I know and enjoy the genre) is in romance. But it’s so much harder than it appears. So many people think they can write a romance novel, and the indie market is flooded with crap. Unless you’re backed by a house, readers are not going to pay for your unknown stuff, except a few friends. So, I tried to get reviews like you’re supposed to, but no one I know reads romance. Everyone is a critic though! Jesus Christ. It’d be like me plunging into some genre I have no idea about and spouting off. Why would I do that?

    Ughhh. Anyway. I’m taking a break…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Getting your novel recognized seems to be a struggle for most new authors that I’ve spoken with. I’ve been working on one myself for a while now, I’m only 26 pages in or something but I feel like trashing it and starting all over again.

      It’s TRUE that books need to be on another level of super quality plus clever marketing just to get recognized, but atleast you’ve published a book and that’s really cool!

      Maybe you’ve learned a few things for your next book.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Mathew. Interesting post. I am a person who loves to comment and to reply to comments, and I have to be careful to evaluate a person’s argument / proposal based on itself rather than how I may feel about the person who created it. Sometimes it has been a trial for me not assume the other person has nefarious motives based on prior encounters or a badly written comment. Be well. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Part of your appeal to me is your authenticity, I appreciate it.

    The creativity is in the writing, the value is in the honest responses, you just have to determine if you want to grow through critique or surrender to your bruised ego.

    xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is what kind of worried me, since I started blogging I’ve only received praise for my writing although I did receive one hate comment which was directly aimed at me, not my writing. I’m always open to feedback, I may not be able to write stories but I can write from the heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The type of feedback you need all depends on your goals really. If someone wants to be a superstar they’re going to need more feedback than others.

      I tend to be my own worst critic, and sometimes rely on others to tell me my stuff ain’t that bad. 😂 Thanks for your feedback 🙏🏻

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This definitely helped me improve the quality of my writing, by having beta readers who could notice the small flaws and confusing plot threads in my stories that needed correcting. Writing’s always going to be subjective and your preferred genre isn’t going to please everyone, but having that constructive feedback really let me have a fresh look at my stories & figure out what was confusing or jarring for the reader.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! That’s partly why I’ve carried on doing short stories & my debut novel on here – if I can polish them up with helpful feedback from other bloggers, they’ll be much better when it comes to actually publishing them.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Agree with you Wolf boy! Reminds me of quote – ” Never take praise to your head and criticism to you heart”. Both of these are needed, as long as they are honest opinions. Well written post and loved the quote in the beginning as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well written and well said. I have often complained that I do not get enough criticism on my posts. In fact, I can’t remember if I ever have. I even wrote a post about the lack of balance apparent in my comments. Part of sharing my works is to have others, like yourself, whom I respect, to give healthy criticism. I rely on the eyes and experiences of others to help me see where I can improve as a writer. Please consider this an open invitation for your criticism and know that it will be received with gratitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post! I love every word but I want to grab a quote from here. My favorite.
    “A compliment, no matter how small, often takes the sting out of a criticism.” Very true. That’s why when I decide to review a book which isn’t a favorite I always say the pros and cons. If I totally hate it. I shut up and say nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

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