Hello. My name is Debby. And I am a praise-aholic. Yes, I’m addicted to praise.
I made this discovery last week while on a walk with my daughter. We got on the subject of addiction and how her father is addicted to golf and all things golf related. When I innocuously asked my daughter, “Am I addicted to anything?” I anticipated her reply might be, “Well, you are awfully fond of chocolate.” Instead, her answers were more revealing.
Apparently, I am addicted to being in control. I can’t disagree. But doesn’t everyone in these crazy times wish for some semblance of control? OK, I’ll admit it. I don’t want some semblance of control. Total control over all events affecting my loved ones sounds pretty darn good to me.
Next up was my so-called predilection to avoiding conflict at all costs. There is much truth to this one, too. I grew up in a household where, although my parents loved each other very much, there was no shortage of arguments. Their shouting matches were epic. So yes, I admit it. I was and am the peacemaker in my family. I don’t like discord. I want everyone to get along so sue me.
But it was my daughter’s mention of my addiction to praise that got to me. Because that one, for whatever reason, is harder to own up to. In my head space, there has never been a lot of room for unsolicited criticism or advice offered by well-meaning people. On the flip side, a well-constructed compliment from just about anyone can initiate a cascade of endorphins and dopamine causing a hit of happiness and contentment.
For years, I’ve managed to avoid joining Facebook. This changed when my art instructor encouraged the class to join her Facebook group so we could post our work and receive critiques. This sounded like a good idea — until it wasn’t. How is it that nine people clicked on my post but only three liked it? What is wrong with the other six people? How can they not recognize my brilliance?
A friend recently sent me a cartoon that reads, “Faint, fake or otherwise. Any praise will do.” Yep, that’s me.
As much as I would appreciate adulation from the general public, I consider praise from one’s loved one as the Holy Grail. And something tells me I’m not alone.
So, dear reader, as we approach this Mother’s Day, it might behoove you to consider if your mother, like me, is a praise-aholic. And if she is, slather it on. Don’t be shy. This is not the time to hold back. Have you heard the expression, “starve a fever and feed a cold?” On this Mother’s Day I propose the following: Starve the criticism. Feed the praise.
Your mom will thank you. And doesn’t she deserve it?
Debby Tepper Glick, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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