Praise or Criticism - An Opportunity for Introspection

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It's universal but normal human tendency to blame and criticise other people most of the time. Laurence C. Smith, Jr. says, "The frequency and universality of criticism in our society has a much greater overall effect on humans than the isolated incidents of other types of abuse. It is for this reason that I believe that criticism is the most universal and most negatively destructive force in our society".


Equally true is the fact that we praise someone for true reasons only rarely or maintain a very comfortable(?) position of silence - perhaps, such people know that at that point of time, to practice the old time-tested proverb, 'Silence is Golden', is more beneficial from materialistic point of view.

Yes, we do praise some people even without reason and the praise is so blatantly showered on that undeserved person that the word loses its meaning completely and turns into a brazen flattery. Unfortunately, this has been the way of political life which in its own way polluted other walks of life in our society. Historically, however, flattery has been a standard form of discourse, meaning conversation, when addressing a king or queen or power that be. The journey of world history does testify that it used to be a common practice among writers and poets to flatter the reigning authority. But, surprisingly, this age old culture has come to such a pass that currently the ruling political party has followers who blindly support all moves of the party, both good and bad alike. On the other hand, the opposition party followers criticise and blame the party in position for all things, good as well as bad. Can this culture be termed as healthy for any democratic political system?

Take some other situations. You might have also seen or yourself too have experienced the kind of flattery which may make you feel like a king which you are really not. But the flatterers always follow their own agenda to keep you in a dream world. The pertinent point here is to remain in your senses in those trying moments, not to blame the world afterwards. See my two lines below:

उनके वाह-वाही और चाटुकारिता का कोई दोष नहीं था
मुझे ही उस वक्त खुद को सम्हालनेका होश नहीं था

It is true that when we are praised, we feel happy at that moment. But, as Martin Yan of 'You Can Cook' fame says, "Happiness is within you. It has nothing to do with how much applause you get or how many people praised you. Happiness comes when you believe that you have done something truly meaningful."

Conversely, many a times you are criticised so badly and at times, so convincingly that you feel really dejected and depressed. In such a situation it is advisable to follow what Emile M. Cioran suggests, ‘Criticism is a misconception - we must read not to understand others but to understand ourselves’.

It is quite interesting to learn what the prolific and renowned composer, Mozart has to say on this emotive issue, "I pay no attention whatsoever to anybody's praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings." John Wooden, the American basketball player, coach and writer of well -known book, Pyramid of Success, says it in a different way, "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

Anyway, whether it is fame or blame, praise or criticism - take it easy and thank all concerned for offering you an opportunity to introspect objectively.


 

milan sinhamilan sinhaMilan K. Sinha is a freelance writer. He has worked in Banking and Insurance sector for three decades following three years of active writing in various newspapers and magazines. Presently he is engaged in stress management, wellness and awareness activities besides freelance writing. He is based in Patna and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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