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The Magic Power of Praise

There is magic in the power of praise. But, what is praise, anyway? We speak of "praise" and "flattery" as if the terms were synonymous, which they certainly are not. On the contrary, they are complete opposites. Praise is certainly not a matter of throwing bouquets, indiscriminately, to people, here and there. This kind of flattery is harmful to give and detrimental to receive.

To "praise" means to "celebrate," to "applaud," to "bless." It has been described, sort of humorously, as "rubbing people the right way." Praise, you see, is both a technique and a process. It works magic on people. It works wonders on children and adults and so forth. It actually works beautifully upon inanimate things, if you want to think about it. But, it’s a process by which something very transcendent happens within the person who is expressing the praise.

It is both interesting and important for us to know that praise is one of the most significant experiences or expressions in all life. Sometimes, we are too involved in our need for praise—to be appreciated, to receive attention—that we fail to give praise, to celebrate the good in others and other experiences. So, we don’t feel the warming flame within us, because we have lit no fires.

First of all, let’s consider the need for praise and appreciation. We are, by nature, so hungry for acceptance and adulation that we become vulnerable to mere flattery. But praise, you see, works wonders in the lives of all of us. Sometimes, a word of praise to a little child makes his muscles fairly bulge with energy and motivates him to actually do something. Dr. Henry Goddard, when he was teaching at the Vineland Training School in New Jersey, used an ergograph, an instrument that measures fatigue. He discovered that when a child displayed extreme fatigue while working with the machine, he would say to the tired child, "You’re doing fine, John! You’re doing fine," and the energy curve would immediately soar upward, proving that praise, actually, released hidden energy within, and it releases this as we give it and as we receive it. It’s an amazing thing to realize.

Sometimes, we get all hung-up as to the worthiness of ourselves and of others. We may feel so very unworthy, and we may not praise another, because we don’t feel that he is worthy. But you see, we want to see that praise is a technique. Praise the child for something, and he will double his efforts to achieve the goal. So it is, likewise, with adults. In Truth, we are dealing with the Divinity within the person. We know that no matter how the person feels, how he may be frustrating his Divinity, it remains as the potential of his life to be released, to be called forth, to be awakened. So, praise of the floundering person, in the right consciousness, is not insincere flattery. It is, rather, another way of "saluting the Divinity within him" and, thus, helping him to light the fire by which he himself will begin to bring it forth anew.

Praise, of course, is like a two-way street. It is like Shakespeare’s "quality of mercy," in that it blesses him that gives and him that receives. Many find it difficult to accept praise, but there is not a person around who cannot give praise. In the giving, we are actually praising ourselves, and, thus, we experience the Power which transforms us. Praise raises the consciousness of the one who praises and of the one who is praised. Get that into your thought: Praise raises your consciousness when you praise, and it raises the consciousness of the one that you praise. It’s a tremendous thing!

There is a slogan that I use often, "Let Something Good Be Said!" I like to put it in the terms of, "L.S.G.B.S.!" Let Something Good Be Said! This will sustain a positive consciousness within you. It will keep that inner support and acceptance. It will make you an influence for happiness, leaving "a mile of smiles" in your wake, wherever you go. Let Something Good Be Said, not because of your obligation to find the good in people—that’s good, too—but because of your need to think on the level of good within yourself. If you’re not thinking good about people, you are probably thinking negatively, and that negative thinking is doing a harmful work in you—and the same is true of situations. You simply cannot afford negative thought, no matter what the provocation, no matter how limited the situation, no matter how unloving or unattractive the person, L.S.G.B.S. Let Something Good Be Said! Let Something Good Be Said!

Years ago, some psychologists were attempting to form one simple rule that would enable people to lead happier lives. To achieve this goal of universal peace of mind, they came up with a formula, which was: "S.F.F." "Stop Finding Fault!" "Stop Finding Fault!" "S.F.F.!" One of the dependable earmarks of neurotic, unhappy people is that they are overly critical—hypercritical, we sometimes say. They deliberately look for things to find fault with, and yet, when they can be persuaded to alter their attitudes and perceive good things in people and good things in their circumstances, and in themselves, their whole state of mind changes.

So, try an experiment for yourself: If there is a person who irritates you, someone who keeps you upset, then begin looking for something on which you can compliment him, even if he, figuratively, "bites your head off." He may have nice teeth, so praise him for his teeth. Look for things that you can praise him for, and not only will he seem to change, but more importantly, you will find that your opinion of him will change, which is the important thing. Forming a perpetual attitude of praise, of looking for the good and acknowledging, will make an amazingly happy experience. Of course, one way to make the other person feel important is for you to think that he is important.

Every person is a unique individualization of the Infinite—you are, your friends are, your family, your workers, your employers, and the very people whom you find that you distrust or are bitter against. Everyone is a unique individualization of the Infinite. Believe it, and decide that you’re going to deal with people in this consciousness! Know that there are no unimportant people. Everyone is important…in his or her way. Believe it! And act as if you believe it!

One man has an amazing way of praising people. When he meets someone for the first time, he will often send the person a birthday card, and write on it: "This may not be your birthday, but it’s your birthday to me, because I just met you today." Isn’t that exciting? It’s a charming word of praise. A little praise goes a long way. And again, L.S.G.B.S. Let Something Good Be Said!…Always! Let Something Good Be Said!

We are so prone to complain about things that are wrong, and yet, we forget to be grateful for things that are right. If the food we’re served in a restaurant is poor, quite often, we say so. But what if the food is good? Do we send a word of praise to the cook? Do we praise the waiter for his special service? It is so important, when we feel something good about a person, to say it—Let Something Good Be Said! L.S.G B.S.!

A church organist became so fed up with constant criticism that he resigned. And then, the congregation voted ninety-eight percent to refuse his resignation, praising his work lavishly. The two percent had been vocal. The others had rarely, or never, thought of giving a word of praise and encouragement, even though they appreciated what he did—L.S.G.B.S.! It means so much. Let Something Good Be Said!

Most of us labor under feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, yearning for some indication that we’re doing a good job, that we’re wanted. But, there’s something else I should touch upon here. As much as we need praise, many of us have a hard time accepting it. Many even reject it, out of a sense of unworthiness. A person needs praise, but even more, he needs self-understanding, which leads to self-praise. Watch yourself in this. Be sure that you are willing to accept the praise that comes your way. When you are praised, do you say things like, "Oh, anyone could have done it," or "This old thing, it’s ten years old," or "Really, it wasn’t anything." This is not humility. It is self-depreciation. It is rejection of the very praise that you so deeply need and hunger for. One way to overcome this is to get into the habit of praising other people. You will profit from this attitude of praise. It will raise your consciousness, and you will find that you’ll begin to feel more worthy yourself, and you will praise yourself.

There is something very important about being able to appreciate. It’s a creative art in itself. This kind of celebration lifts your consciousness and spirit to a new level of self-appreciation. It’s like the story of the rooster who found that he did not actually cause the sun to rise by his crowing, and so he was very disturbed. Then one day, came the realization that, "Perhaps it is that I do not cause the sun to shine, but I can awake to celebrate its rising." I can wake to celebrate its rising! Maybe you cannot do great things in your life, but you can celebrate them, you can rejoice in them. You can praise other people for the good they do. You can get a sense of praise, wherever you are, about all things.

Take this little slogan, Let Something Good Be Said! L.S.G.B.S.! Let Something Good Be Said, about yourself, about the situations around you, about your loved ones, about those whom you may resist. You will find that by this change of consciousness, important things will begin to happen in you and around you and to you.

© Eric Butterworth