Sunday, November 13, 2011

Activity 2 - 30 days of thanks, praise and mindfulness

When I heard Laura Trice explain how she was really bad at giving praise, that she really wanted to do it but found it hard, I knew that this was a talk I really had to listen to. I am really bad at praising and thanking people. I feel very uncomfortable and self-conscious doing it, and I always feel that it sounds stilted and forced. But rest assured any of you that I have ever actually thanked, it is always genuine – it is so uncomfortable for me that I wouldn't even attempt to fake it!

This is one thing about myself I've never really understood because I am a people pleaser and it’s not like thanking or praising someone makes me vulnerable – but I'm still really bad at it.

So maybe it isn't strange that I am also really bad at receiving thanks and praise. I just never know quite how to respond to it – the standard response for something I've done is to just dismiss it as nothing much, even if I've worked my fingers to the bone for it. If it is a compliment of some sort, well I think I've been pretty clear how I feel about that.

The talks
Activity 2 addresses some of these issues as it is 30 days of thanks, praise and mindfulness. What that means is the application of three talks into my day to day life.
  • Mark Bezos: a life lesson from a volunteer firefighter – from which I am taking the lesson that every day offers us the opportunity to affect someone’s life. So this will be a mindfulness thing where each day I have to think about something simple that might positively affect someone around me.
  • Karen Armstrong: Let’s revive the Golden Rule – ignoring some of the more in depth “compassion” elements of the talk for the moment, and totally ignoring the religious aspect of it (I’ll talk about that later) I will try to apply the “do unto others…” rule into my everyday life. Again this is a mindfulness thing, but as Karen explains the other way of expressing the Golden Rule is in the positive “Always treat all others as you’d like to be treated yourself”, which I am taking to be more proactive - involving praise, thanks and possibly doing positive things for people.
  • Laura Trice suggests we all say thank you – this is about asking for the praise that you want to receive as well as praising others. As I've already mentioned this will involve breaking two things that I am really bad at, giving praise and thanks to others and asking people to praise me.
The challenge – learning to be comfortable giving, receiving and asking for praise
As I've mentioned this is not something that I can really do all that well, which was why I realised at Day 2 of Activity 1 that I probably should have done this activity first. I have received quite a few compliments in the last week and, whilst I'm getting better at acknowledging them, my usual internal response is “aarrrggghhhh!”, and these are just compliments not real praise!

More importantly, I had a minor (yes Derek it was minor!) meltdown last week about the blog and my writing with Derek. It was at that point that I sort of realised that I had never really given Derek any idea on the praise that I might or might not require. I had mentioned to him that I needed him to comment on the clothes I was wearing a little more than he usually does. What I had failed to mention was anything about the blog and my writing, which is considerably more important to me and my feeling of self-worth than my physical appearance (I know that must shock you all!).

What I want out of this challenge is to be one of those people who can spontaneously and comfortably thank and praise others, without feeling self-conscious. More importantly, without thinking about myself at all in that process, just focusing on them and having a positive impact on their day.

The activity
For the next 30 days I will focus on praising and thanking others, and other ways I might be able to positively affect them. I will also try, notice the use of the word try, to open up with people and let them know how and when I need to be praised. Importantly, because I really don’t receive it all that well I don’t require a lot of praise in my life. I think what I need to work out is how I want to be praised/thanked, how am I comfortable receiving that?

This will require a great deal of mindfulness about the other people around me generally, but that will be good because over the last two weeks I have felt that I am focusing way too much on me and this gives me an external focus again.

I also want to really try to apply the Golden Rule for the 30 days, to see if I can keep that in mind, particularly around some of the people in my workplace.


The Sister said...

Ok.. I finally got the chance to sit down and read them all.. I planned on doing a few days at a time.. But once I started, I couldn't stop :) I love it.. Way too late for any sort of proper comment atm.. But I loved the outfits.. And I'm looking forward to seeing how this all goes.. Doing good so far :) xxx Love you..

kee said...

Hi! I was just reading your blog from day one, to see if this would be something i would like to try myself.

When I read the above, it was like reading my own thoughts!

Did you find any answers from your mindfullness sessions? Did you learn how to apreciate praise?

Kylie Dunn said...

Hi Kee
Hopefully when you read through the posts for this one and the reflection it will answer your questions, but briefly... Yes I have learned how to appreciate praise a little better, I still feel a little awkward around it but it's a lot easier to give and receive it now. The mindfulness component was interesting, and it was the start of my realisation that all of this stuff is a little easier when it is your singular focus for 30 day, keeping the lessons with you from then on becomes the challenge.
I learned that I am not as compassionate as I hope to be, but I have been working on the since this activity.
Hope you continue to enjoy the blog, if this one resonated with you I'm sure there are other activities that will as well.
Thanks, Kylie

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