Flattery — Criticism — It’s All the Same.

I am a sucker for flattery. It gets right into my ego and I tell myself I really am all that. Ego mirrorThen comes the zinger. Someone hits me with a critical remark, a judgment, a little pin stuck in my ego. I deflate.

I know I am supposed to ignore criticism but there is a catch. IF I DESERVE THE FLATTERY, THEN DON’T I DESERVE THE CRITICISM TOO?


There ain’t no free lunch. You gotta take the bad with the good. Capisce?  Of course, I remind myself. I don’t have to accept either one.


You mean, turn down those bits of ego boost that people throw my way?  When someone tells me I …

  • “did a great job.”
  • “am such a good listener.”
  • “look like Paul Newman (before he died)”

I’m supposed to not listen? What’s my ego going to do?

You gotta take the bad with the good. If I deserve the flattery, then I deserve the judgments and criticism too.

What a dilemma.

Less Then Helpful Advice

Next time someone throws you a compliment, ask yourself, why are they complimenting me? Do they think I am so needy? Then modify the compliment to fit reality.

“Oh, Charles, you’re such a good listener.”                                                                                       “Yes, I am capable of listening well at times.”

People might say, “Can’t you take a compliment?”

Tell them, “I can. I am just not sure it’s good for me.”

Do the same thing the next time someone criticizes or judges you. Capisce? 

About almondhead

I am a mental health counselor in private practice. One of the focuses of my practice is helping people with fear, anxiety and their ugly stepsister, depression. I became a counselor after a long career in the technology world, so naturally, I think of the brain as an engineering problem. It can help to understand something about how the brain works. I decided to start this blog as a way to help other people learn about fear, anxiety and relationship. (All our problems are really about relationships.) You can also find me at: www.virtuallyfearless.com www.PsychologyToday.com www.theravive.com http://www.marriagefriendlytherapists.com/
This entry was posted in Less Than Helpful Advice and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.