This probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone from what I’ve posted already, but I’m not good at receiving praise. At all.
I’ve seen quite a lot recently about people with mental illness (very often depression and anxiety like me) who feel unworthy of praise and this is what I have felt like for as long as I can remember.
At school, I never felt comfortable being praised, possibly due to my mental illnesses but also because of moments I can remember when teachers had criticised me which really hurt me. Because they’d criticised me, I then felt unworthy of praise for doing better. This of course is silly when you think about it, but that’s how mental illness and anxiety in particular seems to work a lot of the time.
Having so little self-esteem and self-worth, I’ve always been someone who hates recieving praise and doesn’t feel worthy of it but perversely I kind of feel like I really want praise.
I want people to recognise me for my achievements and praise me for what I’ve done but simultaneously that low self-esteem and anxiety means I still feel uncomfortable around getting praise. Often my thoughts will be:
- I don’t deserve this praise.
- I haven’t done anything to be proud of.
- This person is only praising me out of sympathy.
- I’m not doing as much I should be (although what this is I’m not sure).
None of these thoughts really make sense and they certainly don’t help at all. I’m trying to challenge them through CBT by thinking of better thoughts and going with the praise.
- I DO deserve this praise.
- I have done LOADS to be proud of.
- This person is praising me because they’re proud of me and it shows how much I have to be proud of.
- There’s no such thing as doing enough, anything you’re doing is enough, whether you’re working, not working, volunteering or sat at home relaxing in front of the TV.
Reminding me of these better thoughts really helps and it feels like retraining my brain. Which is probably why it takes so much work and effort, as I’m overriding a lifetime of thoughts!
But I’m getting better and slowly starting to feel worthy of praise when it comes. Here’s to continuing to pat ourselves on the back and love the praise we receive.
Tips to being better at taking praise:
- Tell yourself you are worthy.
- Think of all you’ve done, no matter how big or small, and write down what you’re proud of yourself for.
- Give praise to others who you appreciate and love (whether it’s a family member, a friend or someone whose blog you love). If you give praise to others, you’ll feel better when you receive it, at least that’s my experience anyway.
I hope this helps others struggling with self-worth and feeling worthy of praise. I’d love to hear your tips you have of you have experienced similar issues with praise as well.