Is Your Need For Praise Holding You Back?

I don’t plan to see the movie Whiplash. It looks like a very good movie but too intense for me to sit through right now. But there is a line from one of the main characters in the previews that really resonates with me.

“There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘good job.’”


Self-help teachers and gurus know that most people are addicted to praise. You are lured into their message and teachings by being assured that you would receive praise all day long if you follow their recommendations. But they never reveal to you the downfalls of praise and why you should aspire to even greater things.

There is nothing wrong with giving or receiving praise; we all enjoy getting it for our hard work and accomplishments, but it isn’t good when we make getting praise our main objective or reason for doing something.

Many posts on social media are rife with praise-baiting. If you feel the need to report on your achievements to anyone and everyone in order to receive praise to prove your significance to yourself, stop it. If you cannot impress yourself, don’t go looking for outsiders to pick up the slack in validating you.

Do you need constant praise and pats on the back in order to stay on course while chasing a goal? This could be a sign that you lack the required focus and intent to realize your objectives on your own. This is a good time to question if you are doing something because it is something that you believe in or are you doing it solely for the praise, recognition, and attention it might lead to.

Maybe you are one of those people who over-praisees everyone else but it isn’t necessarily sincere. People often praise others simply as another method of attention seeking. After all, when praised, the recipient is now almost obliged to return the favor and acknowledge the source in some manner. It’s like the person who always first says “I love you,” in a relationship, all the time, to their significant other… it isn’t that they don’t feel it, but they do it in order to receive the response and acknowledgment from their partner.

Constant praise can also hamper perseverance, personal growth, and development. If you are constantly praised for what you are naturally good at or have an aptitude for, why should you venture out and take on any thing new? Many people just focus on the things they are good at and are praised for rather than take any risks that come with new challenges.

When it comes to praise, balance is the key. Live your life without seeking praise from others; praise is only temporary anyway, but becoming a great person and realizing your dreams and goals is not. Give genuine praise to others when warranted as nobody feels flattered by empty praise. Be someone who does great things for the sake of doing great things and not for temporary acknowledgement or pats on the back.

Are you addicted to praise?

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado


  1. […] a new challenge in life. And even if you succeed, don’t just stop because you did not receive the praise and adoration that you feel you might have earned. Confident people blaze their own paths in life and don’t […]

Speak Your Mind