The Power of Praise

January 29, 2013

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. – Proverbs 25:11

Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. – Proverbs 3:27

How do these verses apply to everyday life?

I sat around a table recently with some close friends. We started with the person at the end of the table, and one by one, went around the table and said what we appreciated about that person.

the power of praise 2

We commented on the qualities we admired, the things they were good at, and what we loved most about them.
Then we moved to the next person, and all went around the table talking about them. Then the next person, and so on.

It was powerful. We laughed and joked a lot. But we mostly cried. Tears began to flow as we talked about the difference we had made in each others lives, and how much we appreciated and loved one another.

As I reflected on it later, I was awed again with how powerful praise is. I already knew that. But I guess I had forgotten. Here’s what that time around the table reminded me of:

1. Graciously accepting praise is difficult. – For some reason, I find it very difficult to accept praise, even though I love receiving it. I instinctively change the subject, make a joke, or say something like, “Oh, it wasn’t that big a deal.” I have learned the best thing to do is simply smile and offer a heartfelt and simple, “Thank you.”

2. Being praised for something makes me want to do it more. – Every single one of us loves affirmation. When the boss compliments us on the way we treated a customer, we make sure and treat them that way next time, too. When the wife gives us sincere praise for taking out the trash, we are much quicker to pick it up next time. And when the husband tells us how beautiful we look in that dress, we are going to wear it again soon. Praise is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.

3. Praising someone makes them feel good. – Praise simply lifts our spirits. It was so fun to watch each one around the table soaking in the praise. There’s just something beautiful about words of affirmation.

4. Praising someone makes ME feel good. – Giving praise is actually…fun! The best way to make your day better is to make someone else’s day better.

5. People notice more than you think. – The compliments around the table weren’t generic and bland. They were specific. People remembered things I didn’t even think they had noticed. To improve your praise, try being more specific.

6. Sometimes you forget how much you love someone until you focus on them and express it. – I can’t add anything to this point. Just go back and read it again. It’s important.

7. Everyone has something worthy of praise. – It was not a struggle at all to find something to compliment in each person around the table. In fact, we had to limit our time, because we could each go on forever.

Take a moment today to text someone you love. Compliment your coworkers. Tell your spouse how awesome they are.

It will make their day better. And you’ll be surprised to find it makes your day better, too.