How to Genuinely Praise Someone (aka I appreciate you.)
Praise transforms. Although too often unrecognized, praise has a profoundly positive impact. Praise inspires greatness. It uplifts and encourages. In our families, our schools, our neighborhoods, our teams, our workplaces, and our community, because praise makes a person feel noticed, seen, and yes, loved. You can appreciate someone and praise has more depth, more power.
“Praise is one of the strongest forms of love.” ~ Catherine Ponder
And simply put, everything in life turns out better when we feel loved.
Can you remember a time when someone truly noticed, acknowledged, and maybe even praised something you did? They probably shared something special that they appreciated or admired about you and how you showed up in life, right? It feels good doesn’t it?
Maybe, on the other hand, you feel like people rarely notice your efforts or good intentions. Maybe you feel under appreciated. That definitely doesn’t feel good. Yet, that’s another reason why The Praise Project exists, because we, as a global society, could all be a little bit better at praising other people.
As a side note, we could almost all be a little better at receiving praise too, but we’ll visit that later.
What is Praise? #PowerofPraise
Praise is more than gratitude. It’s more than a simple “Thank you”. Praise is more than appreciate someone. Praise is specific.
To Praise: To acknowledge a specific quality in someone that you admire or a specific way they have positively impacted you or your life.
Yes, praise takes a little more time than gratitude and a simple ‘Thank you’, or to just say “I appreciate you,’ but that extra moment you take to share praise can feel priceless to the receiver. Real praise is something people remember for years, even decades. Yes, priceless is a big word and the #PowerofPraise is enormous.
As a matter of fact, the amount of love experienced by the person being praised goes up exponentially the more specific and personal the form of the praise takes.
Why does it need to be specific and personal? #YouAreSeen
To offer praise that is specific and personal, you have to actually see the person you are going to praise. You can’t make flippant off-hand praise. It won’t work, or at best, it’s power will be greatly diminished. The receiver won’t feel the love that could have been offered.
To truly praise someone, you have to pause long enough to realize, recognize and acknowledge the impact that person had on you. Then, once you acknowledge the positive impact that person has had on you, it takes another level of generosity to actually express that praise out loud, to actually tell the person how you feel.
Praising Someone is Vulnerable #IamSeen
Praising someone is truly an act of generosity. When you praise someone you are sharing the effect that person had on you. In order to do that, first, you have to see you. You have to notice that you had an experience. You have to sense how that experience made you feel. Then you have to notice the part of the other person that moved you. You see you and you see them in the same moment.
It’s undeniable, as human beings, we all want to be seen. Yet, the startling truth also remains that, all too often, we are simultaneously and usually unconsciously, afraid, even terrified, to be seen. When you offer praise, you offer a glimpse into you. You allow the other person to see and feel you. As you build your praising skill, you can say #YouAreSeen and #IamSeen. That’s love, my friend.
But what about praising people at work? #PraiseYourCo-Workers
If praise is love, isn’t that weird at work? No, the kind of love we’re talking about here is not romantic love. Praise can, of course, be expressed romantically and the love created through praising people is a universal unconditional love. Every single person wants to be seen, felt, appreciated and loved. All the time. Everywhere. It’s that simple.
Praising Strangers #TheWebofLove
It can seem weird to praise a stranger or someone you don’t know well. That happens, again, because of our fears of seeing and being seen. Yet our lives are filled with many, many, many people who make our life better. Think about the trash collector, mail carrier, receptionist, cable company sales person, the officer that protects your neighborhood, your child’s teacher, or your parent’s neighbor, not to mention your co-workers, maintenance people at your office, the actor on the TV screen, the author or your favorite book, or the city services clerk. The list goes on and on. They all contribute to making your life flow.
These seeming strangers would also welcome your praise, even those public figures you think wouldn’t care, care. Yes, they all, deep down, want to be acknowledged for who they truly are. They would welcome the love you offer when you stop to notice and acknowledge the real connection between you. There’s an unending web of love connecting and surrounding you, if you’re willing to slow down long enough to notice it. #TheWebofLove
Slowing Down to Praise #SlowDownforLove
When our world moves at the crazy rapid pace that has become commonplace, love feels less and less available. Truly, the faster we move, the less love we feel. Let me say that again, the faster life moves, the less access to love we have. When we’re moving quickly, we’re not sharing love and we’re not receiving love. That makes us feel empty, alone, disconnected, and maybe even depressed.
This is a time for slowing down. This is a time for reconnecting to what is precious. This is a time for loving and being loved. It’s a time to practice praise.
Now is also a time to truly realize – we are never alone. We, as humans, are forever and inextricably connected to each other. The web is endless.
Examples of Praise #TheGiftofPraise
Before you jump into practicing praising, let’s give you a few praise examples that you could use with different people in the various areas of your life. As we explored above, it’s great to thank someone, it’s great to appreciate someone, and the impact goes up exponentially when you turn that appreciation into true praise.
You might say to your life partner, “Thanks for making dinner.” That’s great gratitude and real (specific) praise might be, “Thank you for the time and love you put into making such healthy meals for us.”
Instead of saying to your co-worker or teammate, “Thanks for your effort on project X.” Praise would sound like, “Your efforts on project X were very valuable because of your commitment to detail and documentation.”
You could praise your kids by saying, “That’s a great drawing you’ve made. Your choice of colors if beautiful.” Or, “Wow, that fort you built is really strong. You’ve got such a smart brain!”
“You’re great!” would turn into “I think you’re great because you have such a funny sense of humor that always makes me laugh.”
Your usual silence when you notice and appreciate (or are touched by) someone making a contribution in the world, would turn into, “I notice you show up with so much kindness and compassion. I just want you to know I see you and appreciate you.”
Now that you have some examples of praise, would you like to connect with others who are practicing praising?
Practice Makes Greatness #PracticingPraise
The Praise Project Challenge is truly designed to help you build your praising muscles, so to speak. You might think you praise people frequently, but if you’re at all like me, you might realize that you’re actually better at gratitude, or appreciating someone, but not as good at praise. That’s the very realization I had that inspired us to create the Project. I saw that I was pretty darn good at appreciating someone with a, “Thank you,” but I had a lot of room for improvement when it came to praise. So, we’re all on this journey together. Let’s practice together. #PraiseisLove
To make starting easy, in your ‘Quick Start Guide: How to Praise Someone’, you’ll get over 30 Praise Phrases to help you get specific and personal with each person you want to praise. You’ll find phrases you can use with your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, service providers, anyone. Plus, you’ll also get a list of 10 Ways to Praise because remember, the more you praise, the more you love. Let’s #WraptheWorldinLove!
Praising May Not Come Easy #PracticeNotPerfection
Praising People may not feel easy at first. You’re probably not used to speaking praise. That’s okay. That’s why the Challenge exists. Practice with praise. Play with praise. It’s not about being perfect. As a matter of fact, anyone that tries to be perfect, or expects perfection in others, will almost never give or accept praise. Even if someone tried to praise a ‘perfectionist’ person, the person couldn’t receive the gift of praise, instead they would come up with multiple reasons why they shouldn’t be praised.
So, yep, it might feel awkward at first. No, it might not be fully received. Yes, it requires more words, but, definitely yes, it’s worth it.
Give praise a try. Then share your stories and ask your questions below.
The more you praise, the more you love. As an extra benefit, you’ll also discover you’re much less alone than you think, and somehow, seemingly miraculously, life will just get better.
Here’s to praise! Here’s to love!
#PowerofPraise #PraiseisLove #PraiseitForward
In love, light and ecstasy,
*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.