I am finding it interesting to watch all of the conversations on this blog and on others. What I say to people, what they say to me, and how it all feels.
In my spiritual journey, I have come to see that there is a difference between praise and truth. I tell someone that their work is lovely–is that praise or truth? Truth, in my eyes, just is, like powerful poems and luminous art. A truly lovely painting rests secure in the knowingness that it is. . . .lovely. Feedback from others neither shifts it self-worth nor feeds its ego. It just is. Like a rock.
Praise, on the other hand, might or might not be true. We might just say something to encourage someone else, to give them a boost because we think they need it or because we can. If the other person accepts our words as praise, it might fill a bit of the hole left in the swiss cheese of their self-esteem. But do you really want my praise filling your energetic holes? Wouldn’t you prefer to fill the holes in you with your own magnificent light?
This is a bit of a tricky distinction I am making here. Some people throw up their hands at this point and tell me that it’s all the same thing. But it’s not. The energy around it is very different. Try it on this way.
You write a poem and post it. It’s really good. I praise it. You, who still feel uncertain that anyone truly wants to read your stuff, embrace my praise and feel better. For a bit. But it takes the energy of my praise in your space to make it so, and that is like fiberglass in a wet attic: friable.
Or, you write a poem and it’s really good. I tell you that I love it and that it’s really good. You know that already. You say thank you. I have enjoyed your lovely work. You have stayed you, certain as a rock, and my appreciation is like the sweet-smelling summer rain, nice but not necessary.
Learning to stand in the truth and power of my own light without requiring anyone else’s approval has freed me from the narrow vision of my own ego. I am a good writer. That is true. I enjoy the conversation around my work, but I don’t need the validation.