Monday, June 24, 2013

The value of attention and compliments

Compliments you've earned just may mean more to you than ones you did nothing for. (That's why they call it cheap flattery.) Oh, some people eat up compliments for things that have nothing to do with any effort of their own. We all prefer compliments to insults, generally, though between friends, a witty insult can be a bigger boost than a compliment from a more anonymous source. It's a compliment for some investment of time and effort that seems most earned. It may be flattering if someone likes our taste in clothes or cars or what we had for dinner---if we built significant parts of those clothes, cars, or dinner, it will mean more. I think that has to do with the connection of our private time and concentration, part of our integrity, being recognized by someone who appreciates what went into the effort.

Compliments for things we haven't really done can be a boost to the ego, but really, unless a person's absolutely deluded, those compliments won't matter as much as something about the genuine substance of the person's will and efforts. I've found out the hard way, compliments for something a person only pretended to do just empower them for the moment, but don't build anything lasting.

Attention's often given for purely self-serving reasons; that's part of human nature. Maybe we should have something of value we gain for the attention we give a person, depending on the substance of our self-worth and its makeup.

Some people do just want positive attention, which can come from any source whatsoever, and they know how to cue that attention from others, to prime the pump, if you will. But that has to do with a more narcissistic form of self-love.

Compliments and attention given to liars will seem more hollow to the liar, because they think everyone else is lying, too. A liar may feel good about a compliment, but if they know what you are praising them for is lies---what does that really mean? You will be disposed of as soon as you run out of praises and flattery. The value of ongoing friendships and relationships is another great reason to be truthful: for what you value in yourself, and for what you value in others. A liar really only has his or her self to love, and that's really a pretty shoddy and not overly-nourishing kind of love, because it doesn't build upon one's integrity. It doesn't give them energy that they can share readily with others, though sometimes any person will take the good feeling they get from others and spend it on whomever they wish, any way they like, whether it's through dissipation or in a more holistic circuit. You may be investing love and energy into someone just so they can go party it away with strange faces with no similar investment in the person. That's what I mean by dissipation. When you nourish a person who gives to other people so they might grow and give to others, I consider that a more holistic cause. It becomes more of a circuit when it somehow comes back to you. This is why everyone's worth something, but some people SEEM worthless or a waste of time. The judgement of those things will tie directly into your own self-worth, and your resources. Most people have a mixture of genuine efforts and lies, but you will note, upon comparison, the effect of this discernment.

When the attention of a given person is important to you---when their compliments mean something to you that is not forgettable, that you can thread through your memories and meanings that you rely upon for your inner life---that's part of a higher form of love. Attention from a person you love, or that you want to love you, will always be more special to you, because it's less transient. It's not just a passing bit of energy, but a part of your continuity, part of your ongoing self-concept that underlies your day-to-day life. A compliment from someone with whom you feel a lasting connection will always go into a store house of energy, if you will but tap into it, rather than frustrate over the futility of something you perceive as less successful, in the short term, or the futility of failing to see anything accumulate in your efforts. That way lies self-pity!

You may draw energy from the awareness that you have a talent that draws compliments sometimes, and may remember specific ones out of gratitude for that person's attention. Gratitude for the energies given to you leads to a lot more happiness and lifts you out of a lot of the conflicts that people have, just for the sake of getting energy or purpose.

The attention and compliments of a person you value---a person you cherish as part of your very own identity and existence---will always mean the most. It's gratitude that converts any of these attempts to award you personal value into useful energy that will empower you, energy that can actually be shared with others, too.

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