A pat on the back, a bit of applause…

6 May

“The person who seeks all their applause from outside has their happiness in another’s keeping”.
– Dale Carnegie, American Author and Achievement Expert

Earlier this week I blogged about the difference (and importance) of gratitude and expressing appreciation for others (Gratitude versus Appreciation, More please!) and I overlooked an important premise – the giving has to begin with ourselves!  If we aren’t savvy at being grateful to and appreciative of ourselves, how can we possibly pass it on to others?

Less than 6 degrees TampaLast evening I attended a popular Tampa Bay networking mixer full of seemingly happy, healthy, professional men and women called Less than six degrees. At the end of the event, I was at the bar finishing up my cocktail and a young 20- something, well-dressed woman sat down beside me.  “My ride stood me up”, she remarked, “so I think I’ll just have a cocktail before I order a cab.”  In the next few moments she unloaded on me the story of how she had recently reconnected with her estranged father who was now marrying his girlfriend of 20 years and who was pregnant with his second child. “I’m going to have a little sister” she sniffled, “but I don’t know what to do about it.” In a motherly response, I took her hands in mine and said “You’re going to be a great big sister you know.”  She responded with a “thank you. I hope so…” and confessed that she had looked for acceptance from her father for so long that she didn’t want to disappoint him now.

As we talked, it became clear that what was happening to her was what happens to all of us at one time or another.  So many of us get caught up in looking for applause and acceptance by others, that we lose sight of the fact that we deserve applause from ourselves!  We ought to recognize where we’re at, how far we’ve come and the great person that we are today. While it’s nice to receive support from others, the best, longest-lasting support has to come from inside ourselves!

We take ourselves so for granted that we’d be embarrassed if we did the same thing to someone else.  If you don’t agree, think about the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back for a job well done? How about the last time you looked in the mirror and said “Wow, you’re a great person, I really love you”. We are so caught up in trying to be perfect for others that we miss out on pleasing the only person who can ever make us happy – ourself!

Whitney HoustonThere is a song that epitomizes this — The Greatest Love of All by songwriters Linda Creed and Michael Masser, performed by George Benson (1977) and later made famous by Whitney Houston, (an excerpt of the lyrics follows),

“Greatest Love Of All”

I believe the children are our are future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody searching for a hero

People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone to fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

Click here for the full lyrics and to hear Whitney Houston’s rendition

Isn’t it time you gave yourself a pat on the back, a bit of applause, a kind word?

After all, you’re all you’ve got – and the good news is – that’s more than enough.

Have a great day!


Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

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