Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Encouragers

I am often criticized for not being effusive with my praise or enthusiasm. It takes a lot to impress me, and I don’t go around giving complements for no other reason than to make people feel good. I will give accolades when they are deserved, and refuse to be pressured into giving them simply to “encourage” others.

Similarly, I despise… err… lets call them “less-than-honest” complements. One Sunday at church, I blew it while playing the bass. I knew it. Anyone with any musical ability knew (and heard) it. I lost my place on the first song, panicked, and never quite recovered. As I was leaving the platform, someone said to me, “Great job!”

I appreciate the sentiment. I understand what they were trying to do, but it has gotten so bad with my Christian friends that I never quite trust praise from them. They mean well, but lying in the name of encouraging is lying just the same.

If you’ve read my blog, you have seen me talk about my diet struggles. Last year, I lost 50+ pounds doing the Atkins diet, only to gain it all back within 4 months. One day, after I had gained all my weight back, with a little extra, someone came up to me after church and said, “Hey Skinny! Wow! How much weight have you lost?” This person was either not being honest, has a problem with their vision, or early onset Alzheimers. Regardless, a comment like that when I knew I had gained it all back just made me feel worse than if they had never said anything.

I’m not asking for unsolicited comments on my failings. If I screw up playing music, please don’t run up and tell me I stunk up the joint. But, if I ask you how I did, please give me an honest assessment. And if you ask me if that dress makes your butt look big, accept whatever response you deserve.

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