As I was watching KZ Tandingan in X Factor Philippines, it made me think of the nature of flattery, praise, and criticism. KZ is a good singer, and from the praises of the judges early on in the auditions, she's a shoo-in for the champion. Yet I noticed that she is so sensitive to minor criticisms, crying when one judge commented that a song choice wasn't so good.
But, I also think that the judges are sometimes exaggerated on their praises for mediocre performances... but not that I know any better. I'm just one of the audience. I've never been on national TV nor tried to join a high-tension singing competition like the X Factor.
As said in Psychology Today, it takes 10 positive compliments to heal the sting of 1 negative. We humans always remember the bad stuff. Another cliche in friendship or in any other relationship: a clean record can be erased by a single mistake.
I'm still immature when it comes to positive praise or negative criticism. I'm as sensitive as the next girl, and still trying to grow thicker skin. I can cry when faced with comments that hurt and automatically get defensive just like anybody. The best way I know how to deal with it is to take a deep breath first, and let the emotion pass. After that, one can analyse one's self. In calm, we can more objectively assess what went wrong with us when we were too emotional to think clearly.
Another friend of mine is a Facebook addict. She's very pretty, but I noticed that her ego relies on how many 'likes' her pictures get and its making her vain. One picture had loads of compliments from others, but her mood turned sour as one commenter pointed out minor flaws on her face or style of dress. She soon deleted that killjoy commenter from her friends list.
I think this attitude will ultimately defeat us. Its better to have honest enemies than plastic admirers.
I'm naturally paranoid that those who praise me must be only stroking my ego because they want something from me. What I find funny are those who praise or criticize people about the wrong things -- imagine someone praising some talent you know you don't have. What's dangerous is someone who'd like to have a talent and imagines herself an expert and believes all the plastic praise. Wrong praise may lead you to think you're the best, and because of that you don't see any need for improvement. It causes mediocrity.
When someone highlights my good points, the more I remember all my bad. Maybe that's a good thing. One must constantly check one's ego. Its better to deflate that yourself than have someone else do it. Its better that you know yourself as you really are and not how you want to be seen by others -- or how you want to see yourself. The real and the ideal are always too far apart.