The more ashamed you are, the more you seek praise. It seems logical. If you have been shamed for your looks/salary/intelligence/whatever, you want to be appreciated. Everybody needs praise. But what if it’s the only thing in your mind? What if it dominates every decision you make?

Desperately seeking praise to deal with shame is a bad idea because it traps you in a cycle. If you are DESPERATE for praise then even if you get it, you are going to feel ashamed because ….you feel ashamed of being so desperate! You are also afraid: What if people come to know that you are so needy? If they find out, they are not going to like you because people are repelled by those who are too needy.

You end up feeling worse because you cannot lie to yourself when it comes to shame. You can pretend in front of others that you are not desperate, but shame will do its job and make you feel pathetic.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we don’t praise people who are not confident/ lack self-esteem/ dealing with shame.. Encouraging someone is obviously very important. What I am talking about here is this constant need to seek approval because of a belief that you are unworthy. You cannot use praise as a drug to deal with shame because the very fact that you are dependent on drugs makes you feel ashamed.


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