The fear of self praise

The fear of self praise

I regularly talk about self praise – in fact, it is one of the key tips in several of my keynote speaker topics such as ‘How to be Your Own Best Friend’ or ‘How to Engage and Empower Your Staff’. (Please see  It is an action step I also often get my Life Coaching clients involved in as well!

In discussing the importance of self praise whether it is with coaching clients or when speaking at an wellbeing event or conference, there is often a lot of resistance to be felt from my audience!  Unfortunately, many of us have negative beliefs both from society and our families, that it is ‘wrong’ in some way to give ourselves a well deserved pat on the back. We often believe that it is arrogant or simply unnecessary. Many people also don’t believe they deserve to bestow this kindness on themselves and hook into phrases such as ‘Self Praise is no praise’ or ‘Self Praise is no recommendation’.

Contrary to the above, clients often come to me to be coached as they are desperate for someone outside of themselves to praise them. I hear phrases like ‘My boss never says well done’, or ‘I never know where I stand’.

Isn’t it amusing that we are on the search for praise from other people but are not willing to give it to ourselves? In fact, we look for others to validate us through external praise, but are not willing to validate ourselves.

Thankfully, science is also starting to show the positive effects of self praise on our brain and that it can actually assist us to learn new habits more successfully.

Even more importantly for me, is how regular self praise can build up strong self esteem, inner confidence and  encourages a positive view of self. In addition, self praise actually feels good on the body and will cause you to move ‘downstream’. (Please see Lisa’s other blogs for information on her Downstream concept).

Giving yourself some well deserved praise and acknowledgement may also prevent you seeking it so desperately from other people. Remember, you cannot ever rely on anyone else to boost your self esteem or give you the validation that you require. If you are continually searching for praise from other people, you will only end up disappointed. To be honest, it is not other peoples responsibility to praise or validate you. However, you can choose right now to give yourself the gift of self praise.

Try these simple methods: 

  • Gently soothe yourself each day by stating ‘I am doing ok, I am doing well’.
  • Start a self praise journal and write 2 things down each evening that you feel you have done well.
  • When you look in the mirror, search for something to praise yourself for – it doesn’t have to be related to your body – it could be as simple as congratulating yourself for getting out of bed on time or getting the kids breakfast ready.

Lisa Phillips is a Sydney Life Coach and Confidence Coach based in Australia. She is also the author of ‘The Confidence Coach’ – (Exile Publishing). To find out more about Lisa, please see or to book Lisa to speak at your event, please see

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