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The Dark Side of Praise

I've always considered myself incredibly fortunate to have been surrounded by people throughout my life who consistently showered me with compliments and made sure I knew they saw something special in me. It's humbling to reflect on the fact that I was born into a life and a body that seemed to merit such praise. In hindsight, I can appreciate that their words were meant to uplift my self-esteem and make me feel unique, and I'm grateful for their intentions rooted in love and care. However, as I embarked on my healing journey, I began to realize that despite the well-meaning praises, being placed on a pedestal had unintended consequences.

As fate would have it, my journey led me to cross paths with the remarkable members of the Pathways Community, a mere three months after my crazy spiritual awakening. It was a moment of serendipity that I couldn't ignore, as I found myself questioning the reasons behind my presence in such a healing space. Initially, I was simply searching for the next spiritual or esoteric workshop to join, eager to learn the next modality and delve deeper into my newfound spiritual understanding. Little did I know that this pursuit would lead me to a place of profound healing and self-discovery. I had always believed that my life was already brimming with richness—I had a loving family and a fulfilling career. Healing was something totally foreign to me; I never anticipated finding myself in a place where I felt the need to embark on a journey of inner transformation. Yet, destiny guided me to this moment, urging me to explore new depths within myself that I had yet to uncover.

As mentioned before, I was hailed as someone ‘special’ or exceptional from an early age. The words of praise and admiration became a constant soundtrack in my life. However, beneath the surface, I realized that this pedestal I was placed upon was a double-edged sword. While I know that those around me intended only to make me feel loved and celebrated, it unintentionally robbed me of the opportunity to truly discover who I was as an individual. The pressure to constantly perform, achieve, and meet expectations created a suffocating environment that stifled my growth and authenticity. I began to question whether my worth truly lay in what I accomplished or how others perceived me.

I was recently moved by a post from The Holistic Psychologist that shed light on the "golden child" phenomenon. It struck a chord with me, as it highlighted the pressure and shame that often come with the relentless pursuit of pleasing others and living up to their expectations.

I know firsthand the weight of being praised mainly for my achievements, performance, ability to please, and even beauty. I didn't understand then that this constant need for approval would lead to uncertainty and profound shame if I ever fell short of expectations.

It was a heavy burden to carry.

In the midst of my journey, I came to a realization: nobody is truly ‘special’ in a way that makes them superior over others. We are all equal, interconnected beings, each carrying a piece of the universe within us. Deep down, we all share the same cosmic codes embedded within our very existence. The true essence of our specialness lies not in trying to be ‘the best among the rest’, or outshine or surpass one another, but rather in our unique interpretations and expressions of these universal codes.

As I delved deeper into my healing journey, I embraced the understanding that our individuality is not about being better than others, but about exploring our own path of self-discovery and self-expression. Each of us holds a distinct lens through which we interpret and embody the codes of the universe. Our specialness lies in our authentic way of perceiving and manifesting these codes, bringing forth our unique gifts and perspectives.

I realized that the constant need for external validation and praise, which I had experienced throughout my life, had distracted me from the true source of my specialness. It had taken away my ability to fully explore and understand my authentic self. By releasing the weight of societal expectations and shifting my focus inward, I began to recognize the infinite potential and beauty within me, as well as within every soul on this remarkable journey of life.

The Pathways Community became a guiding light on this transformative path. Surrounded by kindred spirits and fellow seekers, I discovered the power of shared experiences and collective growth. We walked together, supporting one another through our unique healing processes, and celebrated the diverse expressions of our specialness. In this community, I found solace in the knowledge that no one is alone in their journey. We are all interconnected, learning from one another, and embracing the beauty of our shared humanity.

So, as I continue on this path of self-discovery and healing, I carry with me the wisdom that our true specialness lies not in the praise and adoration of others, but in our ability to embrace our authentic selves and live in alignment with our unique interpretations and expressions of the universal codes. By honoring the interconnectedness of all beings and celebrating the diversity of our individual journeys, we can create a world where everyone's specialness is recognized and valued. 💖

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Jun 20, 2023



No matter how perfect a facade we present to the world, deep within us lies a tender place in need of healing. It is in embracing our wounds that we find true strength. ♡

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