An Overlooked, Exquisite Source of Happiness? Giving Deserved Praise
I’m a gold-star junkie myself, and maybe that’s why I love the opportunity to give good praise.
Recently, I was able to do this. In the New York Times Book Review, I wrote about Kristin Cashore’s new book, Bitterblue. As I’ve often noted, I love children’s literature and young-adult literature, and Cashore is one of the best Young Adult novelists writing today. I’ve been a raving fan since I read the first two books in this trilogy, Graceling and Fire.
It gave me such tremendous happiness to sing the praises of someone whose work I admire so much, and to help other readers find their way to it. My concluding paragraph:
Some authors can tell a good story; some can write well. Cashore is one of the rare novelists who do both. Thrillingly imagined and beautifully executed, “Bitterblue” stands as a splendid contribution in a long literary tradition.
My sister and I often talk about the karma police. The karma police! When they’re on the job, nothing’s better than seeing their activity, but all too often, they appear to be off-duty.
Sometimes, we don’t get the praise we deserve; our hard work and good deeds aren’t rewarded; our efforts are fruitless. By giving merited praise, we can at least help make sure that others’ labors get recognized. And that’s a big source of happiness.
Years ago, on the day that a college friend was getting married in a quite elaborate all-weekend kind of way, we were all hanging out before the ceremony. An elegantly wrapped package arrived and was delivered to my friend’s mother. She thought perhaps it had been mis-addressed, but when she opened it, it was a beautiful nightgown, with a note from her best friend that said: “To the mother of the bride, who has worked so hard to make this day perfect.” A lovely gesture.
How about you? Do you find that calling attention to others’ merits boosts your happiness?
Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. Gretchen is also on Facebook and Twitter.