Your ability to receive a harsh lesson or a graceful gift has more to do with remembering you have a choice and remembering who you are, your value and where it comes from rather than the packaging it arrives in.
I love praise as much as anyone, but its whipped cream on your burnt almond fudge sundae before dinner, it’s your Martinelli’s before Turkey and mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving Day.
Okay, not the greatest analogies. I think praise is maybe a little more useful than that, but the point is, praise can’t satisfy you unless there is some real substance before it. In graduate school one of my favorite professors was a bit blunter than the others. They were all therapists, so it felt incredibly safe to make a comment or try to contribute to the discussion, but I knew with the blunt professor, if I got praise or validation from him, it meant something, I had learnt something valuable. Real instruction can come from getting things wrong or from life doing you wrong.
I vaguely remember my parents at different times telling me that everything is a gift - I was probably complaining about something and when I would hear that I would sneer or roll my eyes. Experience has taught me seeing everything as a gift allows or encourages personal agency, I get to choose what I receive. While I may not choose getting fired from a job, I choose what I absorb from it, what to learn and what to discard.
There are some people who experience the instruction of illness, some will buy more cough drops and some will learn to take care of themselves better (and buy cough drops).
Some people will experience joblessness and will absorb regret and pity; others will learn to invest in themselves with more marketable skills, among other things.
Others may experience the instruction of a failing marriage and learn how to be bitter and protect themselves - while others learn how to love better and be learn how to be loved.
You decide what you receive from that lesson, no one else does.
Today is a day of instruction, if you want instruction more than praise you will probably receive both.
Remember that being humble is knowing well who you are, your deficits and strengths. Being humble - all these things help you learn and grow from whatever the lesson/gift you are receiving.
Here’s an actionable step: visualize a sparkly wrapped box with a nice big bow on it. You wrapped it, but the gift inside is the instructions you are receiving from today, some might be consequences of your actions and perceptions, and some consequences are from other people’s actions.
Write down what gifts you were given and which gifts you want to absorb. It’s fine to write down what you don’t want but throw that list away, discard it, these are suggestions of low worth, bitterness and entitlement etc. They don’t belong to you, get rid of them.
Now keep the list of things you want to absorb and fully receive and synthesize them into your life. You will never be the same because of what you choose to absorb … choose wisely.
Today is a day of receiving instruction, if you want instruction more than praise you will probably receive both.