Beware of Flattery

Everyone wants to be appreciated at some point in their lives. At some point, everyone wants to be loved and encouraged every now and again. Flattery however is not the same as genuine praise. Not only is it counterproductive but its borderline insulting especially for the person being flattered upon. It is almost like lying or pretending to care.

Before I go on, I have to mention that not all flattery is bad. It is easy for introverts or those of us who are really shy, to be flattered by compliments. This form of flattery is likened to that of humility.

But how do you know if you’re flattering someone in a negative way or if someone is flattering you?

Ultra-Orthodox Praise

flatteryFlattery is known by what I like to call the Ultra-Orthodox Praise. This tends to really creep into my skin and tug at my nerve strings. The reason it’s so irritating is because it’s so fake. I’m sure I’m not the best thing since sliced bread. The Ultra-Orthodox Praiser however will lead you to believe otherwise. Likewise, you are not the best thing that has ever happened to me.

 

When someone has done something well tell them. Let them know they really touched you, how it made you feel and ways it has helped you to improve. Give credit where credit is due.

HOWEVER

Don’t overdo it. Making something out to be above what it’s worth is flattery and it does not help the giver or the receiver. When you discern this kind of flattery in your midst, don’t let it go to your head. Let’s look at some examples:

“You are very pretty and I love that new hair cut!”

Even though the word “very” was used this is a genuine compliment. The person stated what they saw in the person and showed also that they noticed something new about them. It shows that they are interested and truthful in regard to their praise.

“You are very pretty and I love the new haircut! Where’d you get it done?”

This compliment is also a good one. In fact it is better than the last one. Not only did this person notice the new hair cut but they made it a point to also ask questions. This engages the other person and shows genuine interest.

“You are by far the most beautiful person in the world! I wish I could marry you today.”

This is flattery. Is this person really the most beautiful person in the world? This is extra and is not helpful. Suppose the woman did think she was the most beautiful person ever, this will help her to do nothing but think too highly of herself. She will be filled with pride and no one will be able to tell her anything. So you see flattery is really unnecessary.

Now this next example is kinda tricky:

“I think your poetry is better than Maya Angelou’s.”

Praise-Flattery-sign

Is this a genuine compliment or is it flattery?

This is a genuine compliment. It’s genuine because it’s one person’s opinion about someone else. Remember that flattery is characterized by over-exaggeration, not necessarily the mention of famous individuals. It is also important to note that this is someone’s opinion and it is addressed as such. “I think” informs us of the nature of the statement and lets us know it is an opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Chances are the person really did think this poet’s work superseded Maya Angelou’s. It is their opinion. However, it is easy for this statement to have been one of flattery if the person went over the top with it:

“I think you should change your name to Maya Angelou since you’re such a great poet.

Though this is an opinion, it is also flattery. If the person really is a good poet, tell them but leave the extra stuff out. It only makes you look insincere and phony about what you’re saying unless it was understood that you were joking.

Why People Flatter

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If you are in a situation where someone is flattering you, there are three possible reasons:

1). Envy

Believe it or not most people who are overtly zealous concerning certain individuals do not actually care for them, and their flattery is a cover. These people tend to over compensate to make it look like these people are their “besties,” but in reality they hope for their down fall. There is no reason to pretend or make someone out to be other than they are except if there are hidden motives.

2). Pity

Another result of flattery is pity. People are most likely to become victims of flattery by those who feel sorry for them in some way. If you’re attempting to build encouragement this is not the way to do it. People need to know the truth so that they can improve. You don’t have to be mean about it, but flattery is just as counterproductive.

3). They Want Something in Return

If someone is throwing unnecessary overtly zealous statements your way that are really over the top, another reason for this is that they want something from you. What they want can vary. Some people are so bad that they’ll do it just to get your attention.

How to React to Flattery

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If you believe you are being flattered in negative ways just brush it off. Don’t be rude and try to jump down people’s throats for flattering you. However, don’t take it seriously. Flattery tends to be an over exaggerated form of an observation for the purpose of exacting pity, or trying to get your attention. It is sometimes based not off logic or genuine interest, but of hidden envy. Acknowledge it for what it is and keep it moving. Like the quote says, enjoy it. It may even be funny, may uplift you even but don’t swallow it. Remain humble. Mistaking flattery for truth can have its consequences. You can put yourself in the vulnerable position of being really hurt that someone was not honest with you. You will feel used and under appreciated. There is nothing like the real thing so never trade the truth for a moment of flattery. It hinders, it does not help.

If You’re a Flatterer

Sometimes we are just trying to be nice. But if you find yourself flattering a lot just keep it real with yourself always. You don’t have to over acknowledge someone, either their presence or talent, to make them feel special. If you are truly genuine they will know it and if they have good hearts they will appreciate it.

*Remember that genuine praise or excitement over someone or their work is not flattery.*

As seen in our examples, flattery tends to be over the top in unrealistic ways:

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Flattering Comments

Finally, I have to bring up an important observation as it pertains to the blog world. Sometimes I get the feeling that there are certain instances where it appears differing perspectives are not welcomed in the blogosphere. Not from the comments I get since I have been fortunate to have genuine people leave their thoughts on the table and we have engaged in excellent conversations. However,  while browsing the blogging world period (which doesn’t limit itself to WordPress), I do detect flattery in the comments area. Sometimes, not all the time. I know how important it is to be kind and I would never promote a debate (because its fruitless) but being nice and courteous doesn’t mean everyone will think the same or that everyone will be in agreement. That is not how it is in the real world. In fact, sometimes people may even get upset or agitated by a blog post. We need to understand that that’s OK as long as they maintain a level of self-control (no usage of profanity and angry outburst) because that’s real.

When giving commentary on someone’s blog make sure that you’re being real about it. Respect their blog as if walking into their home, but don’t make your comments so overlaid with flattery that it becomes fake.

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Mariah Carey Hero

I have a song for you this afternoon as my contribution to Writer’s Quote Wednesday. This song is so beautiful that I thought I’d switch up my usual quotes with it. The verses that hit home for me this week were:

“So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you…”

Mariah Carey – Hero

And no I am not feeling hopeless lol. I just like the song and I hope it is uplifting to your week as it has been to mine.

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And that’s it for me this week. Yall be great.

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Why Perms Are Afraid of Water

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If you don’t know about the health deficiencies of the relaxer by now, then you just don’t know. Perms and relaxers have been a long time favorite of many women, but this beauty regimen comes at a high price – hair breakage, scalp irritation, stunted hair growth, and even permanent hair loss.*

That’s because Sodium Hydroxide (the government name for the perm), is a dangerous chemical that eats away at any part of the body that it contacts, including hair. It is a very strong chemical that is also known as lye and caustic soda and is found in many industrial solvents and cleaners, including flooring stripping products, brick cleaners, cements, and many others. It can also be found in certain household products including:
• Drain cleaners
• Metal polishes
• Oven cleaners

Drano

The interesting thing about the drain cleaner, is that the Sodium Hydroxide in it helps to clear away the hair often found corked at the bottom of bathtubs and sinks (eww right). That said, let’s get to the point here shall we? What does this have to do with the hair on our head? While it’ll take quite some time to explain all of the information concerning the side effects to the perm, let us just focus on the topic at hand, why are perms so afraid of water?

relaxed-hair

 

We’ve all been there. You just got your hair lyed, dyed, and laid to the side! What the beautician just did to your hair is nothing short of amazing. But you can’t get it wet. You can’t go swimming and heaven help you when it rains!

 

 

Your hair is made up of layers. The outer layer protects the hair shaft. When the layer of protection is damaged with the use of chemical relaxers, this causes the ends of your hair to split. This damage can travel up the hair shaft and cause hair breakage, resulting in damaged uneven hair. Some say just trim the ends, but the truth is that perms and relaxers are actually quite jealous of the hair’s natural state so it promotes split ends. They dry the ends of your hair and wear down the protective layer.

split_ends

As shown in the picture (below), relaxers in African American hair for example, works by allowing the chemicals to break the protein bonds in the hair in order to change its shape (we’ll speak more on the different shapes of the hair strands in tomorrow’s segment), and makes course hair straight. But by breaking the bonds that give hair its strength, the hair is left weak and vulnerable (poor hair). So when water hits the already weakened hair bonds, they become like useless limp strings (not a good look). It also weakens the hair follicle, making relaxed hair more susceptible to breakage.

307988-61011-30The hair has a particular wave pattern that is held by two sets of physical side bonds and a set of chemical side bonds. The physical side bonds are not as strong, but are more numerous, while the chemical side bonds are much stronger, but there are fewer of them. Because of this, it is recommended that someone with a fresh perm wait a few days before shampooing or wetting the hair as to allow the hair time to “normalize” and fully adjust to the new wave patterns.

Perms basically change the shape and texture of the hair by use of strong chemicals. Your Perm is afraid of water because it just had surgery and needs time to heal and adjust to the new pattern.

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*Fun Fact: Today’s modern relaxer was actually invented by an African American man named Garrett Morgan (same inventor of the gas mask and traffic signal), while trying to create a product for a sewing machine shop back in 1910. He wiped his hand on a wool cloth and found that the chemical gave the cloth a smooth appearance. This must have been some kind of strong chemical to turn a cloth into a different texture.

Silence

Place-of-silence

An answer kept sacred inside the breast of nothingness. Thinking for the moment to have sent up hope into an empty sky. What becomes of silence? It ignores our hunger for answers and tugs away at anxious spirits. Uncontrollably the mind races to the next step, pondering what may become of lines uninterrupted by commas and periods. Of thoughts quickly running on to the “why’s” and “how comes”. Never once does it seek to ponder why silence makes such a covenant with our minds, commanding only a light breeze from the wind when not a sound is heard as it eases past our skins. Not once does the busy mind, always racing and so on edge care to ponder what is to be learned in the quite. Silence laughs at the foolishness of our impatience, grabbing time by the hands and together they leave us sick with questions. What is the next move to be made in the stillness? What revelation taps against the calm meditations of the heart? What revolution for our cries? What reproof must we seek to understand in the devastating muteness of the air?