As someone with a history of receiving little praise over the course of my life, I recognize that I also tend to be the one who does not praise others much. I don't have that problem of habitually playing the game of: " You give me praise, and then I'll give you praise, and then we'll both feel better about ourselves". Or better yet, "Let me give you praise in return, as a form of ego reciprocity". I'd rather sit at a rodeo, or better yet, be the rodeo clown.
Predictably, I used to have trouble receiving praise. On some level, I still do. Sure, I've learned to receive compliments after years of work, but the struggle is an inside job. Inwardly, I come from a space of having convinced myself that I need to decipher and assess the "between the lines". I used to feel justified in questioning, and would immediately get to work on determining the alterior motives that someone else might have for praising me. It didn't matter what for. Underlying it all is what I've come to realize as a very old story. One of my teachers says it's probably the oldest story out there.
The story is very short and simple. It holds that if I am simply present here, without flash or bravado, you can't really see me. It says that if I speak, without malice or ego you won't even notice, much less, really hear me. It suggests that the public at large is not interested in doing anything but reading a book by its cover.
I lived in accordance with this story for a long time. Of course, then my path has been lined with the Trust Berry Bush. Trust issues be damned, I have adopted a perspective that (en)lightens me up a little. I offer it up to you here, and perhaps you can notice how you operate. Perhaps, you question.
When I praise someone for something, it is in praise of the light of their being. I do not praise performance. Instead, I praise the personal dedication that led to it. Whether it's related to sports or business; concert performance or simple expression of ideas, intention, or compliments, I praise the fact that one is so aligned with his/her spirit that self-expression is the only choice. When I compliment someone, I want it to be a simple acknowledgement that I see the outward manifestation of their spirit.
In return, I want or expect nothing.