In my former life as an athlete, my coaches constantly critiqued me, and I knew that this was their way of helping me become a better athlete. No one is ever perfect, and so I quickly became accustomed to constructive criticism, and I learned to hold out for that ever so rare moment of praise. That one phrase, “nicely done” is like gold to me– even now.

Unfortunately, those of us that think of praise as gold tend to rarely handed it out. Some people hand it out like candy, and to me that just makes it meaningless. But perhaps there is a happy medium we can all shoot for– especially with those that we love. No need to do cartwheels over minor things, but I have learned over time the importance of positive praise both at home and in the office.

I originally went to numerous executive trainings about this concept to promote a better work environment; then I had to transfer this skill to my home life in order to attempt to raise a well-adjusted child. Along the way, I started applying this technique more and more to friends and significant others, and honestly in addition to seeing how happy it makes others, I have to admit over the last few years it personally has brought me great joy to acknowledge the effort people around me are making– especially in today’s crazy, unpredictable world.

In a life where there are very few guarantees anymore- except for death and taxes, the fact that people go out every day and find the courage to love, look for meaning in their lives, and face constant threats to their physical, emotional or financial well-being, is not a small feat. To face all these fears without crumbling is what keeps us as a human race moving forward, and every day I am blessed with meeting courageous people willing to share a piece of their lives with me.

In the spirit of handing out more compliments, today I just want to applaud all my friends out there– and especially those who are now mothers and struggling with work-life balance, on Mother’s Day weekend, my heart goes out to you all, because you rock!

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.