Don’t search for the praise of others. Do not believe what people say about you. You know yourself and your flaws better than others do.
How do you deal with people’s praise?
People might praise you based on assumptions and external things they see. But you know yourself and your flaws better than others do. When you are praised by people, you should turn within and hold yourself accountable for the flaws you know. This will make you pray to Allah ﷻ to forgive your sins and help mend your flaws.
If someone praised one of the companions, he would say: “I know myself better than others, and my Lord ﷻ is more knowledgable than myself. O Allah ﷻ do not take me to task for what they say, and make me better than what they think of me and forgive me for those sins which they are unaware of.”
Praise also makes you overlook your flaws and look at your merits. It discourages you from doing additional good deeds if you really believe you are perfect and have done great actions. People’s praise may change your intentions from pleasing Allah ﷻ to pleasing people, earning their praise or avoiding their criticism.
So do not search for praise without searching for your flaws.
So step 21 to Allah ﷻ is to refocus your intention on seeking the pleasure of Allah rather than that of others, and not becoming distracted by praise such that you become blind to your flaws.
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Article inspired by Shaykh Zaqir’s classes