Ego is built through flattery. Do not praise and flatter each other. In monasteries this is totally forbidden. Of course you can challenge people by saying, for example, "You have many potentials. You can try to do better." This is better than flattering and bribing others to be something for which they have no preparation and no past karma to produce certain results for themselves.
This is very prevalent in our homes. For example, they say, "My son, you are going to be a hero in the future." "You are going to be a great lawyer." "You are so beautiful." "You are better than other boys." "You are chosen by God." Why are you chosen? What happens to these children? They puff up and become swollen headed with a very big ego. They can become the most destructive human beings, if anyone works against their ego. I have seen many, many such people.
You must not flatter or bribe each other. You must not say things that you do not know anything about. The spiritual path is to stay in reality and factuality, and never flatter others. Flattery is a form of expectation from the flatterer. Whenever you flatter people, you are expecting something from them. Flattery is selfish and manipulative.
Q: Are flattery and acknowledgment the same thing?
A: No. In true acknowledgment and recognition, you are recognizing a person's efforts, not the results of their efforts. For example, "You made so many genuine efforts to produce this painting. But I think that you can strive to do even greater work." In this way, you leave the door open for that person's progress.
Q: What if someone suffers from low self-esteem and they need encouragement?
A: I am not saying that you should not encourage people. But you must encourage people without flattery and pumping them our of their limits of actualizing their potentials. Encouragement is a scientific process. We must not encourage people our of their limits.
Self-Actualization & Self-Mastery