Monthly Theme: Intimacy
This week’s word is Acknowledge
In the blockbuster movie Avatar, the Navi greet one another by saying, "I see you." As the movie progresses and Jake, a human, becomes ever increasingly closer to the Navi people, his understanding of that greeting grows deeper and deeper. "I see you" becomes an acknowledgement of brotherhood, common purpose and even romantic love. You see a softening of emotion on his face as Jake puts his forehead to the foreheads of those he grows close to. There is an intimacy that blossoms and, by the movie's end, Jake has become Navi and has left the human race.
I see you. You exist. I have noticed you. You have a good heart. You are kind to others. You work hard. You are a team player.
Simple statements, right? They take but a second to speak from our lips. Yet, so powerful. Just reading these you may have noticed a shift within yourself. Perhaps you sat a little straighter in your chair. You may feel a sensation of warmth in your chest. Having your existence, your very being, acknowledged by another is affirming. And when they go a step further and actually acknowledge you in a positive way, to appreciate the way you interact with others or contribute to a common goal, the roots of the positive energy go even deeper into your soul.
This week take a few seconds to acknowledge those around you. Be more attentive to greet people as you come and go. Show appreciation for those who do something to help you out or who take time out of their busy lives to spend with you. Notice how these acknowledgement affect your relationships. Do you feel closer to those you acknowledge than you did before? Pay attention to which expressions of acknowledgements are easy to say and which ones you find more difficult and then reflect on what makes some easier than others to express. If you're up for an even greater challenge, try acknowledging someone with whom you have a difficult relationship with. Notice any changes in your interactions with them after you acknowledge them.
Quote of the Week
7 Principles of Acknowledgment
1. The world is full of people who deserve to be acknowledged. It will be easier to acknowledge those you care most about if you start by practicing your acknowledgment skills on people you don’t know very well, or even know at all. Then you will begin making the world a happier place.
2. Acknowledgment builds intimacy and creates powerful interactions. Acknowledge the people around you directly and fully, especially those with whom you are in an intimate relationship. What is it about your spouse, your daughter, your uncle, your oldest colleague or subordinate that you want to acknowledge? Look for ways to say how much you value them, and then be prepared for miracles!
3. Acknowledgment neutralizes, defuses, deactivates and reduces the effect of jealousy and envy! Acknowledge those you are jealous of, for the very attributes you envy. Watch the envy diminish and the relationship grow stronger as you grow to accept valuable input from the person you were envying.
4. Recognizing good work leads to high energy, great feelings, high-quality performance and terrific results. Not acknowledging good work causes lethargy, resentment, sorrow and withdrawal. Recognize and acknowledge good work, wherever you find it. It’s not true that people only work hard if they worry whether you value them. Quite the opposite!
5. Truthful, heartfelt and deserved acknowledgment always makes a difference, sometimes a profound one, in a person’s life and work. Rarely given acknowledgments have no more value than frequent ones. Sincere praise should not be withheld due to fear of diminishing returns, of appearing inappropriate or out of embarrassment. These obstacles can and should be overcome in order for you and your recipients to reap the tremendous rewards.
6. It is likely that acknowledgment can improve the emotional and physical health of both the giver and the receiver. There is already substantial scientific evidence that gratitude and forgiveness help well-being, alertness and energy, diminish stress and feelings of negativity, actually boosting the immune system. It is reported that they can even reduce the risk of stroke and heart failure. This research leads us to believe that acknowledging others has similar effects.
7. Practice different ways of getting through to the people you want to acknowledge. Develop an acknowledgment repertoire that will give you the tools to reach out to the people in your life in the different ways that will be the most meaningful to each situation and each person.”
- The Power of Acknowledgment, by Judith W. Umlas
Do you challenge to acknowledge others in challenging circumstances? Try this reflection exercise from the Brainview Training Institute.
For a deeper dive on how to cultivate the habit of acknowledging others, check out this blog post by Margo Anderson.
Have a GREAT week!