I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of acknowledgment, and how it makes us feel when we’ve been acknowledged by others and when we acknowledge ourselves. The meaning I’ll be using here is, “The action of showing that one has noticed someone or something.” I’m also not talking about the acknowledgment in, for example, having a stadium named after you, although that is pretty amazing. I’m referring to the tiny moments every day, the tiny miraculous way you do you, day in and day out.
I rarely used this term prior to becoming a coach, but it is something infused in every client session and most moments with friends. When done consistently, it helps a client better understand themselves and shift into a more positive mindset. Being seen and held with simple words of acknowledgment can move personal mountains. This can be anything from a smile and a nod to more detailed compliments. Some examples are as follows: I see the work you’re doing here, and I’m so proud of you. Thank you for taking the time to help me with this, it really made my life easier. You seem to be handling stressful situations with so much grace, what’s your secret? You’ve done so much today, let’s take a break!
And yes, all of these can and should be said to ourselves as often as possible. One of my absolute favorites that I’ve been turning to frequently: old you would’ve done it a different way, I’m so proud of the you of today! Looking at how the you of two years ago would’ve handled something in comparison to the you of today is a great way to measure your growth and progress.
What triggered my extra awareness in this is lately I’ve been feeling anger towards my mom. If you’re a loyal reader of this column, you may remember that I’ve been home helping her purge the house I grew up in. We’ve been spending a LOT of time together, and this has made me realize that she is horrible at acknowledging others and has likely been this way my entire life. It’s much more layered and complicated than this, but her inability to do this seemingly simple act has the effect of making me feel less than, invisible, unimportant, unloved, unappreciated, the list goes on. The saddest part of this is that if she’s unable to acknowledge her only child, she most definitely doesn’t acknowledge herself.
When was the last time you felt acknowledged? When was the last time you acknowledged you? Did you notice a change in how you felt once you received that acknowledgment? Let me know.
Email Nicole Beaudin at firstname.lastname@example.org.