You are so courageous!
No I’m not! If you only knew how scared I was!
Your impact was profound. 
Oh no. I just did what I always do.
You lead powerfully and with heart.
I’m not a leader!

Have you ever experienced those kinds of responses to acknowledgments you’ve offered? Have you ever been the one denying another’s experience of you? Think about it. When I give you a compliment or acknowledge you in some way and you don’t receive it, you are actually calling me a liar – denying my personal experience of you. Plus, you are not letting yourself receive the benefit of the message.

What is the purpose of an acknowledgment?
What holds us back from receiving acknowledgments?
What holds us back from giving them?

As human beings, most of us have a need to be seen. Some of us have been taught that humility means doing good work without a need for acknowledgment. “Do good but don’t let anyone see you. Don’t let your ego get the best of you.” Others flaunt their works and demand that they be noticed.

I’m offering you a place in the middle today, a place where the acknowledgment is sincere and speaks to the qualities in another which are being witnessed. When I say:

Your presence made a difference to me.
I appreciated your courage and honesty.

I am grounding in myself the learning, the shift that happened in me because of you. I am delighting in you. Imagine yourself really receiving those words, perhaps breathing in to let them settle, seeing yourself as I see you, and then responding:

Thank you.

Or even:

Thank you for saying so. Honesty is important to me.

By fully receiving this affirmation of who you are, you are more likely to value the honesty that is important to you and bring it ever more present in your life. And, having deeply witnessed you, I am more likely to see the value of courage and honesty and bring them more present in my life.

What are some reasons  we hold back from gifting others with acknowledgments?

  • There are so many things I think you should change about you. If I acknowledge you, you might not see your faults.
  • I am jealous of you and can’t bring myself to give you a compliment.
  • You never acknowledge me for anything so why would I?
  • I don’t know how to receive acknowledgments so I really don’t see their value. They make me uncomfortable.
  • I don’t know how.

Take a look at your relationship with acknowledgments. If you need practice receiving, remember to pause, breathe and say “Thank you.” If you don’t know how to give them, try this simple format:

When you …   I felt … You are …

When you helped me with my work after hours,
I felt relieved.
You are so generous.

As you grow your comfort level with both giving and receiving acknowledgments, notice self-worth and self-esteem growing in you and those around you.

What is the impact of acknowledging?
What if we all did a bit more giving and receiving of these messages?

What is YOUR wisdom?