Today I’m grateful for the gifts of acknowledgment. Being acknowledged is so vital to our health. From the little things to the more substantial, being seen and heard is healing, fulfilling, completing and restoring. While my sense of self isn’t based or dependent on others, existing in a vacuum is possibly one of the most difficult human conditions.

This is relative of course and there are degrees of difficulty. Recently it has been asked how significant global warming is to someone who can’t feed themselves. I acknowledge the reality of that. This person’s primary objective is to secure food. Yet bringing visibility to their plight, having the world say, “we know about you” betters their condition, comforts their heart and eases their mind. (By the way, decreasing global warming is one way to restore the conditions needed for the fecundity of crops and availability of water. The disenfranchised are the worse off when it comes to climate change.)

The difference is dropping food rations from the air in an impersonal way, compared to sitting with people, hearing their story, meeting their family and having them see the “face” of help and concern.

No matter the circumstances, acknowledgment is a powerful form of love. Be generous in your big or small acknowledgment of family, partners, friends, neighbors, colleagues, coworkers, and even when interacting with strangers.

Sometimes acknowledgment is an act of bravery. It requires one to go against the tide, to stand up for or admit something. Unless there are people willing to take such a risk, individuals, families, nations and the world continues to suffer. Acknowledgment is a powerful change agent.

When we see and hear others, we see and hear ourself. Our stories unite and each becomes enriched. We realize we share humanity and this leads to understanding, which fosters compassion. Acknowledgment is a mirror that eliminates “other.”

Acknowledgment is a way of knowing, not merely a nod or a tip of your hat. It’s connective. It weaves a fabric of knowing which holds and cradles us. It’s a form of selflessness that leaves our individuality intact. Essential life information and meaning are imparted to us when we see and hear others. Our sense of self deepens and expands because acknowledgment jumps over divisions of economic status, race, language, culture, and belief. It even reaches across species.

And there the vacuum fills itself, the isolation ends.

Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.

ā€” Rainer Maria Rilke


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Gifts of Acknowledgment

2 thoughts on “Gifts of Acknowledgment

  • 11/02/2007 at 10:06 PM
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    Very thought-provoking, Pamir. Took me the whole week to ponder this, in fact, I need to ponder some more. I especially love the quote and what you said about acknowledgement even reaching across species. True!

    Here’s what you triggered in me most with your post (& I know I am turning it inwards at this point, before focusing outwards … but you can only hold out your hands cupped with life to others if your well is filled within yourself):

    Could it be that I am not the only one sometimes feeling myself to be in a complete vacuum? That this is a basic condition of being human? And that therefore, the need to be acknowledged, is also a basic condition of being human?

    I have so far fought both these conditions in myself. Perhaps it is time to simply … well … accept that I am human, after all.

  • 11/03/2007 at 1:48 PM
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    Yes Pippa, you’re not the only one who feels in a vacuum, in general or cyclically. Can’t really say it’s a basic condition of being human as that would destroy hope. It’s common but not a basic condition. We do have a need for connection & community.

    Acknowledgment is super healing for those that are in a vacuum obviously, but it’s also very healing for those that feel connected. To be validated & appreciated is good for everyone!

    Not being seen & heard is certainly difficult & feels yucky. Humans are an obvious source of acceptance & rejection. Yet we can be acknowledged by the Divine too. Once we can grow to that, all else pales in comparison & there’s no more fight.

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