The Gift of Acknowledgement


One of the simplest, most powerful things we can do in our everyday human interactions, is to acknowledge another person. To see them, to give them the gift of empowerment. Costs you nothing, but can be absolutely transformative for that person. It’s the stellar opposite of that old stand by – judgement, criticism, disapproval. A spiritual activist looks for ways to encourage, to cajole the best of another, to add fuel to their spark, to light their fire by truly seeing them, seeing their gifts, seeing what special something they might have to offer the world, and celebrating that.

In her classic book, ‘The Possible Human’ Jean Houston writes, “The greatest human potential is the potential of each one of us to empower and acknowledge the other. To be acknowledged by another, especially during times of confusion, loss, disorientation, disheartenment, is to be given time and place in the sunshine, and is the solar stimulus for transformation. The process of helaing and growth is immensely quickened when the sun of another’s belief is freely given. This gift can be as simple as “Hot dog! Thou art!” Or it can be as total as “I know you. You are God in hiding.” Or it can be a look that goes straight to the soul and charges it with meaning.”

It’s something I do naturally, and take great pleasure in. In fact, I’m so happy whenever I see a chance to add some ecouragement, some honest acknowledgement, to somebody. It immediately raises energy, and you can see people light up so quickly. It’s not about false praise – that is actually counter productive. It’s not about stoking someone’s ego. And it doesn’t respond well to request – it’s actually hard to acknowledge someone when they are hungry for praise, or needy about it. It works best when sincere, spontaneous and heart felt. It means really seeing the people you encounter, stepping outside yourself, and connecting with who they are, what their special light is in this moment. Oftentimes we aren’t even aware of our own positive qualities, or in this society of epic self worth issues, we focus on our negative sides, and deny our own light. So when someone else steps in and says – hey, way to go! It can be immensely healing.

Much like gratitude can be a simple, but incredibly powerful, tool of transformation, so too can giving the gift of acknowledgement. It’s easy, fun, and free!



  1. Absolutely. Truman Capote wrote in one of his short stories, that it isn’t given to us to know those rare moments when people are wide open, and the slightest touch can wither or heal them. If at such a moment we receive someone’s genuine , unconditional acceptance, we gain an amazing power. Nothing can destroy us anymore. Contempt and indifference – the most devastating weapons of mass destruction for the psyche become powerless. And giving this kind of empowerment to someone is the greatest joy !

  2. It was F.Scott Fitzgerald, not Truman Capote, sorry, my mistake.

  3. Sorry, it was F.Scott Fitzgerald, not Truman Capote, my mistake :) Love’em both, by the way.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s