The power of acknowledgement

What a year it has been. So many challenges for so many people in so many places in so many ways. Australia particularly has faced floods, fires, drought and then the physical, emotional practical and financial challenges of the pandemic.

So what's the good news?

One good thing is that if you are reading this then you have made it this far. And that is something to acknowledge.

Acknowledgement is such a powerful thing, when we apply it with ourselves, with others, and with the greater community. It has so many immediate benefits and offers long term gains as well.

Let's break it down and firstly look at how self-acknowledgement helps us.

When delivering educator professional development sessions, we often ask questions like 'What are 10 things you are proud of yourself about right now? What qualities do you like about yourself, or what achievements do you feel good about, or what are your strengths or talents?' When these questions are posed, there is always at least one educator sitting there not able to think of ONE thing that they can say that's positive about themselves.

Guaranteed if the question was, 'What would you like to change or improve?' there would be pens on paper filling up the list.

That's our reliable 'negativity bias' at work. Always ready to list what ISN'T working, or what ISN'T good enough. Teflon for the good and velcro for the bad as Dr. Rick Hanson says. And unfortunately it is damaging for ourselves as well as others and our communities.

We can get so used to being critical of ourselves that it can feel very difficult to put the positive focus on ourselves. And when we're hard on ourselves, it's easy to look at others just as critically.

The truth is that we ALL want to feel heard, seen, understood, so when we acknowledge or validate we are fulfilling a basic human need we all share.

When we do learn to practice self acknowledgement and acknowledgement of others, the benefits are many:

  • As soon as we shift our focus from what we think is missing to how we can support ourselves or others, it gives an IMMEDIATE mood shift - a fantastic way to CHANGE CHANNELS!

  • It immediately taps us into feelings of compassion, appreciation, self-love, and gratitude.

  • We are flooded with 'feel good' hormones.

  • As we practice we are rewiring our brains so that our negativity default can slowly be interrupted with positive habits.

  • Acknowledging our strengths allows us to build on those strengths and qualities, and most importantly our self esteem and confidence.

  • Acknowledging others builds connections and relationships.

  • We become kinder and more loving to self and others - what a feeling of relief!

  • Overall we are boosting our mental health and boosting our resilience.

There are so many ways you can build your acknowledgement muscle, and none of them have to cost money! Here are some ideas:

  • Say thank you more often - to workmates, friends, the person in the supermarket. Look them in the eye and mean it and you will both feel good.

  • Be specific with your acknowledgement. The more specific you can be the more