I am indebted to Palmer Kelly who inspired this conversation.
To the degree you're dependent on, need, and expect others to
acknowledge you, acknowledgement is a hook.
Acknowledgement isn't merely the medals, the kudos, the
recognition, the thanks, the appreciation, and the congratulations
bestowed on us noticing and honoring our accomplishments. It's much
more than that. Without acknowledgement it's impossible to function in
the world. I mean that quite literally. If you don't, for example,
acknowledge the existence of doors, you walk into walls a lot.
People who don't acknowledge physical reality appear
appropriately banged up and bruised.
With regard to being hooked on acknowledgement ie expecting others to
acknowledge you, you know the feeling. You do something
great or you do something generous or you do
something brilliant or innovative or timely or immaculate
or impeccable. And nobody notices. Or says anything. Or nobody says
anything complimentary. No one thanks you or expresses
appreciation for what you do. No one registers your contribution. No
one brings a cake to celebrate your accomplishment. You feel
unappreciated, under-appreciated, slighted, ignored, neglected,
hurt, diminished, unimportant,
Notice what you make up at this point. Now is the moment
when a life-skewing decision is made. While it's
articulated in varying ways, the core expression is the same: "No one
appreciates me" or "I'm not loved" or "I'm not worth anything" which is
often followed by "I'll show them" or "I'll
prove to them ..." or even the more succinct "OK then $*
'em all!", all of which give rise to a distorted bent out of
shape way of being in the world.
In retrospect such decisions are mostly mistakes because
of what they end up costing in terms of aliveness, health,
vitality, and full Self expression. They impact
experiencing well being and wholeness and completion. In a word, they
keep you stuck. Fueled by righteousness they become
deadlypossibility killers which without access to
take years and years and years to isolate and uncover, let
alone unravel and disappear.
If it's not seen for what it is and given up, the bent out of
shape-ness continually and hopelessly looks for
missing acknowledgement out there in the world. The
success of an endeavor, the usefulness of a contribution, even a
can only be seen, gauged, and evaluated to the degree it's acknowledged
by others, by peers, by friends, and / or by family. Getting no
acknowledgement is regarded as a negative judgement, as a refusal to
sanction, as a criticism, as an invalidation of the
endeavor, of the project, and even of your whole way of being.
In the absence of acknowledgement in this scenario, the possibility of
well being and completion is a very faint wisp on the far horizon.
This is how expecting to be acknowledged by others puts
your well being and completion at risk ie at the mercy of
powers beyond your control. People don't withhold
acknowledgement in order to deprive you of a sense of well
being and completion. Really. When acknowledgement isn't forthcoming,
one factor is it can't be forthcoming as there's simply no
background to appreciate what you've done. Another is it's
not yet forthcoming as what you've done isn't yet known or
gotten. And still another is it'll never be forthcoming as
whatever it is you're doing simply isn't recognized by others and won't
ever be. It's
waiting in a state of hope, putting off experiencing well being
and completion until you're acknowledged and appreciated by others
which may never happen. And even if it does happen, it may not
happen adequately ie it may not happen enough for your
acknowledgement from others (as
may have said) is never enough.
Here's the bottom line:
this body of work, this
series of five hundred essays (and counting) inspired by the ideas of
Werner Erhard, would have died on the vine if I'd waited, wishing and
hoping, for others to acknowledge them, to tell me they're OK, to tell
me they're valuable, to tell me they
I know they're OK. I know they're valuable. I know they
In lieu of and especially prior toConversations For
being acknowledged by others, I acknowledge them and I acknowledge
myself. In other words I bake my own cake. This means whether
are acknowledged by others or not, they're already acknowledged.
This means whether and whenever I'm acknowledged by others or not,
I'm already acknowledged. I bake my cake and bring it to
celebrate the creation
is. I bake my cake and bring it to celebrate the creation my life is.
It's naïve, by the way, to dismiss this as
- really naïve. This is worlds apart from
This is a plain smart pragmatic way of
acknowledgement (and well being and completion) at the
start of creating something, rather than being hooked on
continually and hopelessly waiting for acknowledgement to come from
others as the result of it.