The Power of Acknowledgement

"The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” 
- William James, Physician, Psychologist, Philosopher
“When you stayed calm during the chaos in the office this week, I noticed everyone else calmed down too.  I really appreciate your ability to be centered and present.”     
“When you listened deeply to Debra’s needs during our team meeting, the meeting really turned around.  I’m inspired to be a better listener.  Thank you!”
"I appreciate you following through on your part of our project so quickly.  It  inspires me to 'get moving.'  Thank you for being so reliable."

Healers in all major traditions understand that love is the most potent healing and transformational force available to all human beings.   Acknowledgement is one of the five arms of love, along with gratitude, appreciation, recognition, and acceptance.1

Acknowledgment is just as powerful for the giver as the receiver because it activates the release of oxytocin in the brain.  Oxytocin is the neurochemical that creates the felt sense of safety, calm, and trust.  This happens in both the person giving the acknowledgment and the person receiving it.  

When the expression of appreciation is sincere and specific, our hearts open and soften. We connect in authentic ways beyond roles or titles.  The person receiving appreciation often feels cherished and valued rather than taken for granted. 2

Positive emotions resulting from acknowledgment multiply and grow in work groups not simply because smiles are contagious, but because positive emotions stem from—and create—meaningful interpersonal encounters.  

Individuals function at higher levels.  And so do organizations.  They have lower employee turnover, higher customer loyalty, and more profitable outcomes.3   Teams that use acknowledgment are more productive, have more fun, and are more receptive to each other’s ideas.4

"God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. 
Have you used one today to say 'thank you'?"  
 - William A. Ward

Practices

1.  Offer Appreciation to yourself on a daily basis.  Self-appreciation is the basis of self-respect, self-love, happiness, and well-being.

2.  Look for ways of offering Appreciation tocolleagues, patients, and families each day.   Be sincere and specific.  We acknowledge each other in 4 ways: for skills, the impact we make on each other, character qualities, and appearance. 

3.  Discuss the topic of Acknowledgment during your team meetings.  Culture change increases exponentially when we discuss with others what's important and what we are learning.

Resources

  1. The Four Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer and   Visionary by Angeles Arrien
  2. Focus on the Good Stuff: The Power of Appreciation by Mike Robbins
  3. The Psychology of Gratitude by Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough
  4. Living in Gratitude by Angeles Arrien