- For what about your military service have you not been acknowledged?
About your military service, what haven't you been acknowledged?
Many civilians, upon hearing that one is a veteran, will say, "Thank you for your service." Most vets, myself included, have heard this polite well-meant phrase so many times that it has become "words" rather than a valuable experiential pot-like high, a validating communication. Seldom is such an acknowledgment communicated (fully delivered, fully gotten, completely experienced)1. At some level the exchange is a bit uncomfortable for both. The acknowledger is also non-verbally communicating, "I'm assuming that you have been thanked for your service; I'm thanking you now because it's my knee-jerk reaction when coming face-to-face with a veteran. My 'thank you' is but a token of the respect and appreciation I have [or should have] for you and your service. I know that no words can fully acknowledge you."
Few vets and civilians know that there are unacknowledged incompletes2 floating around in the mind (the collective mind between the civilian and the vet). Incompletes serve as barriers to the experience of communication (of delivering or getting a "Thank you for your service".)
What most civilians don't know is that few vets can truly experience the "Thank you for your service" acknowledgment. As a vet hears the words the vet's computer-like mind automatically, instantaneously (without the vet even being aware of what's happening) recalls not only the good things but also the "bad" things he/she did or condoned with silence; the trash-talking, the mistakes, the hidden accidents, the deceits, the abuses, the racist/sexist thoughts/remarks, the wastes, the lies, the perpetrations, the cons and scams it (the mind) ran, especially the unnecessary deaths and inefficiencies of the military—all these things for which they have yet to be acknowledged. The mind is saying to itself, "Yah, but . . ." or, "If you only knew . . ." and to quote the poignant line from the movie Schindler's List, "I could have done so much better."
Keep in mind that underneath the unacknowledged "bad" things are the innumerable written, verbal, and implied agreements, rules and orders obeyed, the tasks that all vets accomplish to a very high standard simply by having honorably served one's country. What most don't know is that vets are communicating these incompletes (unacknowledged good and "bad" deeds) non-verbally, daily; friends and family don't know what's wrong, just that something is missing/added in their relationship with you.
Unacknowledged guilt affects one's aura. Usually what's missing is happiness and joy. Conversely, a vet notices your inability to look them in the eyes for longer than a glance so as to be with them (try being with anyone and you'll see what I mean). In other words, civilians too are dragging around their own baggage, their own set of incompletes, into all interactions; incompletes serve as barriers to the experience of being, of communication. It is in fact abusive to submit another to your "being act" —it dooms them to a life of mediocrity with little or no joy in their relationship with you. Communication (specifically clearings)2 always result in a sense of satisfaction, of completeness, of well-being—there are no exceptions to this phenomenon. Keep in mind, we only learn about communication in schools and universities, none teach you, to any skill level, how to communicate, how to deliver and experience an acknowledgement—ergo 50% of marriages fail.
- BTW: One reason 42% of Hawaii's parolees become recidivists (repeatedly returning to prison) is because they have not been acknowledged3 for all of their other perpetrations, the ones committed prior to the one for which they were incarcerated—the perpetrations, even during incarceration, for which they have not been caught. As with vets, a parolee's integrity simply won't let them win in life (achieve and sustain the experience of love, happiness, health, and prosperity) until they clean up (acknowledge) their past, their karma. And yes, everything (even a punishable perpetration), can be totally cleaned up, via clearings (written or verbal acknowledgment processes), so that the past no longer negatively affects present-day intentions.
For communication to take place between you and a vet you must know how to create space. As the acknowledger you must empty the vet's mind (as when clearing children at bedtime)4 of thoughts, incompletes, that serve as barriers to getting everything for which it (the mind) needs to be acknowledged so as to be in-integrity.5
For example: When someone attempts to acknowledge a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor (MOH), the country's highest award for bravery, the recipient's mind might contain thoughts such as (again, unbeknownst to itself), "Yah but . . .". This can be misinterpreted as false modesty. The vet could still be trying to find someone who will "get" them without a trace of invalidation; someone who will simply get what happened, and why they (the vet) still have thoughts that they don't deserve the medal. For most MOH recipients inappropriate, inaccurate, acknowledgment is a life-long uncomfortable experience. A genuine honor is deserved; it's a what's so. A deserved recipient comfortably "gets" the acknowledgment (usually non-verbally), "Yes, I did that. Thank you." or, "Yes, I was in fact brave, thank you for reminding me." or, "Thank you. For me it wasn't a conscious brave choice; it was a knee-jerk reaction to a situation needing handling." Presenters and acknowledgers of the medal are preoccupied with justifying their own thoughts rather than getting (absolutely recreating) the recipient's experiences and thoughts.
- Tip: When you notice that your acknowledgment triggers uncomfortableness you could ask, "I notice you appear to be uncomfortable. Would you care to share what that's about?" And then, remain absolutely silent, to the point where the silence is uncomfortable; your silence gives the vet time to see what thought comes up.
Continuing the example: A MOH recipient might reply, "I don't feel as though I deserve the MOH. I was just doing my job." Instead of "getting" the recipient's considerations the acknowledger most always replies, "Oh no. You do deserve the medal." This well-meant statement invalidates the MOH recipient's thoughts; it is in fact a make-wrong. There are of course MOH recipients who know, with certainty, that they do in fact deserve the medal. They reply with a clear clean, "Thank you" without any embarrassment or non-verbal considerations or "buts." Often the vet follows up the acknowledgment with, "And thank you for your support. It was truly remarkable." In other words, the recipient is able to be there for the acknowledger, to create space for the acknowledger to be complete, to be reminded that the medal represents everyone's part. Keep in mind that every veteran has one or more things for which they have not been acknowledged; if you don't get it they will continue to live (for life) with the thought that no one has gotten.
Inappropriate/incomplete/missing acknowledgment most always guarantees that the recipient will never ever do anything as commendable for the rest of his/her life; they unconsciously coast on their laurels. For life they are known as the guy with the MOH instead of the guy down the street. Conversely, the absence of appropriate acknowledgment often causes a vet to never accomplish anything as great as they once did.
For example: It's rare for veterans to be serving in our public schools or on school boards where their leadership is most needed. Instead, to get a "fix," a little feel-good acknowledgment, many vets attend self-aggrandizing reunions minus their once proud 6-pack abs; they wear hats and shirts that remind each other of how great they once were. All are incomplete. None have been completely acknowledged. Medals and commendations? Yes. Verbal acknowledgement delivered to the veteran's Self? No. Therefore, the need to find anyone who will truly validate them. The curriculum for leadership-communication mastery, for being an effective leader, is usually discontinued upon discharge. Few vets are ever again as effective as they once were in the military. Inappropriate acknowledgment generates mediocrity.6 Hanging around family and community members addicted to mediocrity drives many vets to alcohol/drugs. i.e. [This is what I fought for?]
Here's an example of a perfect acknowledgement and its affects.
Here's a Clearing Process for Couples.
Here's a short story about acknowledgment.
There's a lot more about this subject: I'll conclude now with what I believe to be an appropriate conversation-generating acknowledgment, one that will trigger thoughts about things for which a vet has not been acknowledged.
- Ask a veteran: "About your service to our country, for what would you like to be acknowledged?" or, "Tell me something about your military service for which you have not been acknowledged—either good or bad."
1 "fully delivered" —for another to get your communication of appreciation, respect, and admiration, it must be delivered with intention. If you automatically have compassion for everyone then your acknowledgement will be experienced; on the other hand, if you have significant withholds in your significant-other or familial-relationships, then your incompletes, your out-integrities, will serve as a barrier to communicating with the vet. He'll hear the words but could assume from experience that you're as unconscious as he is—that you haven't a clue about acknowledgment or, what happens in war.
3 recidivists have not been acknowledged
4 Clearing children at bedtime
In conclusion: When you acknowledge a vet who is clear about acknowledgment they will typically follow up your acknowledgment with something similar to, "Thank you. And, thank you for your support—it was greatly appreciated and truly impressive—it empowered us to do our job." In other words, a vet, like a conscious quarterback, knows that he is only perceived as being the leader because his equally talented courageous team members support him.
Last edited 11/9/17