Communication-Skills Tutorial for Vets
Dictionary definition:1. a. To admit the existence, reality, or truth of. b. To recognize as being valid or having force or power. 2. a. To express recognition of: acknowledge a friend's smile. b. To express thanks or gratitude for. 3. To report the receipt of. 4.To accept or certify as legally binding: acknowledge a deed.
Synonyms: acknowledge, admit, own, avow, confess, concede. These verbs mean to make a disclosure, usually with reluctance or under pressure. To "acknowledge" is to accept responsibility for something one makes known: He acknowledged that the purchase had been a mistake. "Admit" usually implies marked reluctance in acknowledging one's acts or accepting a different point of view: "There are some faults which men readily admit, but others not so readily" (Epictetus). "Own" stresses personal acceptance of and responsibility for one's thoughts or deeds: She owned that she had fears for the child's safety. "Avow," a strong term, means to assert openly and boldly: "Many a man thinks, what he is ashamed to avow" (Samuel Johnson). "Confess" usually emphasizes disclosure of something damaging or inconvenient to oneself: I have to confess that I lied to you. To "concede" is to admit something, such as the validity of an argument, often against one's will: The lawyer refused to concede that the two cases were at all similar.
As pertains to interpersonal/intrapersonal communication: An acknowledgment (a.k.a. an ack) is any verbal, non-verbal, psychic, or physical communication with self, or another, that affirms a result, a situation, a condition or an experience. i.e. I want you to know that I, or you, or we, produced a result.
An ack is usually an observation, a judgment, an evaluation, or an experience.
"That didn't feel good." or, "That felt good."
"I got that I'm late." or, "You're late."
or, "Your breath smells."
"This sucks." or, "It hurts."
"I'm uncomfortable." or, "I'm nervous."
"Apologies." This is different than "I
apologize" or "I'm sorry." It communicates that I don't feel
good about our interaction, what I did and what you did.
I'd like to hear that you feel badly also, that you're aware of
what we co-created.
An acknowledgment can be conscious or unconscious: One can be unaware that they are acknowledging themselves or another non-verbally (such as shunning/thwarting another or, socially-acceptably slowly destroying one's self via drugs or gluttony). Or, if when you drop something you mutter to yourself, "Nice going klutz" (this affirmation anchors/affirms your klutziness).
Some examples of acknowledgments:
Verbal acknowledgment: I did well, or poorly. You did well, or poorly. That doesn't
feel good. I feel bad, good, etc.. You look sad. I
want to be acknowledged for doing _____, or, for not
doing ____. I get that I did that, etc. I lied to you. I
cheated on . . . I get that I was abusive. To a grumpy store
clerk; "It looks like you're having a tough day." —this
usually wakes up the clerk and engages them in small-talk.
Non-verbal acknowledgment: There's
something that's bothering me about our relationship and so
I avoid you as much as possible. Or, I'm uncomfortable or
embarrassed in your presence and I don't know what to do. I
admire you and I'm embarrassed to tell you verbally so I'm
stuck. Also, non-verbal irresponsible blaming-make-wrong of
ones parents, [I'll show you, I'll fail in life and
relationships; I refuse to succeed, I don't want you to
think you did good job]. The mind will damage or even kill itself to be
right so as to make another
Acknowledgment of self: As in, mistreating ones body through unhealthy eating, smoking, drinking, cutting, becoming homeless, etc. In other words, if I damage myself enough it might get someone's attention (this is referred to as a setup). Or, I acknowledge* that I do not recall ever applying myself in high school. I don't recall studying something because I wanted to learn more about it. I acknowledge that I approached studying with the idea in mind to do as little as possible. I never experienced being comfortable with anyone during high school, I left the community without saying goodbye to anyone.
Unacknowledged: Most everyone is dragging
around childhood perpetrations and good deeds for which
they have not been acknowledged. An unacknowledged person
is not whole and complete; they have not acknowledged
(admitted) to themself specific (usually childhood)
incidents (incompletes) that affect them and others to this very day;
the mind "forgets" the biggies, those that were
turning-point "forks in the road."
* The words, "I acknowledge" are not necessary, however, they do create a context for the listener; it sometimes reminds them to put on their "getting it" cap and to do nothing (if possible) with what follows. "If possible" meaning, that for some it's simply not possible to just "get" (be with) another's communication—especially if it's a blame or make-wrong or, if it's prefaced with a lie such as, "You always . . ." or, "You never . . ."
Here's an example of getting and not getting: