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
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
An ack is usually an observation, a judgment, an
evaluation, or an experience.
"That didn't feel good." or, "That
"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."
or, "I'm confused."
"I'm having an upset." or, "I'm not enjoying oral sex with you as
much as I did with a high school sweetheart."
"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
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
Cooking/cleaning/maintenance-chores to express love or appreciation.
Playing ball with your child. Hitting another. Dressing to
please. Sexual favors. Gifts.
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."
1) If a parent asked, "Did you brush your
teeth?" and you lied, and you have yet to verbally
acknowledge the lie to yourself, the parent, or anyone,
then that perpetration is unacknowledged; it remains an
incomplete. The word verbally is a reminder that
you have been non-verbally dramatizing your incompletes to
everyone; it's an aura communication (i.e. you look
somewhat untrustworthy, slightly sneaky, not as loving or wholesome
looking as you were before your first lie (If you recall, sleep that night
was not as sound.)
2) If you told a parent that you were going to the library
(which you did—but only as the place to hook up with a
date) and, you have yet to verbally share that deception
with the parent, or anyone else, then that perpetration is
unacknowledged. You have been dragging that deception into
each and every interaction for your entire life, affecting
3) If you reminded a cashier
that they gave you too much change and the clerk said the
words (but didn't communicate) "Thank you" then you have yet to be completely
experientially acknowledged by anyone for that honesty. If
you frequently think kind thoughts and you have not asked
anyone to acknowledge you for being the kind loving
person you are most of the time, or if no one else has ever
acknowledged you for those thoughts and deeds, then you are
walking around unacknowledged and incomplete.
If, while serving in the military, your leader told you to
clean your weapon and you did a half-ass job and you have
not acknowledged to yourself or anyone that you were
deceptive, then you have been dragging that incomplete,
into each and every interaction since then.
If you were deceptive on a Job Application Form and you haven't
been acknowledged (caught), then you have, since then,
setting up life and relationships so as to restore
your integrity. You've conned others into believing you are
6) If as a teen you conned a date
into deceiving both sets of parents so as to have sex,
all the while presenting yourself as an honest ethical
person, then you are walking around unacknowledged—no
one knows the real you. Note: Participants in a
weekend-long Advanced Communication-Skills Workshop for
Leaders spend several hours recalling, experiencing, and
verbally communicating life's incompletes; after the
Acknowledgment Process everyone is lighter and more loving. i.e. "I felt
as though I was floating; it felt so good."
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: If you
shared with me that you ran over someone I would reply, assuming
I was conscious at the moment, "Thanks,
I got that. Anything else about that?"
(judgment). Boy that was stupid! (make-wrong). Did you call the
Here's an example of the power of an acknowledgment, of
being completely acknowledged:
Picture if you will, sitting in your kitchen
and suddenly the room brightens with warm
white light and there appears a beautiful androgynous being dressed,
as you might have it, in
glowing white robes. Something about Him/Her is so compelling,
soothing and loving that you instantly know that It is your
God personified. To confirm your realization they say, "Hi Kerry.
Yes, I'm a physical representation of your God. I dropped by to let you know that I'm completely satisfied
with you; you needed to have done everything so
as to get this acknowledgment. I couldn't be more pleased. I love
you absolutely. Gotta go. Keep up the great work. Aloha." You'd
collapse into a chair, overwhelmed with tears of joy, and bathe yourself in the euphoria of the
validating acknowledgment. WOW! However, within minutes your mind would start
to question what happened. Perhaps it was a figment of your
imagination or too much pakalolo? However, something happened;
real or imagined
the experience was in
fact transformational. You'd know that you're not the same
you were a few minutes earlier and, that nothing would ever be
the same again. Such is the power of being completely (totally)
inarguably acknowledged. The experience is similar to when you
were a child (prior to your first unacknowledged lie) being tucked into bed and kissed on the forehead;
all's well, you are whole and complete—it's giggly joyous love. (read
The Clearing Process for a Parent and
a Young Person/Teen).
Here's another example of
the power of acknowledgment.