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.

: 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.


Some examples:

"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." 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 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 wrong.

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.

Physical acknowledgment:
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."

Some examples:

) 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.)

) 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 all outcomes.

) 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, unconsciously been setting up life and relationships so as to restore your integrity. You've conned others into believing you are honest.

) 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.

: 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."

* 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:


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?"

Not getting: "You whaaat?? (judgment). Boy that was stupid! (make-wrong). Did you call the police? (condescension/helping)"


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, so 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 person 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.


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Last edited 10/15/17


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