Central PA's LGBT News Source
By Dr. Terry Drew Kaaren
Have you notice how many requests you’re getting for donations or financial aid via email and letters to your home? Two major hurricanes, wild fires, worldwide poverty, and human rights violations are only a few of the reasons. So what can we do?
Whether we say that “actions speak louder than words” or “what you appear to be is so loud it drowns out what you’re saying,” the meaning is the same. If we want to affectively talk the talk we also have to walk the walk.
Part of this situation is the difference between recognition and acknowledgment. Understanding the difference is crucial not only in responding to the need of others, but it also applies to affecting change in our own lives.
We have Eugene Holden to thank for this differentiation. In his article, “Surrender to Your Greatest Good in Five Steps,” published in the April 2016 issue of Guide for Spiritual Living: Science of Mind® magazine, he makes the distinction in this way:
Recognition and acknowledgement are not the same. For example, I can recognize someone across the room and not acknowledge them.
That simple example hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks when I first read it. I ended up stopping, re-reading it, thinking about it, and re-reading it again. The effect has stuck with me for some time.
How often do we recognize a situation and not acknowledge it? We see the homeless person, but we refuse to make eye contact. We notice yet another email from a non-profit organization and may delete it without even a glance. We see the clutter in our home, the way our clothes need updating, or recognize all-too-well that the reflection in the mirror is not what we desire to see.
Yet we are not really acknowledging it. Why won’t we acknowledge it?
Because acknowledgment means that acting may, and most likely is, required of us as a result of our acknowledgment. In other words, we don’t want to deal with it. So while we recognize it, we don’t take it to the next step of acknowledgment. Why?
Fear that we can’t handle it; anger that we’ll have to deal with it eventually whether we want to or not; or, perhaps we don’t want to take action at all, but feel guilty about that.
One word: DRAMA!
I’m seeing how this discussion could easily become a series of blogs, but for now let’s close on this idea. How about starting to be aware of the next time we recognize something in our path that shows up. Will we acknowledge it and deal with it? Or, put it aside … again?
As with all things, the choice is ours.
Terry is an author, speaker, licensed social worker and flight attendant. He is also the director of Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation (spiritmindbodyfoundation.org).