Saturday, June 2, 2012

Not MAD..but WAD - Widespread Acknowledgement Deficiency

The heavens seem to be aligning at the moment to remind me how important it seems to be to us human beans (sic) to receive something really simple... Acknowledgement.

It's been the theme of my week. I wasn't going to blog about it because I think I now take it for granted that acknowledgement is part of our lifeblood, and if it is denied it can be so painful. I believe if withheld for long enough it can be crazy-making (a term I learnt from Patricia Evans... Or was it from an old article called "Charm Syndrome Man" by Sandra Horley?)

Anyhow, what prompted me to write about it was the last of three "acknowledgement events" in six days.

This last event was listening to a program on Radio National Australia about the Pinjarra Massacre of the Nyoongar people in Western Australia in which mounted troops slaughtered 21 indigenes in a raid. The offensive fact is that this massacre was written into history as a "battle", implying equally matched opposing parties. If anyone doubts the abusive power of words, this is a moving example. The program ends with a Nyoongar descendant talking about a forthcoming joint ceremony with the WA police  "its a real big deal that they are going to acknowledge it....first acknowledgement really"

 The other "events"?

 1. A young person I know who has been bullied in the workplace who said "I don't want the other person to suffer. I just want acknowledgement and an apology"

 2. Reluctance by a friend to acknowledge an inconvenience unwittingly imposed on others because there was no intention to inconvenience ( more about intentions and excuses in a future blog). Furthermore, the unforeseen hassles imposed didn't qualify as an 'error' therefore no apology was warranted. Further justification was that these sort of things happen all the time.. We shouldn't lead people to expect an apology because the real world out there is harsh so we do no favors to people by not preparing them for this.

 This just doesn't cut it for me and surely one could argue that this is the very reason we should model something different. Definitions of the word acknowledge predominantly describe "verbal recognition".

To acknowledge someone or something is far less demanding on the "empathy scale of difficulty" than appreciation, or even agreement.

How many times a week (or a day) are we invited (made?) to feel unacknowledged? What's up with that? What might be the effect of this?

Do you think that "low self esteem" or doppression might feed off the self questioning memes
"why wasn't that acknowledged?"   "did I just imagine that?"
How much of a leap is it from there to "am I mad?" and even "do I exist?"

 Maybe we need to start dispensing more acknowledgement and less Prozac?

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