The reason I call this the Acknowledgement Project is that I am interested to see what it takes to create a world  where acknowledgement  is a natural form of self expression.  Imagine a life whereacknowledgement would be plentiful and not something  you would have to stop and try and remember when and if  you feel you were acknowledged fully. That you were acknowledged for what you brought/bring to the party, in a way that you were  left bigger and there was a world  that called you to step into.


Call it acknowledgement, honored, gratitude, appreciation, thanks, grace, value added, manipulation, a gift, art, beauty, it creates a world that has the acknowledgee has made a difference in the life of another, by contributing a particular expression of their being to the delight of the assembled masses.

Maybe they said thank you, maybe the cashier looked at you when they gave you your change, May be they listened to your question and answered that question. Maybe the BBQ sauce on the Burger was unlike any you’ve ever had before and made you want to get anything even leaves and twigs to sop up the last drops on your plate.

Maybe they said what you needed to hear to give you that boost to do something you had been afraid to do. Maybe it was a hug that protected you from the world or gave you the strength to go into the world. Maybe it was a smile.

It doesn’t matter. What I am interested in is what has you say something to acknowledgement them for the contribution to your life. Or what has you be silent and not speak?

When my friends got married in a Quaker type ceremony, they turned to the guests and asked if anyone would like to speak to the couple.  Most people spoke. I did not. I was afraid of not knowing what to say. I was afraid to speak in groups. I might say something stupid (well that is kind of a given. But in public?)  I was terrified that I might be seen as a fool. It was awful. I was haunted by my silence for a couple of days and finally talked to them.


I had no courage.


ORIGIN Middle English (denoting the heart, as the seat of feelings): from Old French corage, from Latin cor ‘heart.’





c.1300, from O.Fr. corage,  from V.L. *coraticum,  from L. cor  “heart,” which remains a common metaphor for inner strength. In M.E., used broadly for “what is in one’s mind or thoughts,” hence “bravery,” but also “wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness,” or any sort of inclination. Replaced O.E. ellen , which also meant “zeal, strength.”

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Cite This Source


Søren Kierkegaard opposed courage to angst, while Paul Tillich opposed an existential courage to be to non-being, fundamentally equating it with religion:

“Courage is the self-affirmation of being in spite of the fact of non-being. It is the act of the individual self in taking the anxiety of non-being upon itself by affirming itself … in the anxiety of guilt and condemnation. … every courage to be has openly or covertly a religious root. For religion is the state of being grasped by the power of being itself.”[5]


Ernest Hemingway famously defined courage as “grace under pressure.

Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it.” -Mark Twain


Or this insight from Winston Churchill:

Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities … because it is the quality that guarantees all others.



I’m real big on context these days and  when the context is large enough to include what would otherwise be stops, these stops become considerations and can become part of the cost of doing business.


When at the gore point, what will you do?


Cat got your tongue?

Got Courage?


If you’ve got a bit of a delight in getting  under someone elses skin, this is great. Cause as you speak to them they may be as uncomfortable as you. They may try to get away, or cut you off, change the subject, deflect the compliment. But you can stand your ground and keep going. Say everything. Look over there in their eyes and make sure they are letting it in. say everything. Move them.  Make’em cry. However there is a cost to play this game. The are requirements. You must be present to what moved you to speak. You must speak to their listening. You must be authentic, vulnerable and willing to be moved by  them and yourself. All this may backfire. You may be moved by them  and by who you become  when you acknowledge them.


On the final day of an 8 week program, coworkers, friends, family and other people important to the people in the program came and were acknowledged in front of  all the participants and their guests. When I thought I was done acknowledging my bosses wife, it was apparent that there was clearly something missing. There was not something wrong nor had I said the wrong thing, but she had not  heard that  thing she wanted to hear. As we stood there looking at each other, I saw what it was and said that,  and as the book says, “and it was good.”



Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *