Compliment vs Acknowledgement
“A compliment notices the outside; acknowledgment notices the inside.“~ Jody Pogorzelski
A compliment, oftentimes, is noticing something that someone is wearing on the outside, whether it’s a cool pair of shoes, a smile, a new hairstyle, whatever….
Acknowledgment, on the other hand, is more of an inside job. It’s noticing someone’s insides. What I mean by that is being able to see where they’re coming from. It could also mean having an empathetic response of knowing or having experience in how they feel. It could simply be listening to what they have to say, and maybe even understanding it, or at least doing your best to do so.
Some examples of a compliment might be:
- Wow, I love your shoes.
- Your smile lights up the room.
- I love what you’ve done with your hair.
Compliments, while I think are helpful, can be very surface level. It’s a great way to offer a small acknowledgment to someone that you might not know that well or just something quick to perk up a friend when you know they need it.
Acknowledgment, takes on a deeper level. It lets someone know that you see beyond their surface. More times than not, it is our underworkings that seem to go unnoticed.
Sometimes, we want our words to be heard. We want other people to understand how we feel. We might even want someone else to see the struggles that we face and the real person that hides beneath the cool shoes, the smile, or the great hair. To be accepted, liked, or even loved for who you really are, can make a big difference in someone’s world. Even if it’s just a small piece of you that’s been acknowledged.
To show someone you acknowledge them takes one of these 3 things:
- I see you
- I hear you
- I feel you
It’s not just about saying these things, it’s about doing these things. If you’re going to tell someone I see you, let them know what it is that you see in them.
- I see that you’re hurting.
- I see how hard you’re trying.
- I see how strong you are.
- I see how you just keep showing up.
When you hear someone say I hear you, what they’re meaning is that I’m listening to you. They are taking the time to acknowledge what they’ve heard and repeating it back, so that you know that they understand you. Or that they’re trying to get clarity so that they can understand you. And even if they don’t necessarily understand where you’re coming from, at least you know that they respect you and want to try to understand, even if they can’t. After all, we all have different points of view and not everyone is going to agree with or understand where we’re coming from. But if they respect where we’re coming from that at least gives us some kind of acknowledgment.
Some phrases to help someone know they’ve been heard, might be:
- While I don’t necessarily agree with what you’re saying, I can certainly understand where you’re coming from.
- Here’s what I heard you say _______. Am I hearing you correctly?
- Please explain to me what you mean by that so that I can understand you better.
When someone says I feel you, it lets you know that they’ve been where you’ve been. It tells you that maybe they understand the struggles that you’re going through, that maybe they’ve had the same struggles, or they know someone else who said the same struggles. Even if they haven’t been through the same thing you’ve been through, they have an emotional body that allows them to connect with you and maybe imagine what it might feel like so you don’t feel so alone in your feelings.
Here are some ways to show someone that their feelings matter:
- I’ve been where you’ve been, I know what that feels like.
- I can only imagine how hard that must be for you.
- It’s OK to cry, or scream, or shout. I do it too.
- Your feelings are valid.
Allowing someone to feel seen, heard, felt, and even loved can make a world of difference in someone’s life. While compliments are cool, acknowledgment can take a person much farther.
- What can you do to acknowledge someone you know or love today?
- How can you help a coworker, the person struggling behind the busy service counter, or a friend on the phone feel seen?
- Who have you not been hearing lately?
It only takes a minute or two to let someone know they matter.
Acknowledging and appreciating you,
~ Jody Pogo :o)
The information shared in this blog is based on the writer’s own knowledge, research, and life experiences of the topic. It may or may not resonate or match with your own ideas or beliefs. Either is ok. All that is asked is that you respect the information shared, regardless. Any strong, blatant, opinion-based comments for the sole purpose of creating drama will be removed. If you do not like the content here, feel free to scroll on by. This is a forum for creating conversation, learning, and inspiring positive growth and/or change. To those who enjoy this content, thank you. You are the reason for this blog.