S:0414 Distinction: Acknowledge vs. Approve

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


When you acknowledge someone you re stating something about them that is core to who they are. For instance, you may acknowledge a person s boisterous enthusiasm, even though you may not admire the trait. Sensing its importance to them, you acknowledge it. If it is not core to them, there is nothing to acknowledge.

It requires an awareness and sensitivity to recognize a person s core attributes, particularly if they can t see them.

When you approve of someone there is an additional energy. There is an implied judging. To go through life approving and disapproving, giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, is a tiring and ultimately unsatisfying way to live. When you approve of someone you increase your sense of separateness.

When you acknowledge someone there is an absence of being judgmental. You get to have a shared experience of them, which lessens separateness.


Copyright 2003 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.