The Power of Acknowledgement

Forewarning: this is an oddly philosophical, floaty post. And, it has little to do with my currently plateau-ed weight loss journey. You have been warned ūüôā

You know that feeling you get when someone simply acknowledges your presence? Maybe it’s a stranger in a coffee shop who gives you a smile and a nod, or maybe it’s a friend who greets you after a long time apart. Maybe the act doesn’t even come from a human: I’ve seen dementia temporarily¬†cured and muteness lifted for a little while by the simple act of acknowledgement from a little dog in a nursing home ward. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself: when I am acknowledged, it feels like a nod to my existence. I feel like I am worthy, right then,¬†to be in the right place at the right time for whatever is right for that moment. The act of acknowledging and being acknowledged is a¬†profound and important one; at least, it’s that way for me.

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There was a time when I didn’t really feel I was worthy of being seen or acknowledged. I desperately wanted to be seen; but, I also wanted to be invisible. Self hatred and reliance on external sources to provide meaning to your life and definition to your sense of “self” will do that to you. This time in my life is in the past, and it is not where I am¬†anymore; nevertheless, it’s something I’ve been reminded of lately — the power of acknowledgement.

This week, I have found myself genuinely touched by moments when someone else acknowledges me…when they see me and take a moment to¬†say hello, smile, share a laugh, like a Facebook post, really any little thing. And, I have felt compelled to acknowledge others more — not just people I know, but also the people I encounter wherever I am in the moment. It’s important to know and make known when someone is seen because there are many people out there who feel invisible. Choosing to see someone in any given moment could, for all you know, give them a breath to get through the next moment. Even a simple act of connection can remind someone “you exist; I see you,” and I believe¬†that is an important message to send to those around you.

There’s little point to this post except to encourage you to make eye contact with someone today. Acknowledge someone. See someone you might not typically notice. Let’s all remind one another that we exist and are worthy to do so.

Learning to Be Me

This blog post isn’t really just about weight loss; it’s about me — all of me — and I sure as heck am a lot more than just my weight.

It has come to my attention that I have absolutely no idea how to “just be.”¬†I am always¬†doing something. I am always¬†going¬†somewhere. The concept of¬†being … well, that’s a lot harder for me to grasp.

When I first began my weight loss, self love, get-out-of-depression journey a few years ago, I realized that I had no idea who I was. My identity comprised other peoples’ opinions (real or self-perceived) of me, numbers on a scale, societal definitions, expectations from external sources, a whole heck of a lot of self hatred — I could go on. My point is — I didn’t really know who I was. The essential¬†Me. I didn’t know what made me tick, what I loved, what got me out of bed in the morning, what would make my heart race, what could make me split into a grin, what might make me cry… I didn’t know myself at all.

So, I decided to try and get to know myself; and, I started with 2 things that I did know:

I¬†knew that I wanted to lose weight¬†— I joined weight watchers.

I¬†knew that horseback riding was something I loved in my childhood — I started taking horseback riding lessons.

As I have gotten to know myself, I have started to do more and more:

I know I love cats and have a passion for rescue — I started fostering cats and volunteering at events/doing adoption interviews.

I know I love baking — I started baking cakes for all occasions.

I know I love God — I joined a church.

I know I love to sing — I joined my church’s worship team.

I met a man, I met the man, I got married, I bought a house, I¬†joined a zillion meetup groups, I made friends, I began running a meetup group out of my own home, I started blogging, I joined a bible study, I started a bible study, I joined a meditation group, I began taking spiritual healing workshops, I started leasing a horse on top of taking lessons… the list goes on.

I am really really good at doing.

All this time, I thought that all of this stuff I was doing was because I finally knew who I was.

I was wrong.¬†What I do is not all of who I am.¬†I still don’t really know all of who I am.

Sure, I know what I love to do. I’ve figured part of this equation out: I know what makes me tick, I know where my passions lie, and I know what I believe in.

And yet, if you were to take away all of my doings… what would be left? That would be¬†me — a part of me that I’m afraid I¬†don’t know.

I’m at a point in my life where I am bouncing all around trying to find fulfillment and wholeness in all of my doings. But, the truth is, none of my doings are ever going to truly fulfill me until I really, truly, from the bottom of my heart¬†love myself. And, I can’t really truly love myself until I¬†know myself.

So, here’s to the next step in my journey — learning to¬†be.¬†Learning the part of being that lies outside of doing.

And not just learning to be… but learning to be me.