There are many ways to give recognition. The following explores different examples. While the list is not exhaustive, it provides some helpful guidelines and essential elements needed for cultivating a culture of recognition. We’ve identified four areas key to becoming a recogniser. They’re four areas we can all grow in. Think of these areas as the gateways to recognition. We enter in through:
1. BEING PRESENT
Perhaps the most frequently available option to us, presence involves being deeply aware of those around you, employing empathy to the awareness to look around a room and spot someone struggling. The presence to reflect on how to respond, to draw connections between topical cultural events and those you know. Such as Mother’s Day and how it might be a hard time for friends struggling to conceive. Being present always leads to recognition, as what was previously ignored is acknowledged, what was unseen is seen. People are longing to be seen.
Time is one of the biggest hindrances to people feeling recognised. Giving recognition is an investment of your time to make a moment in time greater for someone else. Whether it be your physical presence involving your time, such as a conversation, event or the time invested in preparing to recognise someone such as organising a thoughtful gift or writing a letter – recognition always requires time. Your time is important to recognition because your time shows you care, that someone else matters and is more important than anybody else at that moment. More than anything, it’s impossible to feel forgotten when someone gives you their time.
3. THOUGHTFULNESS & EMPATHY
Where presence involves being aware and engaging with your surroundings, thoughtfulness is drawing connections to those around you, taking the time and the investment of your creative capacity to respond. Recognising and responding to others appropriately is known as cognitive empathy. It is the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view and imagine yourself in their place. Often the greatest moments of recognition are derived from those who’ve shared similar experiences and can recognise it in another.
"To reach out to someone in their own situation with all the complexity that might hold. To communicate understanding. To convey empathy and concern. In that moment there is an invisible connection a togetherness a feeling of not being alone. This reaches beyond words. "
Knowing and of being known. Penny Coleman, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist
62 per cent of people we surveyed for The Age of Recognition report said a personalised gift from someone makes me feel seen and appreciated. If recognition leaves you feeling seen and valued then it must involve a personal uniqueness as unique as the receiver. As the receiver is unique, so must be the recognition. There are 56 million google search results for ‘meaningful gifts’. A true meaningful gift is not complete without recognition.
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