The Value of Acknowledgement

September 10, 2011

One of my most valued teachers throughout my professional career has been Angeles Arrien, the internationally known cross-cultural anthropologist.  She has devoted her life to studying cross-cultural healing practices.  I had the privilege of meeting her in the 90’s at a cozy, intimate venue in the Pocono Mountains of PA.  For years, she came every 3-6 months to meet with a close knit group of 25 fortunate people like myself who received teaching and training from her.  One of these teachings that has become fully integrated in my personal and professional life is about the value of acknowledgement.  She taught me that cross-culturally every human being has a primary need to receive acknowledgement on a consistent basis in these four areas:

1. appearance  2. skill  3. character  4. positive impact on the other

Try it.  You’ll like it…and so will the recipients!   An added bonus, I’ve found, is this is one of the best relationship building gestures on the planet.  Check out Angeles Arrien’s book: The Four Fold Way 


When you choose to both embrace and celebrate your signature strengths the result can be profound in your life. I know from my own personal experience, for example, my top signature strength is Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, which means I connect, directly and powerfully, with excellence and have the ability to take pleasure in the existence of goodness in the physical and social worlds. This strength is why I can frequently feel awe by simply walking in the woods or listening to someone share about their life. The tiniest wild flower poking through field grass, or the sight of a great blue heron in her graceful lift off from a nearby stream, can instantaneously move me to a sense of wonder. The moral goodness someone displays in kindness and compassion can bring a moment of inspiration that I can savor again and again. The reason Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence has a profound impact on the quality of my life is because no matter what may be challenging or inspiring about my life at the moment, I have this strength within me, available to call upon at all times. It is a great balancer and can help me with perspective if I’m afraid or sad or even angry. Better than anything else can, this strength gives me the power to transcend and then shift away from a difficult mood that is not serving me. There are times when an unexpected experience of awe, wonder and inspiration can be a blessing beyond measure. There are times when it has absolutely changed the quality of any given day of my life.

A client of mine had this to say about the value she found in embracing and celebrating her signature strengths: “When my business was failing, and my life felt overwhelmingly off track 4 years ago, I learned to harness my signature strengths to overcome a major life challenge. I learned to live in the present and find my own strength in each baby step. Now, I’ve gotten past that ugly challenge and feel stronger. I know today that I have within me everything I need to face life’s challenges, one step at a time. Life just seems much more enjoyable every day, no matter what comes my way. I’ve found happiness in a new career and a more pleasant outlook on life. Many of the things that I once felt would never happen for me, like love, have found a place in my life today. “

Are you interested in thriving?

Are you curious about what supports your personal growth and serves your well-being?

Do you want to identify, embrace and use your signature character strengths toward the possibility of a more meaningful life?

Do you want to explore what leads to an experience of sustainable happiness?

If “yes”, I invite you to this Sustainable Happiness Workshop Series, which provides a pathway for the support and exploration of your desire for sustainable happiness.

The series consists of one 3hr introductory workshop, to be followed by three additional monthly workshops. Although each workshop builds upon another, each one stands alone as holding inherent value to you. Therefore, I invite you to attend the first one, followed by more, according to your schedule. It is my hope and desire that you will be able to attend the complete series.

Sustainable Happiness Workshop Series


WHERE: Fairville Village, 518 Kennett Pike, Chadds Ford, PA 19317 (in the beauty and comfort of Erin Bobo and Eric Webb’s MFR studio)

WHEN: Introductory Workshop is Saturday, November 5th

TIME: 1:00-4:00 pm

FEE: $65


PHONE: 302 888 2345