RECOGNITION! I WONDER…

Who am I, this I always wonder.
to this enigma I succumb and my will to explore, I surrender.

Am I wrong in doing so?
should I try to solve this steady and slow?

Known by many names and with
identity of people’s choice,
I may be loud and obnoxious or
an epitome of grace and poise.

But who am I?
With this thought constantly
brewing in my head,
I try to figure this out from
the dawn’s first ray till,
exhausted, I lay on the bed.

Do I have to be recognised
for everything I do?
or should I be just satisfied
and to myself, be true?

Recognition by whom;
By the ones who lift my spirits
or the ones who wish my doom?

Recognition as what;
As a person, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a wife, a lover, an inspiration, a poetess…
as with all these roles I play, with pride, I strut.

I NEED TO BE SEEN!

It’s amazing how we are all on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram nowadays. By “we” I mean adults. We’re adults, right? But emotionally we’re a culture of seven-year-olds. Have you ever had that moment when you are updating your status and you realize that every status update is just a variation on a single request: “Would someone just please acknowledge me?

We seem to want or need recognition that bad. My nine-year-old niece wants to walk the ramp and be a fashion diva. She would say “I want everyone to see me.” That’s exactly how we all want to be seen and recognized. What is it, in us that seeks to be “seen” or “recognized this way?

Usually the recognition we seek is from other people and usually, we don’t get it. Instead, we end up with feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, emptiness, and disappointment at not getting it. And then we work even harder at things still hoping for recognition, get rid of those people and try the same thing with a different group. It’s a trap of infinite loops.

We all have the potential to be seen or valued.

So, how do we fall into this trap of seeking recognition? Now let’s be clear that recognition is good and truth be told we all have the potential to be valued and recognized. It’s your essential essence and it’s valued and feels valued when you and others pay attention to appreciate and respect it.

But ironically it’s only when others pay attention we feel recognized. At that moment you feel seen and you experience your own value as a feeling.

The negative voices in your head calm down, you feel good and accept yourself.

We all have the potential of being something that matters to us and sometimes to others, the part of us that signifies truth and integrity. It’s not just a belief system or the construction of ideas of self-esteem, it’s the truth. Self-worth is a conceptual image that our mind builds up based on our essential value. Our integrity or our truth has always been there, simply because we are living beings.

When we hold an infant, we instinctively recognize the true value of human life, one which is often blinded by our false beliefs, prejudices and critical judgments of others. If we try we can see this precious nature of life in anyone or everyone.

Why do we stop being seen or valued?

As a child we get lots of praise, support and recognition for anything as small as playing with a ball, or walking or even laughing or eating, assuming we have decent, attentive parents. As we grow older, such support and recognition for small efforts decrease or sometimes becomes null depending upon how our relationships with the world shape up.

We are expected to behave, perform and yield results in a specific manner. We are constantly evaluated in school, college, work, relationships and are expected to give measured output. Even when we are able to give the desired result, the focus most of the time shifts to improvement and not to celebrate our achievements.

By the time you are an adult, you are conditioned to seeking recognition not your own value through boxed opinions and beliefs. With only so much opportunities and so much pressure to perform, we often do not recognize our own integrity and are often influenced by the opinions of others about us. Like a seven-year-old, we try to be ‘seen’, seek approval based on adopted opinions often starving ourselves of our real values.

We learn to mask our values from others.

One of the early false belief we adapt to while we are trying to be in touch with our true value is that we are most likely being shamed or scolded if we voiced out values in front of others. It might be called tooting our own horn, bragging, or put ourselves above others. “who do you think you are?” “Nobody likes a bragger” are the comments that hit us emotionally with guilt and shame.

But truth be told, this is where we learn to adapt to the opinions of others about ourselves, and quickly learn not to talk about ourselves positively, boast, or do any extroverted things to get praise or recognition. Instead, we are more likely to work hard, keep quiet, and hope others notice, and comment.

This programmed false belief is what we try to be in front of others. Somewhere we might be in touch with our core values or authentic self but we refrain ourselves from presenting it for fear of criticism and none acceptance.

It can be difficult to learn good self-acceptance practices in childhood because of this.

We repress our desire to be seen or valued.

As we grow older we don’t need others to repress our actions or the need for recognition, rather learn the pattern of criticism and shaming and are seasoned to do repress it ourselves. Priya put in a lot of effort into getting a literary fest together. Known and famous literary peoples from all over India showed up, interacting with each other and the event got started. As Priya was finishing up the last moment preparations, she felt the impulse to bring attention to the work she had done. A voice in her mind wanted to hint to others with a comment like, “I put a lot of work into getting this to work out for everyone’s benefit.” Her mind searched for a way to make it less obvious.

Priya had enough awareness to observe these thoughts of seeking recognition. As she saw them, another part of her mind judged and condemned her for it, “You are being such a pathetic needy person,” “What are you a narcists, needing all the attention on you?” “Grow up girl. You agreed to do this conference on your own. You don’t need praise from these people.”

This internal rebuttal, that part of Priya that wanted to be valued, was declared a needy, pathetic, narcissists, and shunned. The, “who do you think you are”, the response she learned from others, was repeated in her belief system to herself, just as she had learned to do years earlier from others.

I remember being in a training program for employees in my previous workplace and we were asked to introduce ourselves and include something that we were proud of. It was different for each person. Someone was volunteering for an NGO saving stray animals, someone was had run a marathon for cancer cause, someone had served in the army before and someone even said that he was proud of fulfilling his responsibilities as a son and husband. It was a way to say to others this is something that I do that is worthwhile and valuable to me. For a moment it was okay to acknowledge that we value ourselves and have others join in with appreciation and respect. Everyone felt good in the group. Partly because it wasn’t just one person doing it. Everyone was allowed and encouraged.

Let’s see ourselves first before being seen.

This was probably the best exercise to value oneself and also feel recognized by others at the same time. We don’t do this well in our society. Our culture is more inclined to criticize than to appreciate. The point here is the should not suppress the need to be feel valued by ourselves. We miss the mark completely and aim at getting recognized by others. This is probably a way to ask for recognition or to be valued in our society that isn’t lame and pathetic, but it isn’t obvious and can easily be misunderstood. Our culture isn’t big on it. We suppress that need for feeling our value with a condemning judgment. Instead of valuing ourselves, we shame and guilt ourselves for being egotistical, weak, or needy.

We have to understand that there is a very thin line between seeking approval and self-recognition. We have to know that self-acceptance and bragging are not the same things, and it is nuanced to do one and not the other.

Let’s acknowledge and accept who we are before even demanding/expecting to be recognized by others. Self-recognition is self-love. Let’s learn to love ourselves.

HOW IMPERATIVE IS OUR RECOGNITION?

One of the buzz words of our 21st Century is ‘EQ (Emotional Quotient)’. It is the emotion which is the invisible power bank that rejuvenates the human mind and drives him through a particular state of feelings that he experienced from the second person’s response. Moreover, recognition is that emotional feeling that the person experiences when he (as an individual) and his actions both are equally respected individually and publicly as well. The incentive package comes later to the desk but primarily it is the employer who recognizes the success of his employee, then the emotion which is stimulated through big handclap from the floor makes the executive feel recognized in his company. It is then that he gets the identity of being at the forefront and alongside it intensifies the feeling of  being a trusted employee.

BUT what happens to yesterday’s recognition as someone fails to reach today’s expectation? How can a brand ambassador become a stranger overnight? Why the lifetime achievement award for landmarking contribution turns to a regret?

Often recognition is approved on the basis of productivity which exists within a particular timeline. Whereas, the deeper level of understanding of recognition is, the experience and the confidence which we built initially in our individual relationship and later on, it becomes the reference for our trust in that person. Relationship plays a pivotal role in the process of recognition.    

Children expect their parents to recognize their sentiments  

Parents expect their children to recognize their sacrifices

Spouse expects their spouse to recognize their love & feelings

Friend expects his friend to recognize his love & concern

Employee expects his employer to recognize his skills & sincere work

Politician expects his people to recognize his contributions in nation-building

Society watchman expects to be recognized with a smile in return

ABOVE ALL, the first and foremost is the Expectation of GOD:

God expects the human (His Creation) to recognize His agape love for them

and to restore into a righteous relationship with Him.

Without the proper understanding of the relationship, recognition becomes a business affair confined within mere mouthful of verbal acknowledgments and the very intention of the employee to give the best effort is for the credit of benefits. For the sake of personal recognition and personal benefits, it seems fine for the employee to breach the ethical and moral parameters and on the other end, the sacrifices and the contributions of the employee seem worthless to the employer on the present context.     

Recognition is not only the badge of honor and words of appreciation in response for the extraction of productivity rather it is the reflection and the appeal of hope and trust that the person has built in you as he recognizes you.

The previous week, I was discussing some personal life issues with one of my contacts. In the midst of our conversation, she texted – “Bhai, I thank you for your contribution to my life and I trust you more than anyone else on earth”. As I read the line, tears flooded my eyes and I was immensely happy to find myself recognized by her but alongside there was a tender voice (a reminder/a warning/an appeal) to maintain that trust in the days to come.      

“THE EXISTENCE OF RECOGNITION IS FIRMLY FOUNDED ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF OUR RECOGNITION”

A compilation of few of the Bible verses puts it across very nicely;

“To live a Godly life is to encourage each other’s good work and build each other. Acknowledge who works hard, cares for you and admonishes you in the Lord.”

DO NOT WITHHOLD, WHAT YOU CAN GIVE OUT

Recognition is important for a human to get motivated. I understand doing things sincerely and responsibly whether recognized for it or not is a mark of integrity, yet, recognition is very essential at every step of our lives.

I am not going to write anything about receiving or expecting recognition from others. I will talk about the right ways or manners of giving out recognition to someone who deserves it.

One Bible verse always warns me of negligence in giving recognition or acknowledging someone, and that verse is –

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it.

So, what are the right manners of ‘not withholding’ due recognition to a person? I have THREE such factors that explain this. 

Timely: I have seen people postponing the act or the event of recognizing or acknowledging someone. Either they delay in the name of planning or keep the person to be recognized waiting, giving them some vague reason. It is deemed an insult or disrespect to someone when acknowledgment or recognition due to him is not accorded at the right time although we try to patch up or make up everything later. There’s no substitute for recognition accorded in time. The most effective recognition is given at the right time.

Genuinely: Appreciating or recognizing someone with the right tone and spirit even if the words are fewer, works. Sometimes, flattery or more words of praises don’t work well when the tone is not right. One of my previous bosses used to introduce me as, “He is Chiradeep, the backbone of our organization”. And I used to get irritated with that tag, which I never used to like. On finding him alone, I used to tell him not to introduce me that way. Genuineness is very important when we acknowledge or recognize someone.

Impartially: When we recognize someone, we should always ask ourselves whether we have acknowledged the person genuinely and impartially. Genuineness and impartiality seem quite similar to each other yet they are not. The word impartial comes when the number of people to be acknowledged is more than two. Our recognition or appreciation to both the persons might be genuine yet they might be partial when we show little more favor to one over the other unduly. Let me give an example – two employees in an oorganization. They both worked hard to achieve a task together. Both of them were awarded the same amount of money as reward but the boss had many words of praises for one whereas the other went without any words of praise backing him. If I would be in his place, I will really feel very bad and disgusted.

The Bible says, “if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.”

Friends, let’s not be tired of recognising or acknowledging people who deserve it. Let’s be prompt to do that timely, genuinely and impartially.

Stay Blessed!

HERE I AM HERE I AM!! CAN YOU SEE ME?

Even the one drowning, needs recognition – else they will be asphyxiated and no more.

Being recognized is quite relevant need of the hour. Some cry for it, some easily plunge in it as if they belong to it and the rest struggle a lot, yet remain unobtrusive.

Ever since the existence of human being is on the marathon of recognition for every reason accountable.  Call it immaturity, pride or being selfish – everyone is hungry for attention.

Am I an attention-seeker?

adorable animal attention cat
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I love recognition, indeed like any other normal being.

In spite of being identified for all wrong reasons, I could never recollect a time when I was given recognition for what I am but mostly I was in the spotlight for “reasons” the others thought was the best in me.

Stabbed several times, for all the negative reasons, my confidence was shattered away. I was losing a piece of me, which I failed to contain.

Negative Recognition 

Ever since my childhood, I have always been recognized as a foody – take it positive or negative, I was always being bullied for eating a lot.  The moment I sat for eating, I used to be joked for eating everything that was served to me. It was hurting then, to me as a child. My relatives thought I would be only a foodie and would starve the family to death when I get married. (Luckily I have not met their expectation)

As a child, all those bullyings brought me low self-esteem – and nothing else. Being noticed for all the bad reasons made me hide away from people.

Good or Bad – The Bad stands out

When I started scribbling my poems, Slowly and steadily I was in the spotlight for my writing which actually played well psychologically with me, giving me all the reasons I could be happy. Since my poems were a mix of romance, there were a majority of times when I was character assassinated and even asked to stop writing, as I could be a bad reputation for the ones who said – they cared for me.

For a moment I thought – was I badly portrayed – yet I couldn’t stop doing what I loved doing.

It is quite essential how you gonna value a person. It is not just about being recognized, but also the way you are treated matters – everything contributes to the “self-esteem” of a person.

Even in a class of 35 students, I have seen kids struggling to be noted by the teacher just to get a pat on the back, for even the smallest venture they accomplish. In this busy world, all are running behind fame and name, where do they see minor talents.

Thousands of women are being ill-treated even when they contribute the most in the home or even at work. Many men become the silent victim of “burdens of the family” which he has to enslave -under the name of responsibility.  All they need is “a pat on the back” – just to let them know they are being seen for the struggle they do.

close up of a person hand with card
  Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Time was there when I craved for at least one person in the crowd to recognize me, for my words I spill. I was literally holding a pluck card and walking – HERE I AM, CAN YOU SEE ME!!!

I realised that my close connection whom I call my own were the ones who discarded my passion and pointed me the path, which they want me to take up.  For everything I did, I waited for validations from others, who were least bothered to inspire me.

Gradually the rebel in me awoke, out of my insecurity. When I began to shed my inhibitions and cared less to seek words from others, I began to do better.

Sometimes it is better to do and never stop for the words to reassure you.

If you want to recognize, do it the healthy way, else never do it.

Either be the breeze that tantalizes
or
the storm that blows away
the choice is yours.

RECOGNITION FOR A PURPOSE

People who study Psychology, Public Administration and Management (and those other inquisitive knowledge-seekers) are sure to be aware of Abraham Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy. I won’t go on to explain the theory, but will put in a diagram for easy understanding.

‘Need for Recognition’ is a part of a broader category of needs called ‘Esteem Needs’. To be recognized, satisfies the inherent esteem need of an individual.

The Need for Recognition, though inbuilt in all, finds prominent expression in some, is suppressed in some others, certain others know the art of projecting it in a balanced manner, while a handful have recognition thrust on them without any explicit attempt to be recognized. And so we have these four broad categories of people around us.

WHY DO WE NEED RECOGNITION?

Each of us has been created uniquely with lots of gifts and potentialities embedded into us. A validation of these by significant others gives a sense of confidence to move on ahead in life. Let’s take for example a painter. A painter may paint out of sheer passion and expertise. However, when his paintings are put up for display in the State Gallery for visitors to see and maybe even buy, his talent stands recognized. Though he may still continue to paint due to his passion and talent, the recognition accorded to him satisfies an inherent need.

In contrast, if his work faces rejection, his esteem needs become badly bruised and plummet to an all time low. It takes an individual high in intrinsic motivation to keep afloat amidst repudiation. To bring out the best in an individual, s/he needs to be recognized.

Whether or not an individual actively desires recognition, it is a sure fact that recognition makes one feel good. Don’t you remember how you felt when you won that competition and were awarded that trophy in school to the applause of many?

WHEN RECOGNITION BECOMES A CRAZE . . .

While all have an inherent need to be recognized, for some it becomes a craze. Such an obsession arises out of deep insecurities and anxieties within the individual. An adult who was a victim of abuse as a child and suffered from low self-esteem may decide that she definitely deserves better. So far, so good. If she channelizes her esteem needs in constructive ways, it benefits her. However, if she resorts to certain undesirable attention-seeking behaviour (like joining a strip-club, leading protests in her college, vandalism, bullying, etc.), her anxieties and insecurities continue to build up rather than healing. The modelling industry is one such arena that is ruled by the craze for recognition. This leads some to starve themselves to size zero, some to put on weight to the verge of obesity, the dusky to appear fair and the fair to appear tanned and for many others to go under the knife.

The need for recognition is inherent. The craze for recognition is not.

RECOGNITION PUSHES ONE TO ACTION

A few days back, I got to watch the LIVE webcast of ET PRIME Women Leadership Awards-2019. It was an award ceremony organized by ET (Economic Times), one of the leading business newspapers in India, to recognize and encourage women entrepreneurs. Women below 35 years of age were recognized and awarded in various categories for the different start-ups that they were leading. Each of these women shared their dreams that had led them to battle all odds to secure a place for themselves and that how great it felt to be recognized by an illustrious panel in front of a distinguished audience. And then there were women with decades of business experience who were recognized for being able to sustain and excel in the business world – the likes of Indra Nooyi, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Anu Aga. Each woman who was recognized resolved to continue to improvise, innovate and give something better to the country and to the world.

Some time back, Britannia Marie Gold had endeavoured to help women start their own business with the belief that every woman has great ideas to start their own venture. Some help and support are all that women need. In a country like India, where the patriarchal mindset is still very much prevalent, it sure is essential to provide the much-needed exposure and support to women to come out of their shells. Britannia Marie Gold organized a ‘My Startup Contest’ which invited contestants from all over the country. Ten winners were declared recently. To hear their tear-filled testimonies gave me joy! They were all full of ideas. Their eyes were full of dreams. But, they didn’t know if anyone would ever care to believe in their dreams and recognize them. They were awarded INR10lakhs to start off with their dreams.

Recognition itself is rewarding, whether or not it is accompanied by a material reward.

RECOGNIZING OTHERS

To be recognized feels good. However, to recognize others is of equal importance. Often we hesitate/forget to recognize others who need to be. At times ego comes in the way and we feel others are not worth the recognition. At other times we feel the individual in concern did what s/he was supposed to do – and so, what’s the need for recognition. The Bible says, “. . . in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you . . .” If you feel good when recognized, look for ways to recognize others around you. A senior Govt. officer shared on one occasion how he organized a small function in his office to recognize and reward one of his peons who travelled a long distance but was never late to office, while many officers staying close by reached late to work on some pretext or the other.

RECOGNITION FOR A PURPOSE

It is easy to allow the feel-good factor to go on increasing and to let the ego go on inflating when recognized for some reason. This is where the caution lights should start blinking and the alarms should start ringing out loud. Recognition should not be for mere name and fame. If recognized for a purpose, continue to further it. If recognized as a way of motivation, translate it into a purpose.

An example when I could have used recognition for a purpose comes to mind. During International Women’s Day observation at my workplace this year, as the programme was about to come to an end, some of my lady colleagues spoke out my name aloud suggesting that I would speak a few words. I was surprised, unwilling and unprepared, not knowing what made them make such a suggestion. When my name was called by the coordinator, I had no option but to go to the front. I picked up the microphone and spoke a few words which were appreciated by the guest speaker and my colleagues. However, later on, I thought that I could have utilised that opportunity to convey much more (after all one doesn’t get to address a room of around 90 people every day!). What held me back was – ‘What if most people don’t want to hear me’, ‘what if others think that I am trying to project myself as someone significant’, ‘better to limit what has to be said and speak for the sake of formality’. Though I did speak my mind I felt later that a couple of issues related to the occasion could have been shared. On that occasion, though I was recognized by my colleagues to go up and speak, I could not convert the recognition into a full-fledged purpose. A lesson learnt for the times to come!

Don’t work for recognition. You may not be recognized and that’ll leave you shattered. Accomplish your tasks to the best extent possible pouring your heart into it. And if recognized, be sure to further it for a purpose.

IT BRINGS AN EXTRA SPRING IN MY STEPS…

There is a flood of Reality Shows on TV. Dance competitions, singings battles, talent hunts, cooking competitions, etc. What makes people turn up in such huge numbers for this? One basic requirement – of being recognised, of being appreciated. Of course, there is the lure of the prize money also but for most of them it is the appreciation they get for the hard work they put in for each show, that is the biggest motivator.

I can say this from my own experience. While I was doing a job I used to thrive on appreciation. Of course, I did not get appreciated for every work of mine (I was not that good employee!!) but then whenever I got appreciated for a job well done there was a sense of achievement in me. Satisfaction of a job well done and being recognised for its worth. It could be a very small thing like a file submitted on time or a bigger thing like a huge presentation in front of the top bosses. A small word of appreciation also unknowingly brings an extra spring in my step. The other worries begin to seem a bit distant, at least for some time.

Basically, I am a very lazy person. Especially when it comes to the routine and mundane chores of life. I admit I am a huge procrastinator. I realised this about myself when I left my job and became a full-time homemaker (or as they say commonly ‘house-wife’). I am sure all my friends in a similar situation will agree with me when you do household chores the compliments and appreciations you get are few and far between. On the other hand, people start questioning “What do you do the whole day?” If you put in extra effort and make a tasty meal then there will be a shower of compliments but who will appreciate the daily ka Dal Chawl (Rice and Pulses). Life is not like the Surf Excel commercials where the husband is ecstatic and swooning when the wifey makes his dirty shirt white again. In this phase of my life what I missed the most was appreciation (and also my salary  😉 ). The whole day you work but the work had no meaning at all. Next day again the same routine.

Once I started writing for Candles online, initially I had very little confidence in my abilities. I used to be over the moon if I got a comment of appreciation on my article. It was like the work I was doing made sense again. You won’t believe for the first few articles I used to go online every fifteen minutes and check the number of likes and views. And the words of appreciation from the Boss Man himself gave me confidence and motivated me to write again and again.

Recently, I have started working again. The other day a friend of mine complimented me that you are looking good, or rather looking better than earlier. Her words made me wonder what has changed. Stepping out into the work world again, I realised that the very fact that I am going out and meeting others and the way I present myself would be noticed has made me take a bit extra care while dressing up. Earlier when I was going down to the bus stop to pick up my kids from school I was not bothered about how I looked. Who will notice anyway? That was my thought process.

I could be wrong. There is another school of thought on this point. Which says that we should not live our life by what others say about us. We should do what makes us happy even if the world thinks we are wrong. I agree to that completely. We cannot channel our life based on other people’s opinions. But a few words of appreciation do matter.

I can vouch for myself. A few words of appreciation or a tiny bit of recognition really do make my day. In that way, I am a true blue Leo.  I crave for appreciation, I thrive on appreciation.

Try it sometime. Try telling a lady that she has lost weight and she will be smiling away the whole day. Or compliment her on the dress she is wearing, you have boosted her confidence for the day. Appreciate your house help on a job well done and she will try to keep up that standard every day. Appreciate your child’s achievement, however small it may be and see how he gets motivated to do more.

People do crave for recognition, they do thrive on appreciation as we do.