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.

COMMON DEVIL – EMOTIONAL INVALIDATION

“How can you be angry at such a trivial thing? This is no reason to be upset.”

“You should not be hungry at this hour. You have already eaten so much”

“How can you think of having an ice-cream when your father is in ICU?”

These are examples of some of the common statements that we hear day in and day out. You might ask what is wrong with these statements. Exactly! We don’t find anything wrong in telling others in our life that what they are feeling is wrong, because our intention when we say such things is absolutely good.

Every human feeling/emotion is absolutely valid. And when we make such statements, we actually invalidate the other person’s thoughts. This person is usually our loved one and we only mean good for him/her. But we still hurt the person by invalidating his/her thought or feeling. This is extremely common and most of us do not even realize the damage because we believe that we were helping. Rarely anybody invalidates other’s experience intentionally.

How does a person feel when you invalidate the very feeling he/she has? Try and remember the last time it happened to you. Usually a person might feel judged or ignored or rejected by such comments. How upsetting it is for a particular person depends on his/her emotional sensitivity.

Validation is accepting the person with his/her negative and positive feelings. It also means accepting the person with his/her negative and positive internal experiences. Best way to stop invalidating others is by replacing it with validation. It does not mean that you lie to the person – it simply means that you accept the person’s experience as valid and understandable. The major challenge is to identify the instances where we invalidate other’s feelings. Listen to yourself, listen to the advices that you give to your loved ones, listen to what your inner voice tells you about other’s experience. Keep an eye on your own thoughts. Once you learn this, it is highly powerful in improving your emotional quotient.