Unconditional Positive Regard

If you are from Europe and have not visited China ever, your first interaction with Chinese people might make you feel uncomfortable with them. It is not because you are superior or they are inferior. It is due to the fact that you have certain conditioning of your mind about your own society. Meeting people who do not belong to your society, will cause you to look at them in a different way. We all have such kind of conditioning of our minds and we don’t accept people as they are. Here is a concept of human psychology called as Unconditional positive regard. It is the basic acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does. An individual has within him vast resources for self-understanding, for altering his self-concept, attitudes, and self-directed behavior. Unconditional positive regard is essential for healthy development and has a therapeutic component. By showing a person unconditional positive regard and acceptance, you are  providing the best possible conditions for the person to interact with you. The main factor in unconditional positive regard is the ability to isolate behaviors from the person who displays them. It is a profound relief to drop our pretenses, confess our worst feelings, and discover that we are still accepted. In a good marriage, a close family, or an intimate friendship, we are free to be spontaneous  and we stop fearing the loss of others’ esteem. In deeper and more meaningful relationships it is possible to show unconditional positive regard to another individual. Unconditional positive regard bridges the short-term relationships and deeper long-term personal relationships. When you have unconditional positive regard for someone, nothing they can do could give you a reason to stop seeing them as inherently human and inherently lovable. It does not mean that you accept each and every action taken by the person, but that you accept who they are at a level much deeper than surface behavior. Those who do not receive such regard from their parents at a young age are more likely to have low self-worth and less likely to reach their full potential with regards to personal development.

Unconditional positive regard is used by psychologists, social workers, therapists, parents, teachers, coaches and mentors. The unconditionally accepting therapist will show the client that he is still accepted and valued, even when he makes mistakes. Social workers will often work with clients who are at a low point in their lives. A social worker who accepts this about their clients will find that their clients are more open to discussion and more apt to accept themselves as they are, believe that positive change is possible, and commit to making such changes. Parents showing unconditional positive regard for their children help them meet two essential needs: experiencing positive regard from others and a positive sense of self-worth. When you adopt an unconditional positive attitude toward your child, you allow him to be free to try new things, make mistakes, and be spontaneous. It can be difficult to be unconditionally positive and accepting when your child has displeased or disappointed you, but this is when it is most important.  Teachers use this concept through respecting the child by offering them choices, abiding by their decisions, and explaining the reasoning behind their own decisions. They help the child to achieve competence by encouraging them to be independent and offer diverse opportunities to be challenged and to be successful.

Last but not the least, the best thing for your own self is summarized by Brian Tracy as follows:

“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.”

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