Monday, April 24, 2017

U is for Unconditional Positive Regard -What You Can Do to Develop It

Unconditional positive regard is a term invented by Carl Rogers, founder of Person Centered Therapy which refers to accepting and supporting others exactly as they are, without evaluating or judging them.  The basis of the concept is the position that everyone has the individual resources within to help themselves lead a fulfilling life, provide they are given an environment of acceptance allowing them to recognize this truth.

You can only have unconditional positive regard if you see others as complete people not collections of behavior and if you don’t view others only regarding how they impact you.  You first have to be able to step outside yourself and recognize that others are different and often have different needs, viewpoints and ways of operating in the world than you do.  Unconditional positive regard doesn’t mean you have like someone.  You don’t even have to be nice to them, or do anything at all for them.  You simply have to put your personal judgments and opinions about them to the side.  This does not mean letting others hurt you and take advantage of you.  It does mean not developing a series of negative assumptions as to why the person might treat you that way.

How You Can Start to Practice Unconditional Positive Regard for Others

  • Expect people to have the skills to figure things out by themselves instead of constantly giving advice as if only you know best.  
  • Suspend judgement and bias. Start to become aware of how often you view others only in terms of what is wrong with them. 
  • Notice what you are really thinking when you are supposedly listening to someone. Instead of  thinking about how you will correct what they are saying or point out how it relates to you, simply clear your mind and focus on hearing only what they are telling you.
  • Don’t try to prevent others from being different.  “Different” doesn't mean “wrong”.

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