Unconditional positive regard was a term first created by psychologist Carl Rogers which he applied during therapy with his clients. Treating them with unconditional positive regard meant that he supported and withheld judgment no matter what they said or did. He wholly accepted them for who they are, not who he expected them to be. Rogers believed this was vital to a person’s well-being and would ultimately help build their self-value and confidence.
Have you ever met someone who really accepted you? Someone who never judged you and loved you unconditionally? What a great feeling it is, you feel stronger and more assured that you can overcome just about anything. That feeling that you have complete freedom to be yourself. That is unconditional positive regard. We know what it’s like to have that feeling of unconditional acceptance from another person, but what about from yourself? Do you treat yourself with that unconditional positive regard? Do you accept yourself for who you are, and support yourself through whatever challenges you may face or mistakes you make? Rogers believed this was a therapeutic technique, but really each of us has the ability to do this in our daily lives. We can choose to apply this to ourselves. Rather than critic ourselves if we make a mistake, we can find compassion and understanding. Rather than punish ourselves for an error, we find support and forgiveness. We can choose to accept all parts of ourselves, without judgement. You could try a positive affirmation or two to help set this frame of mind in motion. We are so used to treating ourselves critically it can be difficult at first to veer away from this. It may take time, but that’s ok. Think of the mind as a garden. We plant seeds in the soil, but we don’t return the next day to see flowers have grown overnight. They need water, sunlight, and patience. Part of having unconditional positive regard for ourselves is accepting that the seeds we plant within us just need time to grow.