Updated: Sep 28
‘Unconditional Positive Regard’ was a term I first heard about fifteen years ago when I was researching different styles of counselling and therapeutic interventions. Unconditional positive regard, also known as ‘UPR’ is associated with Carl Rogers, the founder of Person-centred therapy. UPR is about accepting and valuing the client precisely as they are without judgement or criticism. Accepting the person just as they are. In the therapeutic relationship, for positive regard to be unconditional, the therapist must avoid making judgements about the client’s feelings or experiences and without interpreting them or placing a value on them.
This is a highly healing quality to have within the therapeutic relationship. If only we can turn this quality in on ourselves, to have unconditional positive regard for who we are, just as we are, we would discover we are enough after all. With this discovery we would find that there is already an abundance of peace and joy within us. When we listen a lot less to the inner critic, we start to begin to feel a lot better.
I used to have such an inner critic, the exact opposite of having unconditional positive regard for myself. I would constantly judge myself, not being good enough, blaming myself for situations, how I felt, how other people felt, how I looked, what I did or didn’t do, it was relentless and exhausting. I won’t go into why this type of personality develops as this blog isn’t intended to be that long, but much is based in childhood and continued in adulthood as you might imagine.
Reversing this, moving forwards towards having unconditional positive regard for ourselves can take some time, it is fundamentally a process of self-love. In my opinion it is probably one of the most challenging, powerful, and liberating journeys we can take. Learning mindfulness and beginning to be present with your experience is a good start in moving towards this. I have found that not interpreting my experience, simply being in it, can really help move us forwards towards a UPR state. In Sophrology one of the key principles we use is that of ‘Objective Reality’ or non-judgment. It is a way to have a new relationship with ourselves, an unconditional one.
Jesus left us with an important message “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” The problem is we don’t love ourselves totally and fully, unconditionally, and so it is difficult to love our neighbour that way. He was talking about having unconditional positive regard for both your neighbour and yourself, but until we give it to ourselves, it is difficult to give it to another.
So here is to developing unconditional positive regard for ourselves.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend,
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