Reclaiming Your Wholeness with Unconditional Positive Self-Regard

June 21, 2011 By: Michael Nagel Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

Thou shall bear all things that all things may change.

~  Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950),

I wonder whether, like most of the persons I meet, you divy yourself into parts of which are good and bad, likeable and dislikeable, spiritual and unspiritual, etc… On the one hand, you turn towards, embrace, and proudly present to others your “better” qualities. On the other hand, you turn from, disown, and closet your “worse” parts.

I am concerned for those “bad” parts – my own and others. They remind me of a prisoner on death row. Yes, some crimes are heinous , and they provoke the sentiment of vengeful justice. Yet as long as the prisoner lives, there is the possibility of his psychological redemption. But “bad” parts of ourselves which are condemned to the unconscious have little opportunity for transformation. Yet still they live on. With dreams and outbursts, they clank against the cell bars of their imprisonment.

Personal authenticity, psychological wholeness, and personal growth suggest that these imprisoned parts be set free to return from the shadow to the light of awareness. Of the many arguments on behalf of doing so, there is one which I want to address here. It is suggested by the term which famed psychologist,  Carl Rogers, popularized: “ unconditional positive regard.”

Unconditional positive regard is the attitude of unconditional acceptance of all of a person’s behavior, provided the behavior does not injure oneself or another. Unconditional! Within the context of therapy, unconditional positive regard provides the context, the climate, the pitri dish culture in which personal growth can take root and flourish. This sounds reasonable.

However, if we are willing to provide unconditional positive regard to others, must we not also be willing to provide unconditional positive self-regard, thereby also allowing that all of our own behaviors be given the opportunity for change and growth? In a manner, is this not sharing with ourselves the unconditional love (not unconditional liking) which we would hope to share with others?

Why such radical permissiveness? Liked or not, these parts exist. Owned or disowned, they are part of us. When we embrace these parts with the light of our awareness, we may be made whole. When we inquire into them, we may be changed, redeemed.

 

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