Unconditional Positive Regard

I learn from a former nurse about the concept of “unconditional positive regard” for every single patient.  Something about the phrase resonates with me because it’s about believing the best about people and treating them with respect regardless of what the person says or does. It’s about giving equal chances and equal care.

I know this idea has necessary limits in the case of lawbreaking or when being harmed by someone, but generally speaking, it’s about kindness. 

15 minutes before learning this concept, I witness a woman screaming at an employee in a coffee shop because he doesn’t get her order correct. She stomps her feet, pounds the counter, and begins humiliating the employee in a loud voice. I want to run to that tired worker, throw my arms around him, and comfort him. (I actually do intervene and encourage him briefly; he ends up giving me a free coffee!)

I find myself favoring the employee–showing him unconditional positive regard–because it’s easy. But what about the angry woman? What if I had gone to her, put my arms around her, and comforted her?

I’m learning to go beyond my natural, first response judgments and see new perspectives. What if I found the person hardest to love and went to her?

I’m thinking about that angry woman this morning.  I wish I had loved her.

Who do you need to show “unconditional positive regard” for today?

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0 Responses

  1. Heather, you always give me food for thought.  Thank you for this reminder today to “put myself into another's shoes”.

  2. I'm sure you made that employee's day!  Imagine how we might change lives if we embraced the people who hurt so much they have to spew their rage on innocent others. This provocative post challenges me to do as Jesus would have done.