In counselling we talk about the non-directive approach grounded in what Carl Rogers named unconditional positive regard. With it we accept another person as they are, unconditionally and non-judgementally. Similarly, people talk about unconditional love, not (as I suspect) so much as something they know from experience, but as something they wish for.
Wouldn’t it be downright exquisite to be valued by another person with unobstructed respect and liking — not only for what we do, think, or say but for who we are in any moment? “Warts and all” is the expression: an unreserved welcome, free even of the concept of flaws. The current phrase “it’s all good” speaks to that, but has, I suspect, become just another trendy (and empty) expression as “OMG–o my god” and “how sweet.”
In recent months I’ve been the beneficiary of unconditional positive regard in personal relationships. My god-daughters (ages 2 and 5) visiting from Scotland exemplify such an attitude and so does my spiritual coach. And now a blossoming relationship with a woman, the first such exposure in over three years, is unfolding along the same lines, allowing me to take interpersonal risks without fear. “To love with the hands wide open,” as Marge Piercy puts it, creates a deep sense of being-of-value and unrestricted scope for our psycho-spiritual growth. Yes?
image: “Magnolia” by Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976).