“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
— Elbert Hubbard
It was Carl Rogers, the humanistic psychotherapist, who posited the theory of unconditional positive regard. It’s about a safe form of therapy where the client is able to disclose any information about themselves and never feel the threat of rejection from the therapist.
Unconditional positive regard is probably what friends offer us when they love us even when we don’t or can’t love ourselves. Such a friend is a true friend; a blessing to know. People who can love us unconditionally are used by God as if we were a phoenix, rising from the ashes of our despondency.
Oh, To Practice the Unconditionality of God’s Love
Although we can never sustain a state of heart that would allow us to love as perfectly as God’s love can, we are able, due to our surrender, to accept someone unconditionally in the moment of our loving focus.
Only one moment at a time can we take this way. We only ever have one moment.
But we may be getting ahead of ourselves; we could well imagine what it might be like to be loved unconditionally—like, to the extent of never being able to fail that love. Being loved suchlike inspires trust and the confidence to soar, for there is no fear for disappointing the other person. Such a love oozes forgiving grace.
But such a love is no pushover.
It’s entirely prepared to institute tough love where it’s necessary. But genuine tough love is not a hard love, but one that is entirely fair and courageous enough to honour the truth, to such a point that risks the relationship for growth.
Without tough love there could be no true devotion.
We can only hope to become more consistently better in our practice of such care.
The Value of Unconditional Acceptance
Unconditional positive regard issues unconditional acceptance: the most valuable relational asset. In other words, there is nothing that an individual could do to another individual that would sever the relationship. Love’s strength is too strong for that.
Such a level of holy care rides over the humps of disappointment and betrayal looking for the broader learning and never once thinks of rejection.
This holy level of care takes the absolute worst knowledge of one person and does not reject the person for knowing such things. There is no shame beyond this love.
Biblical love, or the perfect love, never fails because it never rejects. This is a holy level of care that is invested in relationships. No matter what happens forgiveness is instinctive, and there is nothing anyone can do to be rejected. This type of relationship, where tough love is also necessary, does much to bless those who need very much to feel accepted.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.