OK, unconditional regard sounds very professional, doesn’t it? What the church and family counselling world is more comfortable using is unconditional love. Love has a number of facets. It includes cherishing people especially women and respecting people especially men.

Holding people in high regard is not that dissimilar to love but you are neatly side-stepping a word that does not sound professional. When you hold people in high regard you are accepting them for what they are and who they are at that time. The reality is we would often like them to move on from that place but we respect them and accept where they are.

The importance of acceptance

The reality is that we all need to be accepted. The opposite, i.e. rejection, does a lot of damage. Rejection leaves us feeling disempowered and less than enough. When we feel as if we are not enough we feel ashamed of ourselves and we are diminished.

Many of us associate acceptance with love. The problem is that professionals cannot be seen to be doing this so they call it unconditional regard.

If we accept others then it helps them develop their own sense of self-acceptance. It is that sense of self-acceptance that helps them feel enough and that reduces the shame that they carry. Demonstrating to people that they have worth because you accept them as they are is an essential part of maintaining their mental health.

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