Unconditional Positive Regard

I was reading the lecture notes from my Psychology minor and it spoke on the topic of self-determination and self-actualisation, which happened to be the closing theme for my course earlier this week.

I ended my course in a circle and I told my participant –

“I accept you as my participant, with all the flaws you have and all the strengths that you bring to the team.”

I spoke about how the word “family” is being abused sometimes. That family to me is a strong word. It means that one will not be forsaken no matter one’s flaw and will always be loved, despite that sometimes one can walk the wrong path. I told my participants that I am in no position to say if this is family or not and it is up to them. But I accept them fully as my participants. I thank them for the privilege and if I may say, honour, for them to accept me as the one who leads their course because I am well aware that they could have chosen not to be here or to drop out halfway. I am not sure how much they understand with their level of maturity but perhaps like how I recollect some of the things that were said to me 15 years ago and seeing them with a new perspective, perhaps they will as well.

There are so many of us who just want to seek acceptance of who we are. Yet, often we are unwilling to accept others for who they are. It is one thing to display a bad behaviour. But it does not automatically make a person bad. Being educators, we need to distinguish the act from the person.

Recently, on the internet, I can see full of judgments. People being critical of the actions of others, as if they themselves were free of sins. Then committing the same act themselves, albeit in a different manner. Somehow it felt that these people were just unlucky that their acts were recorded on camera, when in fact, many of us may do the same. Sometimes, seeing the comments on the internet makes me wonder where have all the rational people went. The constant criticism, the pretentious, moralistic and judgemental words. On one hand, you see oppositions making extreme, biased and comments that are “far off”. Then you see comments by pro-government speaking in the same manner. The only difference is that they are fighting for different causes. Where has the rational, well thought out, balanced perspective went? Sadly, it is the exaggerating, sensationalising articles that get shared. And it is those who are ignorant, naive and simple-minded who constantly blast their loud hailers online.

But as I comment about such things, perhaps I am seen exactly the same way by others as well.

I used to think that we are full of educated individuals. People who are able to put out balanced, well thought out perspectives. But I guess I am wrong. At least not on the internet. Even some of the top leaders whom I expect to be busy with meaningful work seem preoccupied with sharing simple-minded articles, comments and post. Almost as if the whole day is spent just browsing on Facebook. Perhaps power and social-economical status is not such an accurate judgement of one’s capacity and capability after all. Or perhaps one can still finish the “meaningful work” fast enough to find time to engage in senseless activities.


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