Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Acceptance and Support

I have liked the phrase "unconditional positive regard" for years but have never done any research about the concept.  It sounded like an aspirational goal that would be a good practice for life and work.

When I started to look it turns out to be a therapy term that was described as having "seeped out" of being used for therapy and into common usage.  It was a way to describe the attitude a therapist should have (ideally) when doing talk therapy.

                                      Freud's Couch from

David G. Myers says the following in his Psychology: Eighth Edition in Modules:
"People also nurture our growth by being accepting—by offering us what Rogers called unconditional positive regard. This is an attitude of grace, an attitude that values us even knowing our failings. It is a profound relief to drop our pretenses, confess our worst feelings, and discover that we are still accepted. In a good marriage, a close family, or an intimate friendship, we are free to be spontaneous without fearing the loss of others' esteem."  (source:Wikipedia)
I think there is no better place to experience the positive results of this attitude of valuing than Twitter.  Maybe I have been lucky but I seldom run across negativity and meanness there.  Other social media may be less positive. Based on things I have heard and because of laziness I avoid Facebook.  I've heard it described as Twitter with homework.


One of the criticisms of unconditional positive regard is that it is impossible to do in real life where even our own kids are hard to accept all of the time.  But there is no reason to avoid trying to achieve this level of acceptance of others.

                                    Our kids...

It may be easier to do online than in real life.  When people are mean right in front of you they are harder to ignore than when you can just hit delete or skip over a tweet that offends you.  

It's great to see so much generosity and encouragement that cuts across all levels especially in Health Care Social Media (HCSM). What a great and friendly way to learn and to improve your health literacy.


One of the tweets that got a lot of retweets was my resolution to comment on blogs and interact more. That proves to me that a lot of people already want to be supportive and helpful.  I suspect it is finding time to lead our own lives that is the limiting factor.  

It's not easy.  Sometimes it's hard to find words.  And of course by saying something negative about Facebook above I have already gone against my aspirational goal.  Maybe it was bad habits from the office - often the main sport is complaining. 

    Schemers from Downton Abbey

You can do so much good by supporting and encouraging, and then there's the pair above! Conniving and setting a bad example every season!

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