All of us at some time in our lives have received something good from someone who really knows us. Look back on your experiences in your life, especially the ones that formed you into who you are now. See if you can find those special people who you felt understood you. These are the ones who really know us.
All humans want to be accepted for who they are. But most of us have many experiences where people did not fully accept us, in fact many of us were formed by people who had strong opinions that clashed with ours. If you got in trouble a lot, this happened to you.
Feeling Understood and Accepted Heals Us
So, when we encounter someone who isn’t telling us to do something we don’t want to do or telling us we should do it differently, there is an entirely new feeling that emerges. This is the experience of being totally accepted by another. In theoretical terms, we call it “unconditional positive regard.” There is even a great psychologist, Carl Rogers, who fashioned an entire movement based on this concept.
He believed if we all received unconditional positive regard—in other words, if someone totally accepted us for who we are—we would have all our troubles in our lives healed. We would know we are loved and that is the healing that most of us are looking for.
People Who Understand and Accept Us Are Special
I got to thinking about all the special ones that we have encountered, who gave us that love and acceptance. It could be a friend, a teacher, a counselor, a parent, a relative, or even a lover. I imagine all of us have experienced this kind of support. I know I have, and I was reminded of it today.
I had a friend a while back. He was great. He loved books, plays, he was an author who wrote stories and he was an artist who painted. I have a few of his paintings in my house. I call them “My Bills.” His name was Bill Clark.
We Can Grow Into the Goodness and Strength That Others See In Us
But most of all what I am left with, now that he has passed away, is how he saw me. He always saw me greater than I saw myself. He thought I was really neat. It has taken me a long time to feel that way about myself, but when I was around him I always did.
I got an email from someone in his life who was searching for his relatives. I didn’t answer because I don’t know where they are, but it got me thinking about my friend. I was on a run and the two of us used to run together many years ago. He ended up moving back to his home state of Mississippi, where he built himself a house. And then Katrina hit and washed his home away, taking hundreds of his paintings with it.
Take A Moment to Appreciate the Great, Understanding People in Your Life
After the hurricane, I talked with my friend to find out how he was doing. I asked him about all his artwork. He said, “I will just paint some more.” And that’s what he did until he died. So, I am thinking about all this and I look down and see a penny. I stop and pick it up and another memory fills me. He used to collect money every time he ran, including the times we ran together. He’d put it in a big bottle and count it at the end of the year. It was one of the fun things I liked about my friend.
So, I pick up this penny and I send a little prayer to Bill. I thank him for being such a wonderful person in my life. I can still hear his voice in my head. I love the way it sounds.
Want To Feel Understood and Accepted in Your Relationship?
Read a Book About Relationships
Feel more connected to your partner, by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might help you and your partner communicate better, helping you feel more understood, connected, and even loved. Give it a read.
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