Psychology, my field of study, is considered a science. Basically, that means that psychology has theories that can be put to an objective test. One of the most well known theoretical perspectives is Humanistic Psychology made famous by people like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. They believed in ideas like unconditional positive regard and self-actualization. What? I know these are words that we don’t often use in our daily conversations so here goes.
Rogers believed in treating every person with love, kindness and respect regardless of their behavior. People are not their behavior. In order for anyone to grow we need to recognize they have great capacity for change and growth. When this potential guides our interactions, then people are most likely to become their best. That’s the power of unconditional positive regard.
Maslow is known for his hierarchy of needs. At the bottom are basic needs for things like food and water. As it progresses to the top, we find the highest need is for self-actualization. That is, the desire to be the best that we can possibly be. It’s like that commercial for the Army that had the line, “Be all that you can be”.
I’m absolutely sure that these theorists would have loved my grandmother, Mama Louise. Sometimes, I wonder if she was having secret coaching sessions with them, educating them on how to get the best out of people. Because I promise you, despite the fact that she had very little formal education, she wrote the book on unconditional positive regard and unconditional love.
Mama Louise had the ability to make every person feel they were loved and good enough. It was as though she was sending subliminal messages that whatever someone did was okay because it was a part of them getting where they had to go in this life. She aroused the deepest feelings of love within me and the deepest feelings of being completely loved by another.
So not only did Mama know and believe in unconditional love, she could communicate it with and without words. There’s a technical term called meta-communication that offers some insight on her expertise.
It was only recently that I found the words to describe how Mama Louise made me feel. It’s simple, really. She acted in a way that left me feeling perfect.
The way she shared her loved turned “I am perfect” into my truth.
I know we all choose our feelings and responses to people. But what amazed me was that her interactions left everyone feeling the same way, simply perfect. No matter whether you were rich or poor, in elementary school or college, in jail or working a great job. She left you feeling perfect. I promise that my cousin who’s been in and out of all kinds of trouble felt as loved as my cousins who went to college or started a business or did any other thing that the rest of the world would call great.
Being perfect and doing things perfectly are two different things. We may make mistakes, but we are perfect and tomorrow we will simply be a better version of our perfect self. We will learn and grow from our mistakes and our successes.
And because we feel perfect and deeply loved, we want to reflect love and possibility. We want to share with others. This reciprocity makes it certain that the world becomes a place. We create the good condition for all beings.
So try on this truth. Let yourself feel perfect. Recognize that everyday you are a better version of perfect than the day before. Look around, see perfection in others and give them a chance to be a better version of perfect each day. The more you reflect good, the more good will show up in your life.
Make it a perfect day. Perfection is your birthright.
© Sandra Y. Lewis