Life positions: I’m Ok and your Ok.
In light of supporting young people with issues around social exclusion, because of differences, it seems maybe poignant to think about the idea of projection and objectification in relation to the prejudices that play a huge role in social exclusion. Many a time people may not even be aware of there own stuff, their own prejudices and that they may actually be projecting these out unconsciously.
Such a clear and easy way to check our own stuff out, in relation to our own internal prejudices, is to do a bit of simple Transactional Analysis, so easy and accessible, for everyone. It’s possible to do this using the life positions, ‘I’m Ok and your Ok’ concept.
When you think of someone in a particular way, either in a particular situation related to you and them or generally overall in your life with them, there maybe several internal mental positions you can view them from.
1. I am not ok and your are not ok. This can be a situation of life view where you see things as hopeless all round you in relation to someone else. You can’t cope and neither can others. This is the give up position and generally speaking is the most dysfunctional way of looking at any situation of life position as there is always hope and if things are not working between yourself and others then there is always something that can be done to improve it.
2. I am not ok but your are ok. This can be the victim position. It can be a life position of feeling unworthy, sometimes unloved, a failure and needing others to rescue or put down. This can have a few payoffs for those experiencing it but is still generally a dysfunctional perspective as it leaves the person feeling less than. It also requires others to either put the person down or rescue them. It can be the bully- victim position or the victim-rescuer position. Often this can be found in codependent relationships.
3. I am Ok and you are not ok. As I mentioned above this can either be the bully position or the rescuer position, to more or lesser degree, if acted out. It can sometimes be the narcissistic view that we are much more than those around us and therefore they are not equal to us.
We all have a narcissistic view of ourselves to some degree if we are healthy, as we have to love ourselves and believe we are special to some degree. However the ‘I am ok and you are not ok’ is different, it is dysfunctional in as much as it lack empathy for others, it’s isolating for those around and the person who is seeing themselves from this superior life position.Maybe in the recognition that to view life in this way discounts the fact that the person viewing life from this stance has not come to understand empathy and that others around them may have something that they can learn from, a sense of true connection with others.
4. I am Ok your Ok is the position where we have a broader perspective on any relating we do in life, whether broadly or more specifically. This relating has empathy for others and a fundamental awareness, at its roots, that we are all equal and non of us a more worthy than others, no matter what the difference is. I have this below below in more detail.
We are all ok
Non prejudiced relating usually come from the ‘I am ok and your are ok’ position. This can be found in many healthy, more equal relationships, including genuine friendships. However it can also be found in other important roles in society, that do at theirs roots have some more helper, being helped dynamics to them such as teacher- pupil or nurse-patient. When we are in a healthy relationship with anyone we can usually see their uniqueness, either their ability or potential to be what we cannot be as well as their difficulties in achieving what can achieve easily or have the potential too. Something here to think about is that, it is probably true to say that we are not always equal in our capacity to do things as well as everyone. However when we accept that we are all different, with different strengths and weaknesses, then this contributes to our ability to celebrate diversity and we can find that place to feel ‘I am ok and you are ok.’
In some cases we may see that an individual is very challenged in there ability to achieve what we find so easy. However with such individuals, it is theirs strength in working with these issues, issues we may find easy, that is an ability they have, that we have not had the ability to experience yet and therefor achieve and this is a significant strength, a major strength which includes some the most positive life attributes such as perseverance and resilience. So maybe in this it can be seen that we can all take a page from someone else’s book, something from others life perspectives, knowledge and experience. In this can I affirm that I am ok and you are ok, we are all ok.