Looking at the timeline of my life, relationships have been the only strongest influence to decide where I am today, who I have become, and the course of my life in general. Relationships have turned out to be the most important thing and ironically I was never educated about them. I learned about it from making traumatic mistakes, because that was the only way I knew. I learned so of the most important lessons when it was too late to do anything about it. We just go with the flow when it comes to relationships. We do what we think is supposed to be done, we interpret things on false grounds, we communicate without understanding communication styles, we play games, we have ego wars, and even after staying with someone we rarely know their personality. And still we somehow “manage” to get by and have good relationships, but at a lot of costs. It is true no matter how much you learn you will always have challenges, but it should not stop us from learning. It is also true that some bits of information do us more good than others. So it is not necessary to learn everything (because we cant) but rather learn things that truly produce exceptional results. So today I am sharing with you one such idea. It comes from psychoanalytical psychotherapy called, Transactional Analysis developed by Eric Berne.
This model is called Life Positions in Transactional Analysis. You can learn about it in great detail in the book “I’m OK you are OK” by Thomas Anthony Harris. There is a very soothing feeling to just think about the idea that you are OK the way you are, and people are OK the way they are. In my experience, I have found the teenage years to be the most important in which I learned things about myself and others. I used to live with my uncles and they were strict. Strict to the degree that they would taunt me and tear off my esteem if I did something other than what they wished for. This was the case with not only something serious (I get that) but with something as stupid and petty as I sat on the chair. I WAS ALWAYS WRONG in their eyes. I don’t know why but that was the case. You see they were living in the quadrant “I am ok you are not ok” in which I was they and you were me. It wasn’t until 2 years ago I discovered this model that I was having low self-esteem. I always put my legal guardians on a pedestal and myself below them. At one time I even regarded them as gods (they must have got a good ego boost) literally. I said to them the words “uncle, I don’t believe the idols people worship, I believe in you, you are my god because you took care of me when my parents couldn’t.” (and because of this they took my advantage for years, played manipulative shit games on me). What has been your experience with your parents? Let me know in the comments I’d love to hear your story.
That model is self-explanatory once you understand the fact that you should be naturally in the “I’m OK you’re OK” quadrant. If you are not, you will by default have bad relationship patterns. I have explained that quadrant in this 2-year-old video below. But my aim in the article is to list the benefits of just being aware of the model, recalling it from time to time, and just keeping it in my mind. I didn’t do anything extraordinary. I just repeat to myself “it is ok” “everything is ok” or “I am OK, you are OK” or “what I feel right now is OK” or something along the lines.
Benefits (how it improved my life)
Here is my contemplation, a list of benefits I have enjoyed just by repeating the line to myself when it would pop-up in the field of my consciousness “I am ok”
- increased calmness and equanimity
- easy acceptance of the situation
- sense of grounded-ness and security
- comfort in own thinking
- validation of how I feel
- openness to others’ perspectives
- decreased need to argue, prove or validate
- increased humility
- increased willingness to understand and listen
- increased confidence in self and higher worth
- calmer communication
- increased awareness of emotions and mental state
- decrease in validation-seeking behaviour
- decrease in relationship conflicts
- increased appreciation of self, others and differences
- increased understanding of messed up shit in self
- increased compassion for self
- path of least resistance
- awareness of shallowness in ego games
Exercise: close your eyes and after 2 deep breathes, repeat to yourself as much as you find comfortable – “I am OK the way I am and the way I feel”
By now you must have understood what life positions are, how to use them, and why to entertain this model itself. Apart from the fact this is a therapeutic model of problem-solving, it is a great philosophical idea and a spiritual practice as well. Just be OK. Accept. I want to know what do you think about this model? How will you commit to this idea? What has been your experience with this model if you already knew about it?