Everyone has a view of themselves, and a view of other people. Generally speaking, you will think that you’re an ok person or a not ok person. The same goes for your views about other people. You will either think other people are ok, or they are not ok.
Before you read any further, have a think about that. Think about how you view yourself. Are you ok? Or are you not ok?
Now, think about how you view other people. Do you see other people (generally speaking) inherently as ok? Or as not ok? And please note, for this, this is not about specific situations, or events, or specific things people have done, but people as their whole being.
And yes, it may differ for different people, in different moods, in different situations, but connect most to your true self, in your most ‘normal’ mood and go from there.
Transactional Analysis is an approach used by some therapists and part of it’s base is this view of how we view ourselves and other people and therefore, how this affects our life, our interactions, our behaviours, emotions, relationships and pretty much everything we do. Now you can see why I asked you to think about things before you read any further.
Let’s have a look at what these perspectives may mean.
‘I’m OK, You’re OK’– This is the ideal perspective to have. This will allow you healthy relationships. You will have good self esteem and self worth and see people as inherently ok. That view of other people being ok means that you can look for the reasons behind behaviour and have empathy. It doesn’t mean that things will always be easy, but you will have the resources to work through it and not let anything from outside of you really get into you.
‘I’m OK, You’re Not OK’– This is when you see yourself as ok and that other people are inherently not ok. You might see yourself as ‘above’ other people, or better than them. You might judge people or treat people differently based on intelligence, success, physical features or something else that you feel better than them about. Often, someone you sit with this perspective then it can mean that you’ve struggled with not feeling good enough, or not feeling empowered, or missing something else at some point in the past. If someone is here then it often means that that person has struggled in the past and has things to work through. If you do connect to this one, have a think about what you need to heal.
‘I’m Not OK, You’re OK’– If you’re here then you don’t feel good about yourself, and you will likely have low self-esteem, low self-worth and low self-confidence. Alongisde feeling bad about yourself, you see other people as inherently ‘ok’. You might feel that you’re the one at fault for things, or that you’re responsible if things happen to other people. You might also be someone who tries really hard to please people or to prove that you are ‘good enough’. You might also struggle with anxiety about people or yourself around people. This can be quite an exhausting place to be but there is so much potential for you to get to a place where you see yourself as ‘ok’. Yes, there will be some work you need to do in some way, but it will be worth it. You are worth it.
‘I’m Not OK, You’re Not OK’– This is a painful place to be. You feel bad about yourself and you feel the same about other people. Most likely you don’t trust other people and you may not even trust yourself. It’s also possible you don’t like people generally, and you’ve probably, at some point, been let down by someone who really matters/ed to you and haven’t yet healed that pain. You might struggle with anger or anxiety when around people, or you might isolate and withdraw, but you will likely spend a lot of time feelings low. This stance can be changed, same as the others, and it will be a journey to work through the pain that caused you to feel this way, but it is doable.
Having read all that, what do you think?
Did it make sense to you?
Do you agree with what you first thought?
Are you where you want to be?
Are there any changes you need to make?
What about other people in your life? Where do you think they sit? How do you feel about that?
As therapists, we always need to sit at ‘I’m OK, You’re OK’, and it is that safe environment and perspective that allows us to journey with people in a healing way on their therapeutic journeys.