Discuss the concept of Life Positions.

The concept of life positions is another basic idea from transnational analysis theory. Life positions works with the assumption that we choose very early on in our life, before age two, a basic stance towards ourselves and other people. Life positions represents the fundamental stance a person takes about the essential value he or she perceives in him or herself and other people. This approach constructs the following classification of the four possible lives positions:

I’m not OK, you’re OK.

This is the position we all begin in, according to Harris. Our life is sustained by others, so they are OK. When young, we are weak and unable to do many things others can do, so we feel “not OK.” If we are repeatedly put down, if we are taught we are sinful, or if we become severe self-critics, we may take the “I’m not OK” attitude with us throughout life. If so, we run a risk of being anxious, depressed, and passive and, in general, a loser.

I’m not OK, you’re not OK.

This is a position of those who lose interest in living. They feel that life is full of frustrations and exhibit schizoid behaviour. In extreme cases, persons with this life position commit suicide or homicide. Those persons who were ignored by their parents in their early life and brought up by their servants usually take this position.

I’m OK, you’re not OK.

This is a self-centered, self-serving position. If parents are unduly harsh, negligent, inconsistent or irrational, one learns that others are uncaring, unfair or unsupportive, i.e. “not OK.” Such a person may certainly feel he/she is better than others, maybe even superior. They are likely to be distrustful, aloof, and unconcerned with helping others. They may, take from others without feeling guilty they may insult others; they may avoid or hurt others.

I’m OK, you’re OK.

This is the only healthy attitude. The .”adult” must be realistic, aware, and tolerant but in control of the “child” and the “parent.” A person with such an orientation feels positive they are winners.

You can see the crucial role that interpersonal relations play in determining what we are like, personality-wise. In Transnational Analysis, your life position is related to the “Life Script” you follow throughout life and the “Games” you play constantly with others.

Your “child’s” view of life as being positive or negative is related to your script being for a “winner” or a “loser.” Our life script not only unconsciously controls the role we play but it also manipulates others into playing the roles needed for our script.

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