I’m not OK, you’re not OK – and that’s OK. William Sloane Coffin
The quote is an antithesis of the well-known book titled I am Ok You Are OK by Dr. Thomas A Harris. While Dr. Harris’s book is a practical guide to the concept of Transactional Analysis, and its applicability in real life; William Sloane possibly further simplified the whole concept in stating that in real life, a not ok condition is a perfectly acceptable reality.
When examined in its bare form, the statement I am not ok refers to the condition where the protagonist opines and feels that he/ she is not aligned with the world around. This could mean that the person has by and large an outpouring of negative emotion, is not happy, is disturbed, , has strong views, cannot appreciate another point of view and in short marches to a different drummer. From a psychologist’s point of view there could be numerous reasons for it, but what is relevant in the context of the quote above is the fact that there is a distinct feeling of ‘non alignment’ or ‘incongruence’ with the ways of the world or the norms of the world.
Similarly the You are not OK refers to the view point of the outside world by the protagonist, where he /s he visualizes the norms of others not aligned to his/ her own way of seeing things. It could also be a view that others don’t seem to understand my point of view and so they are not in sync with my thought process, my values and my appreciation of life. It is possible that often the outside world cannot understand what drives people to do things that by the norms of the world are rash, stupid or irrational e.g. when a person chucks up a fabulous career to relocate to pursue what is the persons passion like wildlife conservation or rural education.
The message in the statement is simply this ‘ I can coexist with the world with whom I don’t see eye to eye and so too can they live with me, without agreeing with me and there is nothing unusual about it for the world is full of paradoxes.’
Remember: Man is a normal neurotic.
- If you had a passion in childhood and proclaimed that you were going to pursue it, can you recollect the reactions to it? How many of them encouraged you? How of them dissuaded you? How many of them passionately believed you could achieve your dreams?
- Choose two – three people whom you know well but cannot seem to tolerate them. It could be their behavior, their view point or simply their presence that upsets you. Objectively examine the reasons for your dislike of that person. Can you try to rationalize why they behave the way they are? Do you now think you can tolerate them a little more?
This post is courtesy www.actspot.com
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