Scripting 103: Your Scripted Life Position

Scripting 103 Competencies:

Be able to explain

  1. What your scripted life position is and why
  2. How to help others identify their life position.
  3. Be able to explain to others why understanding their life position is important.
  4. Strategies for changing your life position
  5. How your scripted life position affects who you think you are, your relationships, your decisions, and your dreams
  6. How your life position can support or block your access to both the transpersonal and the sacred

Scripting 103 Learning Objectives:

Understand, at an overview level: The four life positions Reasons for maintaining any life position Reasons for maintaining each life position Resistances to changing each life position General strategies for changing your life position Strategies for changing each life position

What are the four life positions?

The term “Ok” in the Transactional Analysis related to a person being good. Often Ok is also abbreviated with a + and a not-ok with a -. The two dimensions can be combined. This results in four different life positions. Eric Berne said that every fate relies on one of these four positions. They represent the basic attitude we take when it comes to what value we give ourselves or others. A) “I am OK, You are not OK.” B) “I am not OK, You are OK.”           C) “I am OK, You are OK.” D) “I am not OK, You are not OK.”


Example: Daniela arrives at a seminar. Other people are already sitting in the room. Her first thoughts may vary according to the four basic life positions she may have. For example:

  • “I’m curious about what the group will bring to the table.” (+/+)
  • “Weird people sitting in the room.” (+/-)
  • “They are all more qualified than I am.” (-/+)
  • “This won’t turn out good for any of us.” (-/-) (a massive feeling of desperation will spread)

The first + or – stands for your own basic position, the second sign  stands for the other person, in this example “the group”. In everyday life, we move back and forth between the four basic positions of life. However, we have a preferred position. Our favorite basic position, so to speak. This preferred view on life is part of our life script.

The “I’m Not Okay, You’re Okay” Script:

When you are experiencing life via the assumptions of this script, you see yourself as not being worthy, while viewing others as competent and worthy. Relatively speaking, you are a hopeless failure and others succeed where you fail. This can lead to submissive or self-sacrificing behavior, and you may then seek out relationships with dominant or critical individuals. The life assumptions buried in this assumption is closely related to the role of Victim in the Drama Triangle. When we are locked in this perspective on life we are looking for someone or something to rescue us: true love, the right job, a vacation, drugs, alcohol, sex, media.This life position, if played on a “third degree” level, will earn you a life of living under the thumb of a spouse, boss, or social order, whining about how unfair life is.

The “I’m Okay, You’re Not Okay” Script:

When you are operating under the assumptions of this script you will tend to have a superiority complex. You will assume you and yours are exceptional. You will believe they are competent, capable, and of high moral intent while others are either less so or not at all. This corrosive assumption, closely related to the Persecutor role in the Drama Triangle, easily results in condescending or critical behavior. The innate sense of superiority makes it both difficult and unlikely that close or authentic relationships will be formed or last. This perspective, if played on a “third degree” level, will earn you a trip to the hospital, jail, or morgue.

The “I’m Not Okay, You’re Not Okay” Script:

When you are experiencing life via the assumptions of this script you view both yourself and others as inadequate or flawed. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, and a tendency to withdraw from social interactions. This is another variety of victimization in the Drama Triangle, but this time without the belief rescuing is possible. In terms of depression it is similar to the differences between exogenous and endogenous varieties and between anxious/angry depressions and powerless, inert depressions. This script leads to social and mental withdrawal, and perhaps psychosis and a trip to the psych ward.

The “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” Script:

When you are experiencing life via the assumptions of this script you view both yourself and others with respect, deal with them on the basis of reciprocity and mutual trust, and attempt to empathize with their life circumstances. This perspective strives for balance and leads to healthy relationships and effective communication. It is a “win/win” position that believes, “when you win, I win.” It is about getting on with a task and life rather than dwelling in the past or fearing the future, As a life position, it most closely resembles life outside the Drama Triangle. As a life position, it is most likely to generate health, balance and meaningful, lasting transformation. It is important to recognize that in any particular set of life circumstances we are more or less in all four positions at the same time. Think of it as a “blob” in the center of the four quadrants that is more present in one or two of the quadrants when you are happy, sad, scared, angry, confused, or feeling guilty. The object of the game then, is to get the blob spending most of its time, with most of its mass, in the “I’m OK you’re OK” quadrant.

What are the reasons for maintaining any life position?

Familiarity and Comfort: We are often resistant to change because our existing life script, no matter how dysfunctional, is familiar and provides a sense of comfort. Changing may mean stepping into the unknown, which can be anxiety-provoking. In IDL, interviewing takes us out of the familiar and the comfortable but in ways that make sense and generally “fit,” meaning we have less resistance to change. 

Fear of the Unknown: The uncertainty that comes with changing our life script can trigger fear. We may be afraid of what lies ahead and may prefer the predictability of our current script, even if it is limiting. IDL interviewing teaches us to move toward what we fear, thereby learning that our fear is often a misperception of emerging potentials that are nurturing and supportive.

Social and Cultural Conditioning: Societal and cultural influences play a significant role in shaping our scripts. We may resist changing our scripts because we fear going against societal norms or expectations. Interviewed emerging potentials are not socially and culturally conditioned in the ways and to the extent that you and I, that is, our waking sense of who we are, are.

Self-Identity and Ego: The life script contributes to our sense of identity. Changing our script may challenge core beliefs about ourselves, leading to resistance driven by ego preservation. The sense of identity of interviewed perspectives often differs in important ways to our own but at the same time generally does not trigger a desire for self-preservation. This is because of the sensibility and applicability of what they say. 

Secondary Gain: Sometimes, we receive secondary benefits from maintaining our current life script. These benefits may include sympathy, attention, or avoiding responsibility. The fear of losing these secondary gains can be a strong resistance to change. Secondary gains are real and important. Integral Deep Listening helps to unearth our secondary gains and objectify them, weighing them against the priorities of our emerging potentials and our life compass. This makes a choice to risk foregoing our secondary gains easier. 

Guilt and Shame: We may harbor guilt or shame associated with past decisions or behaviors. Changing the life script may require confronting and addressing these feelings, which can be emotionally challenging. Very rarely do interviewed perspectives use guilt and shame. Instead, they tend to offer relatively objective explanations for behaviors we feel shame or guilt about. This teaches us to do the same – to stand back and look at our past decisions and behavior objectively rather than to complicate change by self-blame. 

Lack of Awareness: We may be unaware of our life script or the need for change. Denial or avoidance of self-awareness can be a significant barrier to recognizing the need for script transformation. Clearly, a major benefit of IDL interviewing is to bring awareness of both our life script and very personal and authentic reasons why changing it is beneficial for us. In addition, the various IDL educational modules on life script are designed to bring into the light and objectivity of our waking awareness previously unrecognized or examined script decisions. 

Lack of Skills or Resources: Changing a life script often involves acquiring new skills, perspectives, or coping mechanisms. If you feel ill-equipped to navigate these changes, you may resist taking the necessary steps. What skills or resources do you need to change your life script? The IDL Sangha is there to help you find them. 

Resistance from Others: Family, friends, or social circles may resist changes in your life script, consciously or unconsciously. This external resistance can create additional challenges for you. We are all surrounded by people who think they know who we are and resist seeing us in a new light. We fit into their lives in an entrenched and comfortable way, regardless of the degree of realism – or lack of it – of their assumptions about us. When we do IDL interviewing both for ourselves and for others we generate both interior, intrasocial, and exterior, social support systems that counteract resistance from family, friends, work colleagues, and others. 

Cognitive Dissonance: We may experience discomfort when our beliefs and behaviors are inconsistent. Changing our life script requires resolving this cognitive dissonance, which can be a challenging process. IDL interviewing of resistance and cognitive dissonance itself reframes them as nurturing and supportive rather than as adversarial. 

What are the reasons for maintaining each of the four life positions? 

I’m Not OK, You’re OK: If you find yourself experiencing this life position a lot, first rule out the possibility that you often experienced situations where you felt inadequate or unworthy during your formative years. This could result from critical or unsupportive caregivers or an environment that fostered a negative self-view. As a consequence, you may seek validation and approval from others, feeling that you are not inherently okay on your own.

I’m OK, You’re Not OK: If you are experiencing this life position, it may stem from experiences where you felt a need to establish superiority as a coping mechanism. That may have been how your role models dealt with life. You might have grown up in an environment where it was “normal” to look down upon others as inadequate or flawed. Or, this life position could be a result of overly critical or demanding parents, leading to a belief that you could only feel okay by amplifying the weaknesses and inadequacies of others so that you could feel superior, and therefore OK, by comparison.

I’m Not OK, You’re Not OK: When you find yourself in this life position it may be due to having experienced consistent negative reinforcement and a lack of emotional support during your childhood. It may be a response to trauma, neglect, or significant adversity. The belief that both yourself and others are fundamentally flawed can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. It’s important to remember that while beliefs may feel and sound true, they are merely beliefs. Beliefs are prepersonal, pre-rational assumptions that need to be validated by objective, rational data to have any credibility. Many beliefs, like metaphysical and spiritual ones, are very difficult to support with evidence that passes the empirical sniff test. That doesn’t mean that such beliefs are false; it just means that they are highly subjective and are valued for other than rational reasons. This does not mean that we cannot come up with rational reasons for prepersonal beliefs; it means that those rational reasons may satisfy us but still not have any standing in a broader, more objective investigative audience. 

I’m OK, You’re OK: If you have naturally hung out in this life position most of your life you likely experienced positive and nurturing interactions during your early years. You received affirming messages about your worth and capabilities that were based on accomplishments and acquired skill sets as well as your innate beingness. Healthy relationships and positive reinforcement also contribute in many important ways to the development of a confident and optimistic self-view. Those that maintain a presence in this life position feel secure in themselves and are generally open to positive interactions with others.

What are common resistances we face in changing each life position? 

I’m OK, You’re OK: The major resistance here is fear of vulnerability/intimacy. No matter how much positive self-worth you have and how much you value and respect others, you can still resist change out of a normal and natural fear of opening yourself up to vulnerability. The challenge is to surface and neutralize worries that acknowledging your imperfections or expressing vulnerability could jeopardize your perceived strength or competence. Also, inherited, built-in cognitive biases generate misperceptions of others, our environment, and ourselves regardless of our life position. So while developing and maintaining this life position is important, it is no guarantee that we will not be confronted by intimidating challenges from others, life, and within ourselves. 

I’m OK, You’re Not OK: When you are in this life position your major resistance is likely to be self-preservation. Admitting that others are okay challenges the need for superiority, which can become deeply ingrained in our self-concept, often as a compensation for an underlying fear that people will discover how inadequate we really are. The fear of losing a sense of superiority can create resistance.

I’m Not OK, You’re OK: When and if you experience life as if you are a failure or powerless, you may resist changing, because acknowledging your own worth and OK-ness independently of others involves confronting deep-seated fears of rejection. The belief that others are OK provides a sense of safety and external validation that changing may threaten. This perspective puts others in the position of Rescuers in the Drama Triangle; you are dependent on the nurturing and support of others because you lack the strength, ability, knowledge, confidence, or power to make it on your own. Of course, there is truth to that; we need each other; we develop on the shoulders of others. The difference is between a dependency that locks you into a perpetual Victim role in the Drama Triangle and others into a perpetual Rescuer role, on the one hand, and the cultivation of an interdependency, in which you can ask for and receive nurturance and support without basing your sense of self-worth on others. 

I’m Not OK, You’re Not OK: When you find yourself in this life position you may resist change because you find comfort in nihilism. The experience of hopelessness and helplessness has become both familiar and comfortable. It is both safe in its isolation and powerful, in that no one and nothing can make you feel worse, since you are already at the bottom. Breaking out of this Victim script requires motivation that hopeless and helpless people typical lack. There can also be a fear of losing a sense of identity built around shared Victimization.

What are some useful strategies for changing your life position?

Story editing”  The objective of story editing is to defuse harmful, possibly self-defining experiences that can cue defeating, destructive thinking or behavior. The technique can actually be most powerful as a strategy for dealing with broad social experiences, teenage pregnancy, violence, and substance abuse; racial prejudice in schools; PTSD, and can dismantle destructive cultural views.

Learn to become more open and flexible This is easier said than done! However, one easy tool is to ask questions to gain more information instead of reacting with your opinion. You can do that later, and your response will be more informed, more flexible. This is one of the reasons why IDL interviewing is a questioning procedure. 

Adopt a learning mindset You are already doing this by pursuing IDL Certification. Gaining information and asking “why?” are fundamental to developing a learning mindset. Reflect on your current life position. Identify patterns of thinking and behavior that align with one of the four positions.

Assume what you feel and think are choices you make and you can change Pay attention to your internal dialogue and thoughts about yourself and others. Remember: “Don’t believe everything you think!” All beliefs are choices and thoughts we have created. For example, if you think change is scary, hard or difficult, it will be. Start choosing to believe change is something that serves you. For example, you can choose to believe “change is easy,” “change is fun” or “change brings me amazing opportunities.” When you choose your perspective, you can easily rewire your internal system around change.

Challenge Negative Beliefs: Question negative beliefs about yourself and others. Are these beliefs based on facts or assumptions?Replace negative thoughts with more positive and realistic ones.

Realize that anger, confusion, self-doubt, and resistance are all responses to some underlying fear Ask yourself, “If I were afraid of something regarding this resistance, what might it be? Then give whatever it is a color and shape and interview it.

Accept your resistance to change as natural, not as an enemy to fight Interviewing your resistances will teach you to do this.

Find the strength within your resistance IDL encourages you to associate a feeling with your resistance and then turn it into an object or animal to interview. By doing so you reframe the source of your resistance into a strength.  Set realistic goals that are in alignment with your emerging potentials and life compass. You discover these through the interviewing process and working with the recommendations made by interviewed dream characters and personifications of life issues. Establish achievable goals that align with a more positive life script. Clarify your intent and remind yourself of it by repeating it to yourself: This is one reason why IDL uses the development of a Statement of Intent as one of the four transformative modules of its Coaching, Practitioner, and Trainer curricula. 

Access Your IDL Support Community: Coaches, Practitioners, Trainers Consider seeking therapy with a qualified practitioner. They can help you explore and understand your life position, providing guidance for change.

Mindfulness, Meditation, and Pranayama Practice mindfulness to become more aware of your thoughts without judgment. Meditation can help you detach from negative thought patterns. IDL Pranayama anchors your identity in your body, not in your familial and socio-cultural scripting, while anchoring your intention to the round of each breath. 

Develop Healthy Relationships: Surround yourself with supportive and positive individuals. IDL interviewing and team study generates a powerful Sangha that supports and validates the priorities of your emerging potentials and life compass. Work at strengthening your relationship with your other, intrasocial Sangha: that support community made up of the perspectives that you interview that provide objectivity toward your scripting and point you toward higher order healing, balancing, and transformation. 

What are some useful strategies for changing each of the four life positions?

I’m OK, You’re OK: One strategy for changing the fear of vulnerability associated with an “I’m OK, You’re OK” life script is to foster a safe and supportive environment. IDL does this with its concepts of two “Sanghas,” or transpersonal support communities. The first Sangha is made up of your study partners and those with whom you do mutual interviewing. The object here is to create a support system based on healing, balancing, and transformation rather than life scripts, drama, and groupthink. The second Sangha is comprised of your interviewed dream characters and personifications of your life issues, together expressing emerging potentials that point you toward the priorities of your life compass.  By stating life issues at the beginning of every interview we share our vulnerabilities, parts of our lives that are not whole or complete and which we are yet to resolve. Interviewing and IDL create safe spaces for expressing vulnerability. Interviewing demonstrates that acknowledging imperfections is a strength, not a weakness, because the process provides realistic reframings and concrete, helpful recommendations for moving beyond our stuckness. IDL strengthens this position by teaching the life skills of each of the ten components of its curriculum.

I’m OK, You’re Not OK,”  The basic strategy for changing too much emphasis on self-preservation, a foundational resistance of “I’m OK, You’re Not OK,” is to develop humility and empathy. To begin, emphasize the recognition of our shared humanity and the understanding that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Empathy can be fostered by encouraging perspective-taking and recognizing that superiority doesn’t necessarily lead to genuine connection. Promote a growth mindset that values learning from others. Turning trash cans and fire trucks into mentors, as IDL interviewing, has a way of teaching humility, empathy, and multi-perspectivalism, all skill sets that help us move out of “I’m OK, You’re Not OK,”

I’m Not OK, You’re OK”  “I’m Not OK, You’re OK” is associated with fear of rejection as a major resistance. The strategy here is to cultivate self-acceptance and internal validation. Many people grow up getting validation and self-worth from what they do, not from who they are. That means that they have to compete, perform, achieve, succeed, and get acknowledged for it in order to feel OK. This can put them on something of a hamster wheel, in which they have to continuously “perform,” and perform better in order to feel OK.  All of the ten core competencies of the IDL curriculum are designed to generate a healthy sense of self based on both being and doing. By working through the curriculum one exercises and strengthens “muscles” that are foundational for continuing self and collective development. By working with other team members and getting the support of both interior and external Sanghas, intrinsic self-worth becomes stronger. You strengthen a positive self-image based on their intrinsic worth, rather than seeking external validation while outgrowing the belief that your worth is dependent on others’ opinions by fostering internal validation and self-love.

I’m Not OK, You’re Not OK”  The “I’m Not OK, You’re Not OK” life position has as a fundamental source of resistance a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness. The basic strategy here is to introduce realistic reasons for hope and provide circumstances where the expression of personal power produces positive results. This is different from repeating positive affirmations or setting unrealistically high goals. Both of those approaches either feel phony or lack realism. Interviewing distances us from our identification with this or that life position by reframing life issues via the perspectives of interviewed emerging potentials. These broader reframings produce realistic reasons for hope and a sense of connection with inner resources that lift us up out of a sense of powerlessness. This process is gradual and incremental, which is essential, if the shifting of life position is to be authentic, grounded in ongoing experience, and lasting. 

How your life position can support or block your access to both the transpersonal and the sacred

A “I’m not OK” life script can rule out any experiences of oneness with nature, divinity, the formless, or the non-dual. If they do come, they are misperceived or discounted, because they are incompatible with your life script. A “You’re not OK” life script can set up a discriminatory hierarchy between elect sheep and damned goats. Because others represent aspects of ourselves, such a rejectionist hierarchy means that we can only suppose states of oneness, since we refuse to accept and integrate those aspects of ourselves.

Assignments and Homework


There’s no place like home

Overcoming a really crappy childhood

Overcoming a Really Crappy Childhood


Uncovering Your Life Script:

Uncovering your life position Games, the Drama Triangle, and Your Life Script:

How Scripted “Acceptable” Feelings Create an Inauthentic Script


Do the perspectives you interview present different life positions? If so, which ones? Look for the life positions in the characters of others that you interview.

Trade interviews of both dreams and life issues with one or more partner once a week. What life position(s) are most commonly reflected by your dreams? What does the feedback and recommendations made by your interviewed characters relate to those life positions?


  1. Write down your answers to the following questions.
  2. Share your answers with your other study team members.
  3. Discuss.
  4. Submit your written answers.

In what life situations are you most likely to find yourself in each of these “I’m OK/I’m Not OK” life positions? How do you feel when you are in each of them? What do you usually do when you are in each of these life positions? What strategies do you try to get out? What blocks you? When you don’t succeed, why not? What can you do about that in the future? What does your life position have to do with scripting? How do these four life positions show up in your relationships? How do these four life positions show up in your thinking? How do these four life positions show up in your dreams? Describe when you are most likely to find yourself in each of the four life positions. Describe how you react to people who are in each of the four life positions. What do you want to do about that? What do these four life positions have to do with your healing, balancing, and transformation? What do these four life positions have to do with each of the ten IDL Certification modules? How can you use this knowledge in your personal development? How can you use it in your coaching practice? How would you rate the usefulness of this unit 0-10? Why? How can it be improved?

Setting Intent:

What do you want to take away from this unit to improve your life?

How would you like it to influence your dreams tonight?

How can you format that as a statement of intention to read over to remind yourself, before you go to sleep, to incubate in your dreams tonight?

Course Information

Course Instructor

Joseph Dillard Joseph Dillard Author

This course does not have any sections.

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