“It is not possible to assure the future.
We can only lose the present.”

Due to the many very kind comments I received on Twitter and Facebook about “Letters to Me/ The Inner Compass” and some of the concepts that the book includes, I decided to share ideas of the Chapter 17, in which I talk about the Life Script, commands and permissions, on this post and the next one. We will start with some of these commands, which will be completed and opposed with permissions we deserve, by the second part in a future post. Thank you all!

“Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you.

From your ability to create change in yourself and in your circumstances.

Your ability and willingness to move from effect to cause.

And above all, of your determination to assume the direction of your life making changes and sacrifices necessary to do so.

For the attainment of true freedom comes when we are able to give up what we are in favour of what we can become.

But how do you envision what we can become?

To answer this question we need to talk about movies, characters and, especially, scripts…

Bet that when you go to the movies and see a good film, at the end of it you need a few seconds to be in you. If the film has touched you, tears will still be in your eyes. If it has caused you anger, you will still have a clenched jaw. If you have watched heroes and battles, you will feel able to go out and conquer the world… Before you know it you got into the character, it’s gotten deep into your skin, you have identified yourself with it, that is, you make yours their identity and circumstances, their dramas, their joys, their adventures and misadventures…

Well, long ago, Dr. Eric Berne observed that all the people that came in the process of psychological therapy with him, were acting on what he called a “life script “, which is like the preset plot of a play the person feels obliged to represent, whether being or not identified with the character. And that is when one is playing out a scenario and what we are doing is to act according to the definition of the character that has been written by another. Consequently, if you want to remain that character you cannot get out of the script, because if you do, you feel that no longer have a role in the play, a role in life…

How do you create the script of a person’s life ?

It is established by the child during his childhood, influenced especially by parental figures: mother, father and other people accompanying the process of growing up: grandparents, teachers, older siblings, etc. This script is reinforced by the different experiences and events that the child is living as he grows up.

Fortunately, life scripts (like when a film is to be written) are not closed, but may be modified. This is not easy, and it is achieved as a result of a process of awareness, of an observation of oneself and a finding of which elements or threads move the character that eventually is manifested as a result of all acquired conditionings, especially of the usual “noes” every child gets and that determine his position in life. This, when developed, would be what some psychologists call “commands”.

According to Dr. Berne, these commands are the messages that affect the child (mostly non-verbal) and are repeated day after day by their parents or by people who have a strong emotional impact on him, or because of an exceptionally experienced as dramatic circumstances.

Berne and other experts on life scripts have identified a number of basic commands. We present seven out of the fourteen below (the rest will be described on the next post).

These limiting commands include statements like:

1. “Do not exist and do not live, do not be”. It is certainly the most destructive of all, because it tends to override all the possibilities of the individual. It is communicated through behaviours such as: leaving the child or infant on his own for a long time, mocking him when injured or in danger, looking down on him contemptuously, not touching or stroking him… In short, not recognizing him, ignoring or trivializing their existence.

2. “Do not be what you are or do not be yourself”. A person of a different sex, a different appearance, with a better body, taller… Children who are forced into a position desired by their parents which differs from their own nature.

3. “Do not make it”. It occurs as a result of a great fear of parents to achieve themselves, to success, to realize their own goals.

4. “You cannot know” (or “you cannot do it”). This is the case of parents who consistently disregard the achievements of their children comparing them with other children, with adults or with them.

5. “Stay away”. It usually shows at the difficulty of parents to maintain physical contact and give affection to their children. This behaviour leads to a feeling of isolation, of not belonging, in difficulties in establishing friendships or intimate relationships…

6. “Do not belong”. Very sadly, it is seen in people who choose not to relate to anyone. Usually it is a defense mechanism in panic or pain over the rejection or acceptance of others.

7. “Do not grow up”. When parents prevent the child to assume tasks and functions of their natural psychological and physical development. Parents who overprotect their children or do it all for them, creating a dependency even when the child becomes an adult himself. Here is the Peter Pan complex, for which the person and now chronologically adult stays with a childish attitude towards life, refusing to grow up psychologically: showing an hedonistic and overly childish behaviour, a lack of sense of responsibility, inability for independent living and disability to make decisions that involve commitment.

No wonder that with such messages castrating our life script we feel conditioned, immobilized, locked in doubt. Many people believe they belong to these commands, that they are part of them intrinsically.

They do not give themselves permission to be, to live.

That is the key to transformation, to allow, to listen to ourselves and to allow ourselves, too.

Do you inhibit yourself, do you believe in any of these commands? A deep reflection on which of these conditions we drag will lead us to understand which permissions we need.

Let’s consider it, to resolve it at the end of this Solution, on the next post.

I wish you a happy week,

Álex Rovira

Alex Rovira