In life, we play many roles, we have a multitude of responsibilities and for all of us there is some serious juggling taking place.
For example, I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a teacher, a business partner, a coach, a writer, a co-worker and a leader. Phew!
But you know what? We are not the roles we play. We are in fact, the light, that animates every soul in the dance that we call life.
We can get so lost in the roles we play – and that just leads to stress and confusion. Yes, the closer we remain to who we really are, then the less confusing it becomes.
So, what do I mean?
Let’s look at this from a practical point of view. Define when you are playing a ‘role’ – for example, corporate career woman, mother, sympathetic friend, lover …. Can you pinpoint what you witness in yourself – do you for example, when you are a leader display more confidence than for example, when you are a wife or a lover?
We are conditioned – as much as we try not to be – to take on the ‘attributes’ we believe these roles should have. But when you get really clear with yourself (and the difference in you might be really subtle in any given role) then you can understand ‘how’ and ‘when’ you play these roles, you can start to merge them a little, so you can step from one role into another… one at a time!
Grab a piece of paper and write down all the roles you have. Now, underneath write how you behave, and your needs in this particular role and how often you find yourself in this role. Do you see differences? What are they?
The most basic human need is the need to be understood…
Bear with me, because this is where it gets interesting. We all need to be understood, and that means being ‘heard’ and ‘seen’. Can you think of the last time you felt… like really felt confirmation of either of those? I thought so. You had to really think, right? Because quite often we are running around like mad human beings wanting everything finished yesterday that we don’t give others our time to listen…. And I mean with your eyes, ears and heart, to be present with them and let them know you are there.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘holding space.’ Well, that’s what it means to be really present with another person – so they can open up to you. Most of us are guilty of listening to respond, rather than listening to understand, and the difference is huge. If you try to practice this, you’ll be surprised at how much you actually learn….
Try it out just for one day. Make it your ‘intention’ today that you are going to listen to everyone with every ounce of your being, you are going to be present for them and you are not going to say a word, unless you ask an insightful question, to get a better ‘understanding’ of what they are talking to you about. Wisdom grows from listening – we have two ears and one mouth for a reason!!
Appreciation what you have before it turns into what you had…
Appreciation can make someone’s day. It can even change their life! When you feel appreciated doesn’t that make you want to do more for them?
You see we’re all busy playing roles most of the time – even with ourselves! We forget to appreciate the wonderful things in our own lives, let alone notice them in others!
This is very human like, we take for granted things we believe will always be there.
And here’s the bare (hurtful) truth. When your absence doesn’t have an impact, then your presence – in no matter how many ‘roles’ you play, has no meaning.
So, the aim is to seek acceptance. Just be you – find yourself under the roles and live in your truth. When you start to do that, you’ll feel a greater appreciation, not just for yourself, but the things in your life, and the people around you. You’ll stop the noise in your head that says ‘behave this way’ … or ‘do that because it’s what’s expected of you’ … and you’ll find more peace in your soul.
Acceptance means you know there is something greater…
If you can accept who you are and be that very person, without fear of rejection, then you’ll no longer need to play ‘roles’ – they’ll have diminished meaning because you become more ‘you’ most of the time because you’ll begin to stand comfortably in your own skin.
It takes courage to show up and become you!! But working with this fierce mind and brave spirit of yours to keep learning and growing but knowing in your hearts of hearts that you are enough! Then you will be enough. In some cases, when people search for themselves and peel back the ‘roles’ then they often change jobs, or move cities – live more purposely aligned to things they believe in, and less of what other people ‘think’ they should do …. So be prepared! Moving out of the roles, can be life-changing – but it’s always for the better, because you my friend, have gifts and talents and traits that you need to share with the world. That’s why you are here. Masking those with a ‘role’ is not serving your true purpose.
This is an anonymous quote that I came across, and it’s so applicable here!
“At your absolute best, you still won’t be good enough for the wrong person. At your worst, you’ll still be worth it to the right person.”
… Once you accept ‘you’ then others will do the same.
People pleasing hides the real you…
Seeking approval from others is like saying: please tell me who I am? Seeking validation or approval will keep you trapped! You don’t need anyone or anything to approve who you are or your worth. Understanding this little golden nugget, will set you free from the roles you play.
As humans, we are always seeking for approval, we did it as children – from our parents, teachers, other grown-ups and our friends, and we soared high on their approval and validation.
Ridding yourself of ‘role playing’!!
The first step in the journey of standing in your truth is to take notice when you are seeking attention, what role are you playing, and in what environment. Awareness is key to knock this little one off your block.
Once you connect with what you are seeking from others, then you simply need to give it to yourself. I know it sounds kind of cheesy but it works, once you can identify what you ‘seek’ – whether its approval, love or acceptance, you will change your external environment by tweaking your internal world.