Since early this morning, I notice that I have already, miraculously, transformed myself in and out of many roles.
Just moments ago, I found myself crawling around my living room, wagging my tail as a dog named Frida, then rolling on the carpet as a gurgling baby dolphin, then slinking past the un-phased pooches as a growling cheetah, and finally engaging in some pretty rockin’ mixed marital arts moves as a ninja warrior, competing in a grand tournament.
Before all that, I was discussing fire engine pumping operations, tidying up my locker, and hanging my helmet and coat at the fire station, as I came off duty this morning. By the time I arrived home, I was completely metamorphosed from firefighter role into mom role, making breakfast for my six-year old, before he lured me into his fantastical world of talking animals and fierce ninja warriors.
What Roles Have We Chosen?
It is amazing the roles we may choose to play over our lifetimes! Who are we anyways? Are we mom, dad, student, rebellious teen, college graduate, college dropout, business person, artist, homeless person, waiter, housewife, athlete, soldier, teacher, criminal, victim? Sometimes our identification with a role can help us in huge ways. It can give us purpose, meaning, and a rooted sense of self.
Sometimes, we may even identify so strongly with our roles that we might not know who we are without them. When we retire from our life’s work, or our grown children leave the roost, some of us may feel lost and not know who we are anymore, or where we fit exactly.
Do Our Roles Limit Us or Our Experiences?
Sometimes we completely identify with our roles and love the excitement or drama that they bring. We might believe that we are the role we have chosen or been dealt.
One of the pitfalls of identifying completely with a role is the limitation it holds us to. If I am ‘wife,’ do I believe I can be ‘firefighter’ too? If I am the ‘overwhelmed mom,’ can I ever get to be ‘artist in the flow?’ Or if I identify with ‘bad guy,’ maybe I am never able to rise above the confines of the life and times of ‘bad guy.’ Sometimes our roles cause us to stay attached to limiting thoughts and behaviors.
Is Your Role Serving You?
We may notice, that many of the stories and people we celebrate are those who break out of their role–the college dropout who creates technology that changes the world, the victim who forgives the criminal, the bad guy who gives back to the community.
Perhaps when we realize that the roles we take on are changeable, like the outfits with which we dress ourselves, we will not fall into being trapped by our roles. After all, it is possible to move through our roles from moment to moment, even to blend them, or to drop them completely.
I believe the search for who we are is an endless and expansive adventure. When we remember that we are not our roles in and of themselves, when we remember that our roles are temporary, illusory, and ours to change, we may be surprised at the wonderful ways we may expand our lives, and amazed at the wide world of experiences that may open up for us when we open to our true expansive being-ness.
How Can We Begin to Be a More Authentic Version of Ourself?
1. Observe the role(s) you identify with.
2. Ask, “Does it serve me to identify with this role?”
3. Ask, “Am I limited in or limited to this role?”
4. Expand your perception of this role.
5. Lovingly let go of this role if it does not serve you.
6. Create your own original and expansive version of this role for your unique self.
Our roles can serve us well in the appropriate times and moments. However, if we over -identify with our roles, we may miss out on a world of infinite experience. We are vast beings and our potential is endless.
What roles will you embrace or release today? Who will you expand to be now? Only you will know what is best for you in any given moment.