The Roles We Play + Why We Play Them
I am the mysterious girl you can't quite pin down.
I am the creative artist in search of a muse.
I am anti-conformist, a rebel of tradition.
I am the perfect daughter, the "cool" sister, the loving, nurturing girlfriend.
I am the fit yogi, one with mind, soul, and body.
I am secular, a lover of science and proven facts.
I am the emotional and plagued writer.
I am the nerdy bookworm.
I am the brave wanderer and adventure-seeker.
I am the tech-savvy entrepreneur.
I am the loyal and hardworking employee.
I am the victim of my mind.
But on the contrary...
I am none of these things.
All these things are nothing more than different roles I play.
You have your own set of roles that you play. Can you think of what some of those roles might be for you?
We often identify with our profession, our social status, our relationship status. Many of us play the role of Doctor or Lawyer or Candle Stick Maker.
We play these roles so well that they become our source of identity. Our sense of self. Our definition of "who I am".
Once you dig deeper, though, you will find you are far more than some mental projection of yourself. Beyond all these roles that could never possibly explain who you are, you will discover something astounding. I'll get to that a bit later.
I am nearing the end of the book I am reading, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Needless to say, I have discovered more about myself through consuming this book than I have in all the years of my life combined.
That's a bold statement, and I stand by it.
This is not about religion. This is not about scientific fact. This actually isn't even about spirituality.
This is about true self-discovery.
This is about dismantling and disarming ego.
The Roles We Play + Why We Play Them
Every thought you think, and every role you play because of those thoughts, is your ego.
An ego tends to create and play roles to advance itself in some way. In order to gain more power, attention, or to have some need met, egos act out these roles. As Tolle says, "The ego doesn't know that the source of all energy is within you, so it seeks it outside."
As ourselves, we are often unaware of the roles we play.
You might be unaware that you play the role of the victim, or the role of the "shy girl".
I was very unaware of many of the roles I listed above, until I faced my ego head on, for the first time. I turned inward, and a voice beyond my mind said with complete clarity:
"You are the only source of your unhappiness."
It was the most alarming wake up call I had ever received.
So why do we play these roles?
Eckhart Tolle shares plenty of his own collection of reasons why the ego plays these roles. I encourage you to read A New Earth so you can learn them. The book will change your life.
But I want to weigh in with my own perspective.
When I look back on my life and the roles I have fit into (whether I forced them or it was natural), the sources were interesting.
Many of the roles I play seem to stem from a tendency to "people please". To become the person that I think someone else wants me to be.
In that way, it is a bit ironic that I identify as a "non-conformist", when in actuality, I conform to the situations and people around me.
In that discover, it became clear to me what feeds my ego the most fuel: Being liked.
Perhaps you can relate to this discovery. Do you fear judgement from others? Do you fear rejection? Do you fear confrontation?
I know I do.
And now that I know that about myself, I can accept. After I accept, I become free.
So Who Are You In Reality?
How can we understand who we are at our core if we are not the roles we play? How do we know the "truth"?
That is a fair question, and I had the same one myself.
"Who the hell am I, then?"
Almost as soon as I thought that question, the answer came in the words on the next page of A New Earth:
"I usually congratulate people when they tell me, 'I don't know who I am anymore."...Is it possible to let go of the belief that you should or need to know who you are? ...When you let go of [that belief], what happens to confusion? Suddenly it is gone. When you fully accept that you don't know, you actually enter a state of peace and clarity that is closer to who you truly are than thought could ever be."
And that, my friends, was one of the most powerful pieces of text I had ever read.
I felt overwhelmed with joy.
I felt like I could explode with happiness.
Because I am none of those roles I listed earlier.
I am also not the sad, pathetic excuse for a woman that my mind so often tells me I am. I do not rely on others to make me feel worthwhile, like my ego wants me to believe. I am not weak. I am not afraid.
I just am.
When you cut away all the crap that your thoughts and ego feed you, you will discover something amazing.
You will discover that you are the consciousness that recognizes these roles for what they are. You are the awareness that lives beyond the thoughts that make up these identities. You are pure spirit that is waiting to be unlocked.
All thought is created by ego and all roles are a compilation of thoughts and agreements with those thoughts.
Lao Tzu is often quoted as saying, "When I let go of what I am, I become who I might be."
In other words, when you let go of the roles you identify as you, you can step into something greater.
You can step into the Being of you. The real you. The you beyond thought and beyond ego.
We play these roles because our ego subconsciously feeds us the thought: You are not enough.
You are enough, though.
You simply are, just as I simply am.
That has been the greatest discovery I could possibly imagine.
So I want to ask you...
What Roles Do You Play?
Again, I recommend A New Earth to anyone who knows they are stuck in a pattern. To anyone who knows they aren't tapping into their full potential. To anyone who is ready to break free from their ego. You can buy A New Earth here.