“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts” ~William Shakespeare
We all do it. We have to. We are such complex and creative beings, that it’s almost impossible not to play roles – depending on the context we’re in.
The questions is:
Do the roles you play limit you or liberate you?
Do you feel that you can remain you while playing a role?
In the workplace, for example, or at a social event of some kind, while expressing yourself in certain ways there — do you still feel that you are an authentic version of you?
A role is like a dress.
Metaphorically speaking (and also literally :-)), it’s wonderful to wear a beautiful dress, to enjoy the way it’s sweeping around your body as you move, to savor its touch on your bare skin; it’s lightness in the breeze, its bright color…
But there’s a difference between that and then using that dress to hide your body’s marks, scars and “imperfections”.
Just like there’s a difference between smiling as a way to reach out and connect – and then doing it out of fear or insecurity.
This difference is as huge as the difference between joy and pain, or shine and shame.
But then, things are not always so clear cut. Some roles are subtle. As in:
Faking it ’til you’re making it.
Playing a role can help you grow into someone that you want to become.
You might, for example, pretend that you enjoy speaking in public (even if it terrifies you) because you want it to become enjoyable and natural. You want to let your voice be heard.
Playing a role for the sake of communication.
It can make life easier. As in speaking French in France. Or maybe saying quak quak in Duckland. Or being as silent as a Swan. (in case you’re wondering, I’m hinting to The Way Of The Ugly Duckling)
Although I never say something unless I mean it, there are also all the ways in which I remain silent. Do you too?
I don’t initiate a conflict with a friend unless I have to. I’d rather work it out internally. It’s a noble thing to do, so it seems.
But it’s also because I don’t want them to see the angry me, or the vulnerable me, or the impatient me. And there’s also the fear of being judged for being too powerful, too disruptive, too weird.
I’d rather play nice.
At the end of the day, we all do what we need to do, or what we think we need to do, or what we have learned to do.
But then, sometimes….
You wake up yearning to just do what you are. Be you, wherever you are.
You miss being your naked, uncensored self.
Or maybe it’s more subtle than that. Maybe all you know is that there’s a sense of discomfort.
Or a sense of loneliness because you pretend you’re someone else.
How can you get back to yourself and become a more genuine you?
The answer is always the same:
“All you need is love”
You need to love yourself so much that allowing yourself to be you becomes the most important thing in the world.
Because it is. And it’s not a selfish thing by the way. On the contrary.
Being you is, ultimately, the only way you can truly contribute to the world.
So, how can you do that, today? And tomorrow?
Here are a few suggestions:
Spend some time observing and journaling on how you act in the world as opposed to when you’re alone.
How is it different?
How can you make it a (more) joyful and authentic experience?
Challenge yourself to be more authentic in the world, in whatever area it is important for you.
Make the challenge specific and doable.
Mine would be: next time I notice that I’m saying something to please and avoid conflict– breathe instead. And see what happens next.
Read this book
Let your voice be heard! Here, in the comments, too: