We fill multiple roles in our lives. We are descendants, siblings, students, mentors, friends, partners and parents. We are employees, bosses, artists and dreamers. We’re the fun guy, the nag, the serious, the organizer, the planner, the spontaneous, and the party-goer. We cut our losses and stay true to the end.
We choose some of these roles – because they express our values or because they seem exciting or pleasant. But many of the roles are roles that were chosen for us or that we unconsciously fall into – because we think it’s “that’s what we’re supposed to do” or because we don’t know any other way.
Source: Samantha Stein
However, it’s rare that we choose a role or fall into it and consciously decide how we want to play this role. In other words, we might get married because we think that’s what people do when they’ve been together a long time. Or we marry because we deeply love the person we are with and we value the institution of marriage and want to live in that institution with this person we love. But how often does someone decide to get married and then actually sit down with their partner and think about how they want that marriage to go? How they want to define their roles as partners, how they want to resolve conflicts, what role they want the extended family to play, and all the many aspects of their relationship and married life that make up a marriage.
Most of the time, people unconsciously slip into roles by simply mimicking the way they saw it (regardless of whether it’s the best way or not), or fulfilling it in the way they imagine it should be done, or do it to survive mode – do whatever it takes each day to make it to the next day. It’s rare that people think about how best to do it, take the time to educate themselves and think about how to fulfill the role in a way that fits who they are and like them want to live their lives.
At some point we get tired of playing a role that doesn’t reflect us authentically
This means that people are often deeply unhappy in their roles. They are in a marriage and they don’t feel seen and loved for who they really are. They get angry at their children. They feel stuck in a career they weren’t sure they ever really wanted to start, or they drink heavily at family events to get by. In the words of the Talking Heads song “Once In A Lifetime,” you might wake up one day and ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”
The impulse at this point is to want to ditch the role entirely — have an affair/leave marriage, quit your job, move to a new town, or drop out of school. Or try going in less dramatic ways, e.g. B. through drinking, drugs, spending, gambling or “zoning” in front of the television. But there’s another option that just requires self-knowledge and some courage: to see if it’s possible to revive our roles in a way that’s more consistent with who we really are. In other words, figuring out how to do these things our way.
It takes work, but developing a role of who we are is what leads to greater happiness
Casting a role uniquely is not easy. The pressure to “do things the way they have always been done” is often very high. Changing a role can be even more difficult when you’ve been performing it a certain way for some time, and ultimately it may not be possible to stay in a role and be who one should be world. Taking on a role often means choosing against another role (it’s difficult to be a parent and not a parent at the same time without causing psychological harm to the child), and sometimes a role ultimately requires sacrifices that you are not willing to make (it would be difficult to remain a trial attorney and decide that you no longer wish to go to court).
But often people are surprised at how much more space they have to be themselves within the roles they already occupy. Employer is actually willing to be as flexible, your spouse is actually willing to wait for you at home when you go traveling, or your family is actually willing to accept your boundaries and boundaries or impersonation. It can be scary to try – you obviously risk losses if you ask an established system to change. But there’s only one way to find out.