Not Being Yourself (Role-Playing)

We all play different roles round our parents, work colleagues and friends. That's quite natural and everyone expects us to act like we've acted before.

In this article we'll explore how and why we role-play. You will also be encouraged to be yourself...

Have you ever seen anyone act like the leader of a group? Some of us want to be the alpha male. The fiercer the competition, the tougher you have to act.

How about someone acting in a superficially loving or caring way. What are they trying to achieve?

I once lived with a Buddhist monk in a monastery in Thailand that spoke like a little girl. I'm quite convinced that he wanted others to think of him as compassionate and kind. How silly, stop playing games with yourself and others. If you want to grow as a person, you have to learn to value truth and reality.

Role-playing can take a multitude of forms. Some of them are subtler and therefore more difficult to notice. Have you ever played the role of the good student? Why do we act like that? Because we want to be liked and loved. To be liked is a pleasant mental state, while dislike makes for unhappiness.

Many times an insecure person acts confident, while the unhappy acts joyful. So, it's true to say that role-playing can be used to mask undesirable qualities.

What is more, group pressure is a key factor in role-playing. Some people are willing to play any role to get accepted into a group. Another important point is that we want others to see our good qualities. Again, we want them to like us. I suggest you do your very best to accept and love yourself as you are. Acting won't do you any good.

What about those who always act like clowns? They must believe their role in life is to be funny and entertain people. The psychological pressure of having to be comical all the time is a stressful mental state. Likewise, it's tiresome to be around individuals that always act and never are themselves.

Here is a classic example of role-playing from when I worked as a taxi driver in Sweden:

It was in the summer, I picked up a pastor at a wedding reception in the countryside. He acted overly pious as they escorted him to the car. Deep inside the minister probably felt spiritually inadequate and hoped the acting would convince the crowd that he was a beacon of goodness and love.

It took about 10-15 minutes of driving until he stopped acting saintly and became himself again. Can you see how much effort he invested in the role-playing?

"Be authentic, be yourself"

It's okay to be playful and humorous, but you're not authentic when you're acting all the time. Strive to be yourself, you're good enough as you are. It's a wonderful relief to be accepted for who you truly are.

Mindfulness is a beautiful state of mind. Even better, when you're mindful it's natural to be yourself.

Best of luck!

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