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Do you even play a role?
So far, I have never had a doubt that I am the director of my life – since after all, it is the director who is in control. The one that has an overview of everything, who decides, selects and shapes creatively. From what I understood, directing was better than playing the lead role. But, is this really the truth? A workshop I participated in literally shook my view.
Well, who are you?
Meetings, seminars, workshops - manageable groups of people almost always begin with a round of introduction. Everyone can reveal as much as they want about themselves. I'm usually very relaxed about it. This time, however, the task was to complete an exercise before introducing each other. We were confronted with the thesis that every person fulfills very different roles every day. At work, for example, we have the roles of colleague, employee, team leader, specialist, and customer advisor. And in each role, different facets of us become visible. When we go home, we change roles. We become a father, a sister, a husband, the lonesome, etc.
So, this time, the question was not “Who are you?”, but much rather:
Who are you introducing to us?
It was now time to deal with one's own roles, to become aware of which ones we have. How many roles am I? And which one do I take a closer look at and present? For the moment I was a little ... yes, let’s call it challenged. What do you mean, role? Roles, even! I am the director! With slight resistance, but of course with the usual Janis-curiosity, I set out to explore. Yes, there were a lot of roles. I hadn't seen myself that way before. And I quickly noticed how differently these roles think, feel and act. How contrary even! I have rarely been this excited at a round of introductions. Because this time I gave – at least it felt like it - an insight into one of my roles, which was way more intimate and deeper than usual.
Life, a role play?
Recognizing the different roles did not only cause me a certain feel of unease. Was there a central role among all these roles? And what about the director? And how could these, sometimes-contradicting, aspects of the individual roles even fit under one roof? In one person?
During the course of the day and as we dived deeper into the topic, it became clear that we are all constantly in some role - depending on the surrounding context. However, it also became clear that it’s not the role we are or at least only in the moment we fulfill it. Our self is more than the roles – one may say it’s the sum of them. It slips in and out of them. Our self can choose the role, shape it, fill it out with self-efficacy. There he was again: the director!
Life, a role play!
Yes, we play a role. Central and side roles, all day. No, that does not mean that we are not "ourselves", it means that we are more than what we have constructed in our head as a self-image. And it is the director in us who gives us the opportunity to watch ourselves in each role, to perceive the qualities and facets of each individual and to use them accordingly. For example, the introvert inside of me can take a break while the speaker is on stage, while it comes to play when outside the spotlight and ensures that my senses not only face outward, but also inwards, reflect on myself and the quieter sounds of the day.
Directing it, leads to your best life
Just then, when we know and acknowledge that we can fill many roles, we become authentic – because we begin to live our fractures, inconsistencies, and humaneness. A cemented self-image only leads in one direction: the dead end we call one-dimensionality. Dare to be a variety, then you will become yourself.
In which roles do you already live and experience yourself? What special qualities do they have? I am excited to see more of you.