PLAYING A ROLE – A ELEMENT OF ADULTHOOD
The Roles we Play
1. As a False Self: as a form of defence and protection.
2. As a Second Skin: as a form of holding and structure in the absence of identity or stability of one’s Real self.
3. As a Conscious way of functioning: in order to move between different selves, situations, relationships, interactions, moods.
Using a Role as a Transition Object
Playing roles can help us move between different areas of our lives such as from work to home, a boss to a mother. Roles allow us to adapt and adjust to our dynamic environment in order to move forward, engage, relate and develop, i.e. maternal or paternal role. Roles used in this way generally have an objective, are short-term and exist within a conscious state of mind. We need to be aware of these roles in order to control them.
Roles as a Representation of Different Parts of Our Self
Roles can be seen as representing our different selves, which are integrated to create our identity. Identity and its establishment is the premise of what it means to be an adult. There are many facets of identity which need to be fluid to function efficiently. All areas of our life are in constant change and our identity needs to have a strong yet tangible foundation in order for it to remain dynamic and thus adapt and learn from our experiences. If this does not happen we become stagnant and stuck in our ways, unable to move forward and experience change. Our lives feel meaningless and dull.
Roles in these terms are necessary to function, relate, manage and engage with life. The movement between roles in order to teach, develop and work through something so we can move forward rather than in circles. The use of roles in this way requires an integration of our different selves and existing in one’s conscious state.
The real key is the conscious and unconscious. You will be aware of playing a role if it is conscious. If one is playing a role unconsciously, life might feel superficial, they may find it difficult to achieve a balanced mood and/or feel disjointed and disconnected.