The Role in Life that I Am Playing Now and My Attachment to It
You are not who you think you are.
Let’s touch on the roles in life that you are currently playing, your attachment to them, and how they shape your identity and influence your perceived purpose.
We start out in this lifetime with our first and life-long role of daughter or son and in many cases, sibling. Then we move into assuming additional roles throughout our lifetime such as romantic partner, friend, cancer survivor, neighbor, spouse, parent, divorcee, as well as for many, a professional role.
It’s inevitable that we will find not only an identity, but a deep attachment to one or more of these roles.
It may be your attachment to your profession that you identify deeply with, i.e., as a teacher, lawyer, nurse, caregiver, accountant. You may find your role as a parent or spouse or single person has strongly defined your identity, either because of the depth of your feelings about this role, or simply by the number of years you’ve lived and played this role.
So, what’s wrong with being attached to our roles?
Sometimes those roles end, shift, or change. And sometimes, depending on how attached we are, that change can leave us now feeling quite lost, out of energetic balance, and painfully detached from ourselves. If this mourning for those lost or changed roles continues, it can lead to depression, lack of motivation, sadness, and even illness.
So, I’d like to share a perspective with you to help you take a step back and assess your attachment to these roles and the depths to which you have assigned your identity and purpose in this world to those roles.
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” – Carl Jung
Start by being willing to recognize that you are not who you think you are.
You are not who your mental chatter tells you that you are. There is a separation between You as a living being, a Divine creation, and you (the mental narration you create in your head). Can we all agree that the jibber jabber going on in our minds all day is not generally the truth or fact?
In other words, the narration in our head – the worry, the fear, the incessant chatter of how we “speak” to ourselves in our heads – does not define who we are, nor what we are capable of. You’ve done it. You’ve experienced how the voice in your head can either “talk” you into something or “talk” you out of it.
But that choice was not necessarily based on fact. It was based on your past, things you’ve been told, beliefs you hold (factual or not), fears you harbor, childhood upbringing and stories you’ve been told, lifetime experiences and trauma, etc.
If I ask you to describe who you are, you’ll likely list your occupation, your interests, who you are during the day (your occupation), who you are in your family (mother, sister, daughter, wife), any maybe who you are in your community (pta, club member, donor, activist, etc) and you might throw in your identifying interests or hobbies (skier, knitter, scrapbooker, baker, runner, movie buff).
But what if you were none of those things?
What if you were marooned on a deserted island from the age of eight… and managed to survive alone to the present day (work with me here). Who would you be? Can you see that you would still be You? You would still be the same human being on the inside, minus the shaping, impressions, and attachments that your roles over a lifetime have given you.
Yes, life might be boring, but you would not be playing or have formed attachments to any roles. Your identity and purpose would be quite simple. Human being (and maybe survivalist).
I’m making the point that when we strip away our roles, we are still the same human being. You are as complete as the day you were born, equal in every way to every other human, just living out your personal journey.
“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” – Yoda
In its most base level, you are not the employee, spouse, mother, friend, hobbyist, athlete, whatever that you identify yourself as.
Why make the distinction? Because during our lifetime, the roles we identify with will shift and change.
And how attached we are or aren’t, in our self-identity and purpose, to those roles is crucial to our happiness.
Here are two examples. First – let’s say you are an architect. You’ve been an architect and have been gainfully employed in your profession for twenty-five years. You’ve received awards, praise, and advancement based on your work. One day, the company you work for decides to downsize and you are laid off. You find it devastating and have a hard time finding a new job as an architect. You can’t fathom applying for other jobs, or pursuing other interest, because – you identify as an architect. It’s who you think you are. It’s the “suit” you wear. You have a hella hard time even considering doing anything else.
You are depressed and lost. Why? Because you are so attached to that identity – you have absorbed your role at work as your identity. So, when that role is stripped away, you don’t know who the heck you are. It’s unsettling and throws you off balance. If you could understand the separation between your role in life and your authentic self, it would be easier and more natural to move through the transition.
Second example, you are a mother. You devote yourself to nourishing, clothing, educating, loving, and protecting a child. You come to identify with being a parent. You live that purpose of caring for your child for eighteen years. Maybe you have additional children, multiplying your identity in this role. One day, the kids leave home to follow their own path and you remain in the now empty nest. You feel lost and as if your purpose has left town with the kids – even though you can rationally accept it was the goal all along – for your kids to leave and live their own lives.
“The authentic self is the soul made visible.” – Sara Ban Breathnach
So why is it such a harsh and painful reality? Because you adopted the role of parent as your identity, as who you are, and without that role, you feel like you don’t even know who you are. If, however, you had understood all along that underneath it all, you are You, not defined by any roles, but a unique expression that is purpose-filled every single day, with or without the roles, you would not feel the same sense of devastating loss and identity crisis.
At any age, understanding who we are vs who we think we are helps us navigate life.
This enables us to better cope when our roles in life shift and change or are removed entirely.
“You’re not gonna tell me who I am. I’m gonna tell you who I am.” – Nicki Minaj
As we get older, it’s the natural progression of our life span that many of our roles will be stripped away or lessened. We will inevitably no longer actively play them. We will move through the loss of loved ones, children moving away, friendships shifting, caregiving for elderly parents, the nearing of retirement and aging in general.
If we can be an observer to our attachment to our roles, if we can see the separation of who we truly are in this life journey rather than staying so inseparably dug into the roles we’ve lived as our identity, it can make our continued and unavoidable evolution that much more acceptable, meaningful, hope-filled, positive, and even joyous.
Cheers to seeing beyond the roles in life you play and to recognizing, reconnecting with, and celebrating, the most authentic expression of who You truly are. That’s where the magic of discovering true purpose lies and where the strength and courage to let go and let shift happen comes from. – Marlene
REIKI ENERGY HEALING
If you can’t seem to feel better or feel something is blocking you from believing you have purpose, or something you can’t quite pinpoint is preventing you from shifting your mindset and clearing your energy – first, grab my free positive affirmations download below and then consider how distance energy healing with intuitive guidance or my one-on-one private coaching program can help you unblock, heal, and assist you toward the mindset and energy shifts you desire. The shifts that will energize and motivate you to take daily action toward your goals. Connect with me if you have any questions or would like to know more. – Marlene
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