Last week Britta looked at the importance of making peace with our family of origin if we are going to live contented lives. I, like many of you, had a challenging childhood. My parents divorced when I was young. It was a very messy divorce and I, the only child, was right in the middle. It left scars on me that I’m still acutely aware of today.
In order to survive the challenges of our early lives, we take on roles. These are the parts we play in our families that allow us to cope with the pain. They become the roles we play in our lives outside of our families too. Some of the roles we take on are the clown, the healer, the mediator, the black sheep, the nerd, the doormat that no one sees, the rebel, the charmer. There are many possibilities.
While some kids become rebels (boy, did I admire them!), I adopted the opposite approach—“I’ll make as few waves as possible so this little ship doesn’t break apart completely.” I took on the role of the “nice young man.”
Seemingly grown up before my time, I was complimented for my maturity. Underneath, however, I was scared and lonely. As with all of these roles, it didn’t serve me well after childhood. And it’s been a truly empowering process to come into right relationship with this part of me.
While we didn’t consciously choose these roles as kids, we are responsible for them as adults. Why is it valuable—even necessary—to look at and challenge the roles we’ve taken on? Because these roles are reactionary, they are not grounded in who we are at the deepest level, and they keep us from true power. They are a survival strategy.
When we own who we have become, we can see the “autopilot” we are on and what it’s done in our life. Then, the gold that our path has brought us can be mined and refined. But first, we must step out of these small roles into who we truly are.
A large part of the work we do at our COR weekends is to set aside these roles in favor of true self-discovery. Noble Man and Radiant Woman unmask the roles we play specifically with the opposite sex.It’s profoundly freeing to let go of these little false selves and step into who we truly are—the big self! The TRUE self!
A great inquiry to take on this summer is to be curious about the role(s) we’ve taken on. Ask yourself: What’s the part I play in my family? How has that impacted my life outside of my family (work, relationships, etc)? What would be possible for me outside of this role? These are powerful questions and you are worth the exploration! Share your thoughts with us here on our FB page.