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Of role play and authenticity

Every time I play a role in a given situation, I add a bit of inauthenticity it without actually being aware of it. In fact, on most occasions, I wouldn’t be even aware of this dichotomy within. A raised voice versus a subdued one or a heightened feeling of responsibility or a total lack of ownership.

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Let me give you an example. I go into the store to buy something and suddenly out of nowhere a sense of entitlement sparks up within. I want to be served, because I am paying. Or I go with my family to a restaurant and order food. There is a delay, and my decibel level goes up and the hapless person bringing the food is at the receiving end.

This happens because we carry a bagful of expectations attached to these roles. As a father, I need to be the provider for my family. As a leader, I need to appear strong and invulnerable. As a subordinate, I have to become the subservient. Because my role demands it. Where is the authenticity here?

And the irony of it is that each time we play a role, we force another role on the person outside. So, as a leader I make others into my followers. As a teacher, I give the role of student to those in my class, without really caring whether the students are five or fifty years old. As a therapist, I attribute the role of patient to those who walk in through the door of my clinic.

All of these are unequal relationships that generate inauthentic responses from either or often both parties. The student who is attentive in class goes out and throws insults at the teacher he doesn’t like. So, I am either the father (or mother) figure or a distant observer. Never on an equal footing.

Why? Because that’s the only way I know to become aware of my existence – through my ego self. The one which believes I am my role. However, nothing can be farther from the reality.

I became a father when my daughter was born and continued in that role when my son arrived. Now, I need to ask my self this question. Do I become a father only because of my two children or can I dissociate them from role and associate every child in that same relationship? If I reach that level, would nepotism be relevant anymore?

So, the question is can I play the role at a universal level or can I discard the expectations or at least change them from time to time? Because, if I cannot do either, I could end up creating inauthentic relationships that impact my desire for a healthy life and joyful living.

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