Seeing through the social roles we play

We all take on differing roles according to which area of our lives is in question. For example, in the work place, we act and speak using language and mannerisms that are in line with our job and the position we hold in the organisational hierarchy; at home, we act and speak differently (e.g. our tone of voice changes) depending on if we’re in the role of parent or husband/wife/lover; in our social circles, we adopt yet another way of interacting with people, dependent on whether they are acquaintances or closer friends. Our apparent success in playing these various roles is measured according to socially constructed rules of good/appropriate conduct. However, whilst holding in mind the way we “should” act, we can also decide to play with those socially imposed expectations and make a conscious choice to act differently i.e. we can enjoy the power we have in any given moment to choose our attitude and actions. Naturally, playing doesn’t imply being dishonest or cunning; quite the opposite, in fact. Any play goes hand-in-hand with respect and love for others, careful not to hurt anybody’s feelings, although we might surprise them with what we say and do. Playing can release you from the shackles and weight of unwritten social rules and mind-made morality. It can be very empowering to intermittently step beyond life’s routines and invent a new you – even if you decide to play the new role just once, in one particular situation.

Excerpt from “She Who Is Unto Herself”