This post was originally a guest post I wrote on Cordelia Calls It Quits. I thought it was great and wanted to share it with my new readers!
Life at times can be like a treasure hunt. We are all on a journey seeking who we are and trying to find what we are here to do. As we navigate through life we can give up on the hunt and begin to conform and have our identity shaped by what we think others would want. It’s almost like we are actors in a play. We try to find the right role so the audience will love us.
There have been different parts (identities) in plays that I have acted in (metaphorically speaking) that I was not meant to play. I tried out for the role and got the part, but I was just pretending.
What Roles Are You Playing?
Many of us are playing a part that we were not meant to play instead of being true to who we really are. Sadly, we receive this pressure to be something we are not from those closest to us.
Some parents make it known to their children that they can only pick the career paths that they have for them. Peer groups and bullies pressure children to act certain ways. In business people are pressured every day to make unethical decisions they are uncomfortable with.
In The Phantom of The Opera there is a line that has always struck me. The phantom says “I have invented a mask that makes me look like anybody.” Since the beginning of time we have been masking our true identity in order for the audience to approve of who we are. We hide our true selves for fear that we will not be accepted. Instead of being an individual we now look like “anybody.” Instead of confronting the issue we continue to play the wrong part in the play.
A role that I took in my career was that of an event planner for a non-profit. I was definitely out of place. I am a natural people person, but instead I was stuck with a job for a detail oriented person. I tried so hard at the job, and I tried so hard to please the people around me, and it didn’t work. I wore the mask. It left me physically and emotionally drained. After every event I felt terrible, and I couldn’t tell anyone about it.
Are You Enjoying The Show?
- The question I started asking myself is do I like the play I’m in? Do I like Act One? If I don’t then I need to rewrite the script so that Act Two is better.
- The other question I am asking myself is am I going to be happy five years from now playing this role? Do I need to quit playing this part? At any time you can choose to be in a different role…the role you were meant to play.
- I’m also asking myself, am I wearing a mask? “Who am I”? Am I being my true self or am I acting?
I had to come to grips with where I was at and my lack of fulfillment I didn’t make a drastic decision and quit the job I needed, but I began planning my future and what I wanted it to look like. I began imagining in my mind of where I wanted to be five years from now and what I wanted to be doing.
Our future is coming whether we like it or not, and it is our responsibility to work towards those goals. If I am playing the wrong part or wearing a mask then I’m not going to obtain the life that I want to live. To me this is the most tragic type of play.
It took me a few years, but I am finally at a place in my life where I’m experiencing more fulfillment. I think my role and part in life is still evolving and I’m still learning what it will be. My career finally changed and my family and I were able to move to our dream city, and my new career path is allowing me to give back and help those that are hurting. My life has changed more in the last 6 months than at any interval, and I began blogging as a way to inspire, and bring hope to people that need it.
Be True to Your Part
Bronnie Ware who wrote The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, said the number one regret is “I’d wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
When you are on your death bed looking back over your life, do you want to have played the role you were meant to play or pretended to be something you were not? You will never be happy playing the wrong role.
There is a line in a Jackson Browne song that has always spoke to me:
“Say a prayer for the pretender, who started out so young and strong, only to surrender.” We are by nature pretenders and when we pretend and wear a mask we end up surrendering the identity and unique personality we have.
There are billions of people on the earth and none of them is you. Be you! We don’t need you to be anyone, but you! The world needs and wants originality, and we all bring that to the table. Stop pretending and don’t surrender. Congratulations, you got the best role you could play, and that is you!
I’ve decided to quit playing the wrong part, and play the part I was meant to play. One of my biggest struggles has been trying to be something that others wanted me to be. I finally have realized that I can’t. I don’t want to pretend anymore or worry about the opinions of others. I want to live.
What part are you playing?