We all fill a variety of roles in the course of our lives. I’m a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a writer, a friend, a citizen, a dog owner, a homeowner—just to name a few. I’ve also claimed the roles of employee, coworker, manager, student, leader, musician, artist, athlete, and dancer. Some roles don’t come with official titles, but are implied—good girl, smart one, responsible one.
What about you? Which roles have you taken on?
It makes sense that we would act slightly differently in each of our roles. Of course we wouldn’t do and say the exact same things as a coworker that we do as a spouse. We likely show up differently as an employee than we do as a friend.
We can choose the behavior and boundaries appropriate to each relationship and context while still being ourselves. We can choose to highlight different aspects of who we are to fit whichever role is currently at the forefront.
But a problem comes when we struggle to trust that who we are is enough to fill the roles in which we find ourselves. When we believe we have to change or be bigger than we really are, filling our roles can feel like a performance. We start to hide vital parts of ourselves while acting like someone we are not.