Back in the old days, the roles you played in society were based largely on your gender.
Womens roles typically involved being Mothers, house wives, carers, victims, damsels in distress while men’s roles were Fathers, husbands, breadwinners, rulers, rescuers, protectors and warriors.
This was the way the world worked over 30 years ago; but have times changed or is this the way it still is?
The answer is that times have definitely changed.
Men and women are not as dependant on each other as they used to be. As our needs have changed then so to must the roles we play in society.
The confusion is not knowing what roles we now play.The way I see it, our roles are closer to what Shakespeare said, “All the worlds a stage, and all the men and women are merely players.”
Imagine that each and every person is an actor and that life is a lot of different stories. In each story, we all play a different role.
It’s no longer our gender that determines which roles we choose to play either.
In today’s modern world it’s our beliefs and values that determines what roles we play. You not think that our roles are important or really make a difference, but it is these roles that help us to understand the world and guide our behaviour.
Here’s how we identify our roles in today’s modern world:
The First Step
You need to identify the different characters you play in your world. You play several different characters in your life depending on the circumstances that provide you with a current context. For example when you are with your parents, you play the character of a son or daughter, when you are with your kids your character is mother or father.
Other characters you could play include, sister, friend, Aunt, cousin and confidant. All the characters you play make a list of them in order of importance in your life.
These characters are how see yourself and make up your identity. Also don’t forget professional characters that you play, Doctor, Lawyer, Teacher, Butcher, Baker, Candlestick maker, whatever you do for a living.
The Second Step
Now that we have identified the characters you play and organised them by priority, the second step is to assign value to your characters. The value that your characters have is determined by the qualities you give them.
Take your first character, for example- Mother. What qualities do you believe mothers should have? Caring, friendly and honest? Or maybe strict, tough but fair? You could even be hip, funny and cool.
There are no wrong answers. Just look deep into yourself and write down the qualities you believe you should have, not what society says you should have. Do this for every character. When you have given your characters quality values, you now have a role, however, there is still the last important step.
The Third Step
The third step is to act, act the roles you have just developed for yourself. If you have chosen based upon the values and beliefs that you hold dear, this will be the easy part.
It’s when people act that is not congruent with their values and beliefs that brings inner conflict.
You may face opposition from people who hold a different set of values and beliefs to you, dealing with these people is a whole other article, but most importantly, remember to keep yourself safe from harm and negativity and stay true to yourself.
The Fourth Step
Finally, you may decide that the role you have decided to play has consequences that you don’t want. For instance, playing the rebellious child may not help you to be as close to your parents as you like or your strict parent role has an effect on your Childs self esteem.
That’s ok because there is room for you to grow and evolve your roles. Don’t just try and change the behaviour as that will lead to conflict. Instead try reading books, under taking personal development classes or even seeking counselling to evolve your values and beliefs from the inside.
Rodney Owen is a Counsellor and Founder of Bloke Support, an organisation dedicated to helping men, couples and families overcome issues with relationships, depression, anger and stress management and the workplace. Rodney and Bloke Support are based in Sydney
Originally posted 2013-11-19 23:41:58.