My Self vs. My Role

I am currently practicing the ability to show up as myself wherever I go.

It seems like it would be impossible to show up as anyone or anything but myself. However, I am becoming more and more aware of the subtle personality shifts I make based on the role I am fulfilling at any given moment. The way I show up as a driver is different from how I show up as a yoga teacher. The way I show up as a friend is different from how I show up as an employee, a sibling, or a boss.

I believe my true nature is how I feel when I am snuggled up in a blanket, wearing pajamas, reading or writing in my apartment: Relaxed, calm, creative, attentive, curious, and expressive. Living from my true nature feels incredible! Since becoming aware of how it feels to be real me, I have realized I spend most of my time and energy fulfilling a role or expectation while keeping myself in the background. 

When I play the role of “customer,” I often close myself off from engaging with the cashier. The real me would ask (like, genuinely ask) for their name, how they are doing, or something they are grateful for today. 

When I play the role of “manager,” I may subtly assert my authority by speaking in a certain tone and leaving very little room for the other person to talk. The real me loves to listen and would much prefer to cultivate a spirit of oneness and ease.

Roles are not inherently bad. They give us responsibilities, they help us improve different skills, and they keep us from total anarchy. Most of the time, though, I hide behind these roles and silence my true nature. I often show up as my role first and my self second.

Since there are a ton of roles I play throughout the day, I have plenty of opportunities to practice. When I catch myself living from a role and not from real me, I step back and ask, “what would I do in this situation?” and “Is there an opportunity to be more myself right now?” 

The more often I answer those questions and act on them, the more me I become: Relaxed, calm, creative, attentive, curious, and expressive. (Regardless of the role I’m fulfilling.)

Aubrey Klein