I love to watch children move fluidly from fantasy to reality, trying on and playing out different roles. They make it seem so effortless. As they play at being the princess or the little pony or the hero who saves the world from destruction it seems effortless, because for them, it is. And then, something strange happens when we become adults: our ability to play often gets stifled as the real world pushes out our desire for fantasy and imagination, until the “fantasy” world gets relegated to stay only in the sexual corners of our minds.
When we say “role play” as an adult, we often automatically assume that we are speaking in sexual terms, or visiting Comic-Con. Now, come on everyone…..be honest with me, when you read “role play,” how many of you instantly got an image of the “naughty nurse” or the dominatrix trussed up in leather and vinyl?...I know, we all do. Except in this case the roles I'm talking about encompass much more than that.
When it comes to intimate relationships, we find that we are always playing a role in relation to what our partner is giving us at the moment. For example, the “martyr” role often rears its head in an unbalanced relationship, or “the victim.” When we find ourselves gravitating towards weaker roles, it’s time to take a look at the relationship dynamic and see if the role is a choice, or if it’s one that being placed upon you. Once that is realized, the ball is back in your court, and you can “re-cast” yourself as whatever role you want to play. If you want to be the “lover,” then be the lover. If you want to be the “hero,” then be the hero. Your roles do not have to orbit around your partner’s behaviors, and they also do not have to stay stagnant. Ultimately, your health and happiness have very little to do with the events happening around you and the relationships you have. The consistency of the status of your happiness lies within you.
Take a moment, and think about the roles you play on a daily basis. Do any of these resonate with you? Mother, Father, Lover, Friend, Dreamer, Victim, Person of Faith, Hero, Wise Person, Angry Person, Beauty, Beast, Rebel, Addict, Sex Kitten, Martyr, Brother, Sister…..Now, which roles do you want to expose in your relationships? Which roles empower you and support your happiness, which in turn support the health and happiness of your relationships?
The one role I never recommend is the one of the door mat….this is not a role we want in our repertoires. Be who you are. Of course, what people do and say will affect you, but their behaviors don’t have to change you. Cast yourself in the lead role of your life, and let everyone else be your supporting roles. You’ll know when it’s time to be the support system for your friends and lovers, but in the meantime, assume all of the characteristics of the strongest roles that appeal to you, and play them to their fullest. The stage is yours!
All Good Things