The role player of life
17th November 2008
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In my last article, I discussed the way in which we play roles in the workplace, and how as a leader it is imporant to understand this. However, this principle has implications that reach out into the whole of life. In life, we play many different roles, such as parent, son, daughter, lover, gardener, model maker, soccer fan and so on. The reality is that none of these particular roles are truly you, no matter how attached to any of them you may be. Often, suicide is prompted by an individual equating loss or failure in a particular role with life itself. With that role taken from them, they decide on a permanent solution to what is in reality a temporary problem.

Those familiar with video games will know that one plays a character and the objective is the success of that character. If the game is particularly absorbing, the player can identify so closely with the character that the character takes over their life. When not playing the character, the player thinks of nothing else, and all else in life gets neglected and can be lost entirely. The pain of the character is keenly felt by the player and should the character die, the player can feel like a part of their soul has been lost. To the outside observer, this is obviously silly, but very real to the limited perception of the player.

In the same way, the end of any role you play is not the end of you. Understanding this makes the pain of loss and grief much easier to bear, enables you to bounce back easier from defeat and gives you a better and more balanced outlook on life. To foster this more enlightened outlook, one must have the courage to dissociate player from role. If you are particularly attached to a role in which you are very successful, it is easy when alone to continue playing that role, imagining what you are going to do the next time you play it. It is harder to be truly you and come to terms with any frailties that you may be covering up with your role. However, you will never fully develop as a person if can never be your true self.

Paradoxically, the person who understands the difference between player and role often plays each role better, as the focus shifts from the consequences of success or failure to the love of the game, freeing the player from the shackles of anxiety. There is nothing wrong with ambition and the passion for success, but it is a mistake to make them the point of life. As a complementary practitioner, I intend to be self-supporting by 2011 and have an international reputation by 2020, and I am working on the assumption that I will, but these things are my life's intentions, not the point. The point of life is a deep spiritual/philosophical issue that everyone should consider but is beyond the scope of this article.

Nevertheless, should all my intentions end in failure, my life will not, because the point of my life is far deeper than any particular intention. I will simply change the intention! Oxford United once played in the top division of English football, now they languish in the Blue Square Premiership, but the club lives on, with passionate fans supporting them. The point will always be the passion and joy of following a team, even though right now the intention is different.

To obtain this more enlightened view of life, I have found meditation particularly helpful and recommend it warmly, but however you obtain it, life lived for the joy of it is always more wholesome than living in fear of consequences of failure.

About the Author


Member since: 26th April 2012

I am a fully qualified and experienced hypnotherapist, Reiki practitioner and Stress Counsellor, based in Undercliffe, Bradford. I am proud to be a volunteer therapist for Bradford Cancer Support

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