A Man in the World: No More Playing Roles

by Raymond Karam, Goonellabah

It seems for so long now I have been an actor in the world. I have filled many roles and have been improving each performance with a more measured and perfect one.

A few months ago I sat down with a few mates and we started talking about how we were feeling. This was a different kind of sit-down for me. It was informal – no alcohol, no sport – just men sharing how they were feeling and what they had been doing.

From these now regular, informal catch-ups I have been looking more at who and how I am. I realise I have been many things so far in my life. I have gone into many roles and done them well, but mostly the roles I chose were for reasons that didn’t actually come from what I really wanted to do. I have realised that from a young age I could feel what people wanted and needed from me, and I eventually just chose to be whatever they wanted: I was an actor.

I am now a married family man and in our house I would be considered to be the ‘perfect’ husband and father. Go to work, work hard, come home, say hello to everyone, clean up the house, get the children to bed, sit down and have dinner, etc. I ticked a lot of boxes for the ‘perfect’ man. But I now realise I was just playing roles for my family in the house.

In the men’s discussions I have been going to, I have been able to share and see that most men have been playing similar roles to me. Most, like me, start playing roles from when they are young. For me, my mother needed a good boy that loved her, so I was that for her. My father needed a quiet boy that followed him and did what he was told, so I did that. When I grew up the roles didn’t change. My wife needed to be loved and looked after, so I did that for her, etc.

If my wife had trouble with the children, I would come in and sort it out. I kept hearing the words, “Fill the need”. It was like I was trying to fix everything, so it looked good, but it actually would just keep going and it was never ‘fixed’. It just repeated itself over and over. The same problems and issues were there again and again. I was never actually fixing anything, I was just playing the same game. It was like there was something being presented to me to look at, but instead of looking at it, I was jumping into it and repeating the same behaviour. For me, once I had done or played a role once, there would be a pressure for me to be that again and again and again.

It’s not that I don’t do things for people anymore – the difference now is that I am learning to check in with myself first. In the past, I would just go and be whatever anyone wanted.

I have found out that I can still do all these things, but there is a massive difference. I stop and do my best to make sure that it is me choosing to do something – instead of just jumping in and “filling the need”.

I now feel as though I am free. I don’t feel a pressure or a weight on my shoulders to ‘be’ so many things for so many people. It seems when I choose this ‘new way’ that it is so easy because it is actually not so new… it has always been there for me but I pushed it aside to ‘be’ something else.

552 thoughts on “A Man in the World: No More Playing Roles

  1. By conforming to what everyone wants and getting absorbed in the burdens and expectations of society we can indeed become actors playing roles – which more often than not unfortunately compromises the integrity of our innate qualities and strengths.

  2. We live through so many patterns that we are not aware of and we have seemingly no comprehension that we are living this way. It is not until these patterns get exposed that we get to see/ feel how much they keep us all from living our lives to the fullness they can be.

  3. When I’m not connected I also feel like I’m acting. There’s a saying in this country that you “have to fake it to make it” but being fake just gets you nowhere, it feels incredibly dishonest and perhaps the saying should be changed to – you have to be connected to make it.

  4. The world is such a mess without self love and self care as our foundation. This leads to many having needs they want others to fill for them, including children, which is an enormous pressure to place on others and especially onto a child. The more I learn from Serge Benhayon and apply to my life, the more I can see that everything he has to offer has the potential to truly change the current trajectory for the human race, which is so needed because the current way we are living is very harmful.

  5. When we rush in and ‘fill the need’, a pattern I know deeply we do not allow the space for what might in fact actually be there for all of us … filling the need I’m learning is in fact about myself and what I perceive is needed, not in fact necessarily about what is truly required for us all to grow and learn. I’m slowly learning not to just jump in but to see more of what is being presented, feel myself and then express from there. It’s new and I’m at baby steps but I can feel how it offers a whole new way for all of us.

    1. I’m going through something similar Monica, for the first time in my life I’m allowing myself to stay connected to me and take care of my own life instead of jumping in to help others. It’s a new and very welcome experience.

  6. Lovely Ray, for many men to read that they too are allowed to feel again what includes the love for themselves. This is not selfish. True love is when it includes yourself too.

  7. When I came to the realisation that my role playing was deeply harmful to me and of no support to others, because it came from a need to be loved and accepted, this was a very bitter pill to swallow. But once I accepted and healed the root cause of this pattern, the freedom and joy I now feel in expressing who I truly am knows no bounds.

    1. Beautiful Elizabeth and that harm is not just harmful, it’s also a way we identify with what we do; it give us a cloak or what we consider a shield of protection but in that we do not connect to ourselves or others and we miss out on the freedom and joy you speak to here.

    2. It’s so easy to justify behaviours of ‘helping’ others because we see these as being good, when in fact the quality behind them is harmful and often used to temporarily fill our own emptiness and fulfil a role of being needed. The point is not to judge any person but to share that there is another way to be with ourselves and others, a way that comes from living in connection to our essence and soul, and understanding others and how to be in relationships based on evolution.

  8. Men are very sensitive and can be very delicate, especially when they allow themselves to express that. It is fun to notice the sensitivity in a big, brawny person and very enjoyable when a man expresses delicacy for example in something they are doing physically.

  9. For most of my life I have always tried to help others in need no matter what the call, as I felt it was my duty in life to help others. But even though we do need to be of service to other people, if we do these things out of sympathy (as I surely did) than it is actually disempowering to those people as they then don’t have a chance to take responsibility for getting themselves in a situation that they needed help and the choices that lead them there initially. That being said, we all need to ask for help sometimes and accept it. It’s just the quality of the actions or request that matters.

  10. Having recently done An Esoteric Yoga session and being reminded about the importance of quality in our movements of day to day life I am reminded once again of how roles themselves are movements and when we identify ourselves with them our quality is markedly different and far more harming for us than when we do them from, with and in connection to our body and our true essence.

  11. In filling needs and playing roles there is no connection between people. It is just doing what we think we need to do and if this works well we say it is a great relationship but, it can be a very empty relationship because there is not much connection from the one person to the other person from who they actually truly are which always leaves you with a feeling of unresolvedness in my experience.

  12. To bring awareness to the fact that we have been an actor in our life by ‘pretzeling’ into what others need or want from us, is a life changing moment – a choice to return to the innermost essence and be the love that we are in truth. An inspiring blog to read.
    “mostly the roles I chose were for reasons that didn’t actually come from what I really wanted to do. I have realised that from a young age I could feel what people wanted and needed from me, and I eventually just chose to be whatever they wanted: I was an actor”.

  13. No wonder we often have trouble communicating with each other when so much time is wasted second guessing what the other person wants us to do rather then being true to ourselves and feeling what is needed in a particular situation.

  14. It’s not what we do it’s the way that we do it – I too am learning to check in with myself before committing to any action so that it comes from a true impulse rather than a desperate attempt to fill someone else’s need so they will like me/not abandon or reject me.

  15. That we do not have to play a part, that we can just simply be ourselves is one of the greatest revelations that we can come to. And of course it is extraordinarily liberating.

  16. Great blog, thank you Ray. It leaves me pondering what needs I may have when I try to fill the needs of others – and how different my approach is when I have met my own needs first. Sometimes…often in fact, I find it is enough to just be – to be me, to be who I naturally am and for the other person to be this too.

    1. I wonder if the other notices how conditional we are when we are filling the needs of others without having taken care of ourselves and how much it taints our actions?

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