Social Question

jazzjeppe's avatar

Do you know who you are or are you playing a role?

Asked by jazzjeppe (2598points) February 20th, 2010

In a way, isn’t life about playing different roles? I sometimes feel it is. I go to work putting on a work mask, I go out with friends putting on a social mask and when I am alone at home I put on, well, my real mask? There was a time when I actually hit the wall and was dragged down into depression due to this. The pressure of being someone else got too heavy and I felt that in our society today, there isn’t room for being what we really are – only for actors. And I hated it.

During my periods of sick-leave from work I started to play MMOs and in a way these games became a bit of therapy. I could play different avatars but I could also give them my own emotional and social characteristics. In these MMOs I could be what I couldn’t be in real life – my self.

I know, this is a bit deep, but I feel that life has become more of a stage (as Shakespeare would have put it) and today we have to keep many different masks up depending on situation, whereabouts and even mood. On the Internet we have a chance to create new masks and new avatars everywhere a profile is created. The question is whether we use them to be ourselves, to live our dreams or to play a role. Whatever it is I feel I am losing a part of myself each time I put on a new mask. And that can’t be good.

I don’t even know who I am anymore… I know I am a thinker, a bit of philosopher, but then what? Some might not see this as a problem, but I honestly do. I feel…divided, not complete. I feel restless, homeless and almost without identity. Am I thinking too much?

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20 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

No one important, and certainly nothing you haven’t seen before.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

Sure, using those real masks, the profiles, with their avatars and little bio boxes, may be fake. However, I understand what you’re saying. They let you be the person you would like to be. Blogs allow you to say and show what you feel as you see it without the fear of judgment or consequence from your immediate reality. In essence, they allow you to be your own ideal you.

Spend time with yourself, by yourself. In the woods, there’s no one to understand, there’s no noise to distract. The only noise you’re left with is the noise in your own head. In the woods, you get the chance to discover who you WANT to be. Once you have done this, you can take steps toward being this person in all the different aspects of your life. Sure, you may lose your job, you may lose your friends, you may even lose the comfort and companionship of those you love, but you will have your self-respect and your identity. Once you find these things and pursue them, no one can take them away.

And once you find who you are, you’ll attract the people and things to your life that fit you, instead of you applying the proper masks to the people and things already in your life.

You are not thinking too much. You aren’t being given a chance to think enough.

Get out! Go away!

Find yourself.

Your complete stranger,

OpryLeigh's avatar

I am constantly playing different roles depending on what situation I am in. At the moment I am still trying to figure out who I really am. This is not a bad thing for me, I don’t feel lost as such well, not always anyway and I know enough about myself so that I am not playing a completely different role to my real self. I see at as being more than one variation on myself and I quite like that.

nebule's avatar

I have been playing roles all my life and I’m just discovering who I am now… Filtering out all the bullshit-what-I-should be-ness in any given situation seems to be a hard and long process but a necessary one and very rewarding…when you begin to glimpse your real self it feels warm and comfortable and exciting and the world opens up and colour is visible again. It’s amazing x

OpryLeigh's avatar

@lynneblundell Lurve for “bullshit-what-I-should-be-ness and also for being such a strong person. I have been reading a lot of what you have written on Fluther over the past few months and you seem stronger and more positive with every post. :)

Bluefreedom's avatar

I believe I have a firm idea of who I am and what I am about. I have a work role in the military and a civilian role in my personal life and although there are some distinct differences between the two, neither of them detract from me always striving to maintain a down to earth, middle of the road, optimistic, and friendly nature with whoever I meet, wherever I go.

thriftymaid's avatar

I have different roles in life, sure, but I know myself pretty well.

cbloom8's avatar

All people are made of different “masks” just as you explained. You need to remember that all of these parts are a part of you, and while it feels like you never are one set individual, all of your parts have some things in common – you don’t have completely different personas, just slight off-shoots. Humans are very complex beings.

iphigeneia's avatar

Of course there are different roles we play in our lives, and in different situations we play different roles that affect the way we behave and speak. The thing is, taking on a different role doesn’t have to be like putting on a mask. It sounds like that’s how it feels to you, but to me, it feels like I let a different side of myself take over. None them are the ‘real’ me, and they all are.

If you think that the ‘masks’ you put on in social situations are not yourself, it’s worth considering why you choose to put them on. @Dan_DeColumna has some good suggestions. You say you’re a thinker, which is far from a character flaw, but maybe it’s time to take a little bit of action.

Cruiser's avatar

Yes you are thinking too much. I too play different roles, dad, boss, scout leader after those task are I put on my cape and become my own secret super hero and rescue my sorry ass by kicking it out and play my guitar…play my music….do what ever my heart desires with ZERO concern for what anyone may think want or need from me. That is my time I deserve it!

plethora's avatar

Very good question. Would very much agree with @iphigeneia . I play different roles, but each one is the real me in that situation. I even act, which, I feel, displays a totally different side of me which I didnt know existed. But it’s still me. I can watch ten different people do the same lines and we each do them differently. I was raised in a very genuine family and have never felt that my real self was being compromised in spite of playing different roles.

davidbetterman's avatar

“All the world’s a stage, / And all the men and women merely players; / They have their exits and their entrances, / And one man in his time plays many parts…”

candide's avatar

All the world’s a stage, of course, and we jelly fish mere players… yes, so the show must go on, laugh, clown, laugh, etc., etc.,

You’ll be all right, you’re a smart jellydude! (each mask is part of who you are, not really a mask, but piece of your beautiful soul)

nebule's avatar

@Leanne1986 thank you… I liked it too hee hee,... you are brilliant xxxx

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, and yes. By my age, if I haven’t gotten use to who I am, it’s too late anyway. Yes, I do adjust my behavior to the situation. If that’s what you call ‘playing a role’ every one does it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

To some extent I do have a work mask but I’ve gotten to a point where in my family and social life, I don’t have to wear a mask.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I know exactly what you mean about wearing masks. That said, I refuse to do it anymore – which is probably why I walked out of the last three jobs I had. Is it “responsible”? Many people would say “no”, but if so, I don’t give a shit. I’m not going to do something that makes me miserable or doesn’t make me happy in life. It’s too damn short to play stupid games and live by other people’s rules. I’ve always felt this way, but I feel it even more ever since my best friend killed himself a couple months ago.

Berserker's avatar

I think all those masks we put on are our own, but might seem as otherwise since they fit different circumstances.

stardust's avatar

Of course I play different role’s in life, but ultimately I try to be true to myself. When I go against that, I feel miserable. I am learning every day

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