Shakespeare once wrote,
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.
While he wrote this in reference to aging and the stages of a man’s life, it applies to us in many more ways. What parts do we really play in our lives?
How we act depends strongly upon who we are with. With our teachers, we may act the diligent student or the troublemaker. With our business partners, we may act the confident, can-do professional.
Whoever we are with, we are still ourselves, but we consider our behavior different from our behavior in some natural state. This invites the question, What is our natural state? Is it how we are with our families? No, there are things I would do and feel more natural with my friends which I would not do with my family. Is it how we are with our friends? I highly doubt that as well, as it also works the other way.
The fact of the matter is, we play different parts with different people. We take on different roles depending on our relation to others.
The reverse is also true. To others, we play a certain part in their lives, with a certain personality and familiarity. Each person in someone else’s life fills a different role. We may play our part in relation to others specifically to fill the role others expect us to fill. And that part may be set by how they first perceive us.
But therein lies a problem. By admitting that we play different parts for different people, or that we play our part to fill a role for someone, we admit that we are constantly acting. We are acting out our own person, many parts in the same—we are all samefags and will remain samefags so long as we live.
This invites another question: How can we change the role we play? Adopting a new role immediately is impossible—others expect us to play a certain role. We must change our roles slowly. We must move ourselves into a position from which we may enter our new role with others’ approval.
But what is this position? Is it not itself a different role from what we play now? Then we must move into a position to enter it. How do we approach it at all? Is it even possible?
A paradox indeed.
Alas, all we really can ask is, What would happen if tomorrow I tried being more than what I am to you now?