Roles and Expectations

July 12, 2016

Everybody is a product of their upbringing, life circumstances, experiences, interpersonal relationships, and culture. That is, until they decide instead to be a product of themselves, releasing themselves from all of the beliefs, roles, and fears that are linked to their past.

Since childhood, everything we live through and everything people tell us gets etched in our minds. However, we can modify it if we want to, since our lives belong to us. Nobody can expect more from us than ourselves. As adults, we decide how we want to live, which is probably not in line with what other people expect of us.

Mental programming

From the moment we were born, we receive an education and a culture, and we are exposed to different interpersonal relationships. This certainly leaves a mark on us; in some way, we’re programmed by all the information we receive, which determines the different roles we will play in the different areas of our lives.

Mental programming is something that we continually receive, leaving a deep mark on us regarding how we should interact with others, what other people expect of us, and how the world works. As a result, we also develop an idea of how we should be based on the information we receive from other people.

head in a cage

The influence of stereotypes and prejudice on our roles

Since childhood, we receive an image of ourselves and the world that we use as adults to interact with people in a certain way. Stereotypes and prejudices are generalizations about people or groups of people and their characteristics, which we learn from the adults around us.

Roles are certain behavioral attitudes that depend on the situation we’re in, which we’ve also learned since we were very young. Above all, we learn to develop the role that will represent us most in life, which will also be the one that we’ll identify with the most.

The need to please can lower self-esteem

In many cases, we’ve been very clearly taught what other people expect of us. However, we’re not really sure who we actually are. This is because we haven’t discovered our most profound abilities and weaknesses, and for that reason, you could say that we grow up with a low self-esteem, since we know perfectly well who we should be, but not who we are or who we want to be.

Because we don’t really know ourselves, we subconsciously choose to be who we’re expected to be, and we put a lot of effort into pleasing others, into fulfilling the role that we were taught to play since we were young.

Mental reprogramming

However, it’s possible to leave the role we were assigned and discover who we really are and who we want to be. We should work towards mental reprogramming, or on discarding who we “should be” and substituting it for “who we want to be.”

tree person

This is both a conscious and subconscious effort that involves looking deep inside ourselves until we discover the programming that we’ve received since we were young, but that is no longer making us happy.

“Your biggest competitor is who you want to become.”

-Jim Taylor-

I have the right to be myself

Being aware of, discovering, and modifying the roles that were passed onto you, as well as the beliefs about relationships and the world that you were taught, means allowing you to be yourself. Freedom is the ability to choose for yourself, without feeling obligated to do what you were taught. In other words, undoing all of the “oughts” you’ve been taught and substituting them for “wants.”

“You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.”

-Yogi Bhajan-

We all have a right to be ourselves, and letting ourselves do that means being happy, since the only way to be happy is to rid ourselves of what others want from us and building our lives according only to how we want them to be.

Nobody can deny us the right to be ourselves except ourselves. Nobody can decide how we should play our roles as adults. Nobody should be able to dictate who we should be except ourselves. Nobody can force us to do anything, because we’re free to choose where we want our lives to go.

“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt-