Wow, what a question! What a minefield? How many people actually ask themselves this question or even consider whether they’re ‘acting the part’? Not many. Unless illness, tragedy, or family disputes force such a conflict within us.
As l have previously said, this again refers to labelling, which as humans we learn from our parents. We learn to make order of the world around us by attaching these labels to everything and everyone around us. Mum, Dad, Brother, Sister, Nan, Grandad are but a few of the definitions we learn. In this way we learn to perceive the ‘self’ and label to match. Firstly what it means to be a male or female and the learned perceptions attached to understand the definition. Examples include;
Female acceptable behaviour/Male acceptable behaviour, play things, dress code, hair styles, colours, educational leanings, careers etc. ‘Social conditioning’
Obviously, speech, manners, respect, rules and consequences are necessary tools in this process, however ‘socially acceptable’ dress/fashion/education/careers should ideally not be a part of this process. How many times do we hear ‘boys don’t cry’? ‘Girls don’t play rough games’. ‘Girls don’t swear/fight/sweat/show anger’? To be a ‘real man’ you have to be tough, don’t show your feelings, and be strong. The lists of defining behaviours appropriate to either sex are endless.
By the time we have survived puberty, we emerge from our chrysalis, hopefully a young adult. Our sense of self may be ‘at war’ with the outdated acceptable norms imbedded by our parents, yet in order to succeed in society many of their teachings need to be adhered to. If as a female or male, we feel we do not ‘fit’ the stereotypical norms of our allotted sex, we often do our very best to conceal that fact in order to fit in, avoid ridicule, shame, rejection from ‘the crowds’. Our fledgling selves are trying to find our way in the world but our brain is washed into needing to blend in with the crowd. This is done to not draw attention to ourselves or bring shame on our families.
So being untrue to ourselves and our individual nature is not, on the whole to our benefit. We hide our lights under a bushel and ‘keep the faith’ for the benefit of our peer group/family/superiors etc. (To avoid rejection and isolation) However everyone has felt the total isolation within a crowded room.
Who are we trying to please? Whose displeasure are we trying to avoid? Who or what will abandon us if we reveal our true colours?! Some will and some won’t. Learning that being a ‘people pleaser’ whilst putting your true self last only leads to misery. It is often a very scary yet liberating moment.
Those of us who dare to say no. Dare to be ‘me’ and be true to our selves, not false, not a sheep, pay a price. This price is often losing fake/toxic people from our lives, being alone at times, yet this opens up the opportunity to find more ‘like minded’ people.
Yes, it is a risk. The very risk is what holds many back. It is a risk worth taking, in my opinion for the freedom to be ‘Me’.
Copyright JP 2015