Roles Are Like Clothing

Roles are like clothing we learned to put on to protect ourselves from the cold. When we take off the roles we have been hiding behind the naked being we are stands there – vulnerable and defenseless. The being we are, as distinct from the roles we’ve been playing, doesn’t need the defensive weapons we invented to scare the enemy away. Those other people out there are naked under their roles too – they are playing possum, or creating a stink, or baring their fangs and growling, or signaling anger and threatening like a chimp, or running like a rabbit. Their roles were developed for the sake of survival, just as our roles were. The difference between our survival tactics and those of animals is that theirs are necessary for the continuation of their physical existence, and ours are not. But we act as though ours were. We conceal ourselves because we fear that the pain accompanying the act of self-disclosure will literally destroy us, or fundamentally damage our being in some horrible way, rendering us maimed and dysfunctional. In addition, we fear we may destroy others with our truth-telling.

—Brad Blanton

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