Mid-October Surprise: Roles vs Who I Am


Roles vs Who I Am

Do you find yourself switching from your new found sense of self to the old “you” around certain people, places or things? This is what I call “switching into a Role”.

What is a Role?

Roles are micro-identities we take on to address certain circumstances and people.  We all have them.  I am a coach, an IT guy, a dad, a ex-husband, etc.

Are Roles Unhealthy?

Roles by themselves are not problematic unless those roles are built on a foundation of shame, self-hate and self-rejection.

How Does One Switch Unhealthy Roles into Healthy Ones?

We evolve our unhealthy role by first fully understanding what we feel when we’re into the old role, what the objective of the old role is (to control or to please), and then we begin to resolve and release the hurts there-in.  The first go-round with this process is the most difficult.  Once you have managed to evolve a role into a healthy expression of your authentic self, future role evolutions become simple because you have a template and an understanding of where to go and what to expect.

To outline the How-To:

  • Identify the Role and and Its objective (what does it aim to achieve by being what it is)
  • Release and heal any shame, hurt, anger, rejection, etc
  • Begin to explore the loving remaining Self and how that Self behaves and responds to that circumstance or responsibility
  • Begin to practice that new behavior and approach
  • Discuss with your coach what you discover, clear anything that comes up and continue forward.

To start assessing what Roles you have in your life, do the following:

  • Note the roles you have that are obvious
  • Note the motivator behind these roles (is it shame, fear, approval, love, control, joy)
  • Begin to watch to see if you behave differently between two different types of circumstances.  This will help you see more subtle roles you take on
  • Make note of themes or roles that others remark about you (i.e. you are kind, you are caring, you are smart, you like to help, you are stand-off-ish, you are negative, etc)
  • Note their various motivators
  • Discuss your discoveries with your coach. Together you will assess how to evolve these into healthy, strong roles for yourself or abandon the role all together

Roles are important and normal.  What is critical is to build our roles in a way that is authentic to ourselves and others around us and that serve in love, respect and honor.

Write me with any questions AND with your successes and insights in exploring your roles!  I want to know what you find!

Till next month,


Marshall Burtcher

Lives in Boise, Idaho. Father of 2 smart, beautiful children. Has a passion for the Alien movie series, movie scores, EDM, self-development, and ice cream. Tends to be found talking deep things with friends or out and about Downtown when not tinkering with Free The Self or coaching with clients.