Our story is all that we have experienced up until his point, all that we are experiencing at this moment and all that we will experience in the future. And part of what makes up our story is the roles that we play.

However, these are roles that might not even seem like roles, they can appear to be just how our life is. And this is why it makes it so difficult to question these roles and to change them.

There is the saying ‘I am everything and I am nothing’. But does this saying have any relevance to life or is it just some fancy quote that sounds good? Let’s take a closer look at the different factors that are involved and if this quote has any truth to it

The Mind

It is a consequence of the conditioning that one has received throughout life that is the primary cause in creating and in keeping these roles alive. These are supported and therefore kept in place by the ego minds need to keep everything the same. It does this because its perception of what is safe is based on what is familiar.

This conditioning produces thoughts, emotions, feelings and sensations; these will then manifest into behaviours. Each one of these aspects helps to keep these roles in place.

The Environment

So along with our own internal processes there are also environmental or external factors that are re-enforcing these roles. This could be from family, friends and colleagues .There is also the societal influence, which includes the media, religion and the government.

Now, it is not that these external influences have absolute power; it is just that they are triggering what already exists within and this is what keeps the story alive. These could be classed as inner wounds that can either be healed or inflamed.

It is quite clear that a society will create or produce certain roles and there will also be roles that are more common than others. An inner vulnerability already exists in certain people from a childhood that inevitably had traumatic moments. This vulnerability can then be taken advantage off by the media, religion and government.


An extremely important factor here is acceptance or approval. The roles that we play might not be particularly empowering, but what they will give one is a certain amount of acceptance. And an important question that might arise is; if I was to change my behaviour and view of myself would I still be accepted.

Firstly there will always be people who accept us and who don’t; regardless of who we are and how we behave. The more we accept ourselves and are good and bad pints; the more others will be able too. There is a saying that says ‘it is better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not.

And secondly although there will be a small percentage of people who know how we behavave there will be large percentage of people that we encounter that have no idea who we are or what our behaviour is like. So therefore the only reasons that we play the same roles is because of these external triggers that are activating old trauma and patterns; that are waiting to be processed.


And just like how a living organism needs certain nutrients to survive, so does our story. Since in order for our story to survive it needs our attention and validation, without that it has nothing to live on.

What makes this a challenge is that fact that the majority of what is going on in our mind is going on at an unconscious level. This means that it is going on out of our conscious awareness. And unless one has worked on their history or processed any of their past, there is going to be a lot of ‘stuff’ that needs to be dealt with.

Our Five Senses

A widely held paradigm in today’s society is that what we experience with our five senses is the truth. This of course is not necessarily true, especially when the mind is involved. When it comes to the mind and how the mind functions; this is a stance that is potentially dangerous. And that if it is taken literally, will cause years of struggle and frustration.

With the mind seeing what is wants to see and what it does see is largely based on projection and interpretation.

The unmonitored mind is constantly projecting its own meaning onto everything it sees and experiences, regardless of its accuracy. And interpretation works by perceiving and processing reality by matching it up to past experiences and then coming to conclusions. However, these conclusions might have no relevance to what is happening.

Questioning Reality

So if it works this way, it then shows that it takes great awareness and courage to be able to question what our reality is showing us. If we wholeheartedly believe in what our five senses are showing us, then according to that, what we are experiencing must be true. And therefore it must be who we are.

Our ego mind will also perceive this as tantamount to its own death. Consciously we might want to change who we are and the roles that we play, but our mind has built its whole identity around this role or roles. And to change it would mean the death of the ego mind, or so it would seem.

Becoming the observers of our mind and letting go of our identification to it, will create the potential for our ego mind to be our trusted servant; as opposed to being its slave. This will allow the true self to appear and out of which will lead to true self expression.

What Roles Are We Playing?

So, what are the roles that we have been playing our whole life? These could be roles that don’t truly reflect who we are or roles that are not empowering.

As I have pointed out above, these roles can become so familiar that discomfort can be created at the thought of removing them. We can hold onto these roles even when they have no benefit to our own fulfilment.

What Is Real?

So of these roles are not who we are, then who are we? The simple answer would be to use the quote that I started off with ‘we are everything and nothing’. I would say this is something that will be revealed as we let go of our identification to roles and to our story.

The mind will naturally feel uncomfortable with this answer and this is because it needs and wants certainty (which is why the media is so popular). Whether something is real and true is not important to the ego mind. This is because if something is certain then it is familiar and if it is familiar then it must be safe. The mind will then feel at peace.

A Deeper Understanding

Other people can talk about their experiences and give their opinions and advice and this will give the mind something to ruminate over. This is important and it might be all that is possible in the early stages.

To have a visceral understanding and not just a theoretical understanding requires individual responsibility and commitment. There is always the potential of science to reveal what is true, but this is also possible through awareness of oneself.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Oliver J R Cooper and I have been on a journey of self awareness for over nine years and for many years prior to that I had a natural curiosity.

For over two years, I have been writing articles. These cover psychology and communication. This has also lead to poetry.

One of my intentions is to be a catalyst to others, as other people have been and continue to be to me. As well as writing articles and creating poetry, I also offer personal coaching. To find out more go to - http://www.oliverjrcooper.co.uk/

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