Personas are the roles people play. They are different to their true essence flowing through their lives in every way. They are often a way that people live their lives, from learned observation, of how they should act, rather than from who they are. They live their lives in roles they enact. And can become a role player in each of their life arenas. As personas.
These personas were often perfected over a lifetime, or due to inexperience, to provide a behavioural foundation …to fit in, to be accepted, to gain approval, to hide their real light under a bushel, for fear of being punished, ridiculed, or standing out, for example. To fulfil a role, or roles, that were/are acceptable.
And over time they can feel like Personas Non Grata, with the struggle of the weight of being a numerous pretender. In how to feel. Or what to do. Separated from their True You. Discovering there is a fragmenting from what’s real for them, as an individual.
Ideally, integrating those separate selves, to operate as one true Source Self, and to flow through life authentically, more easily, is how wholeness works most effectively. Yet sometimes this is not immediately possible. There can be many layers to uncover, and rediscover. And oftentimes it can take a lot of effort, which requires small step progression, and a staging process, for easing into Whole True Self Being.
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, said Joseph Campbell. And a marvellous pursuit to accomplish in a lifetime.
I had a client some time ago who revelled in her separate personas. But the cracks were beginning to show. She struggled with one issue in particular. The transitions point. The switch between roles she played in her life every day. The Executive. The Figurehead. The Partner. The Mother. The Daughter. The Friend. They did not blend. And they were becoming, less satisfying. As her Personas, Non Grata, were amplifying.
She had hard wired herself so tightly into each of her separate roles, in each of her personas, for pleasing others, that moving from one role to another started to fill her with nervousness, anxiety, and tension, daily.
Because her soul was knocking. And she wasn’t listening. Being who she really was, was beckoning.
She knew that she was starting to feel an unravelling in trying to sustain the perfecting of the states she was enacting, or the roles she was playing. Becoming more disillusioned with her life as it was unfolding.
Her modus operandi was being impressed upon by others. And moulding herself to their expectations, and needs, or some form of how she thought she should be, meant that she was consequently losing herself, and fragmenting, in order to please.
Regardless, cultivating each of her separate personas remained her priority, because she had invested a lifetime in their making. And she feared that she could lose significantly if that separateness began dissolving. She couldn’t see how it could be possible to live consistently authentically, albeit adaptively, in each part of her life because the fallout, in her eyes, would be relationally and professionally catastrophic.
While it would have been tempting to move her into a full blown process of integrating, pragmatically we only had a short program available to assist her in her coping, and it was important to honour her process of managing, and maintaining how she ordered her life while she was embarking on her whole self undertaking.
So we put love into helping find her lost identity, while maintaining the persona world that she was inhabiting, and which for many years she had found comforting.
We came up with a strategy.
It was the first step in her Whole Self remembering. To her natural way of being.
We established a process of grounding between each role she was playing. To alleviate the transitional anxiety. To find herself. And a safe place for regrouping. Free of expectation, guilt, pressure, fear, of making mistakes, and to opening into her true inner grace.
She visualised her ideal spot for meditating. She explained it. And I drew her a mandala picture. We nailed it.
She could see herself on a solid rock sitting in a rural setting, with space around her, regrouping herself before each next role undertaking. That visual, and picture, gave her the reminder for self connecting, when transitioning.
It was a process she adopted to alleviate the transition tensions that had her:
- Learning to identify with her true essence, and sit in that refreshment
- Finding time for solace in her own soul integrity, and relishing in it
- Relaxing, and revisiting herself regularly, to get re-acquainted with lost parts of herself
- Effectively easing into each next role with a pause for breathing, de-stressing, and transitioning
It was a ‘feeling her whole self’ beginning. A shift in focus, to an authentic life locus. Of Self friendliness. Into the heart of her own beingness. Meeting herself authentically, regularly. And a way to gently allow that newly aligned state to enter into each part of her separate life selves. And her homecoming start, that could gently and progressively permeate all of her life parts.
Sometimes a full blown process of integrating can lead to a total unravelling of a life which can be unconscionably distressing. Focusing on incremental steps of tuning into her personhood was the best way to meet her goal, to stay reliable in her roles, and slowly filter a new authentic glow. To focus on the best way she could be and authentically grow, while maintaining, and slowly reintegrating herself, in the life she had so far built to love and know.
If you struggle with transitions between each of your life sections, and wish to find more time to honour your true self, to regroup and collect, here are some beginning suggestions:
- Meditate with headphones in a train for 10 to 20 minutes on your way to work, to connect to your Self
- Get off a bus one stop earlier and walk through fresh air before arriving at your destination, to re-energise your Self
- Define a non-interruptible non negotiable time daily, or weekly, for you to sit with yourself completely to get to know yourself again, innately
- Park a few blocks away before your destination for a self love breathing recalibration, for a walk, or a song, or a mantra repeat long
- If you work from home, find a spot just your own, that is a pleasure for you to sit in uninterruptible leisure, and find your inner treasure
- Find a pastime that fills you with what you love about just you, and take yourself regularly on a date to do it, for just you
- Avoid distracting from difficult feelings, with social media or addictive behaviours, and seek help with identifying their causing, for easing.
An evolution from within. Is a great place to begin. To re-enter your True Self knowing. Because it can be hard to sustain a life of pretending, and persona tending. Particularly when the gap between your public persona(s) and your private testimonies, are widening.
Giving yourself time to breathe into you, will ease you into blending, the true you, for self and other relational mending. And bridge the distance that you can be feeling between each of the roles in which you are leading.