A few years back I was at my bank withdrawing some money. My intention was to invest in the market. I was referred to one of their investment advisers who told me, “That’s dangerous.” The implied message is not just to be fearful, but that you will get hurt because are ignorant or incapable of making your own financial decisions. The implied role assigned to me is the victim and to let them play the hero by helping me. It’s interesting how much can be communicated with just two words, “That’s dangerous.”
In one comment, she was offering me a completely packaged story. It was a role I was conditioned to accept since childhood. I was the innocent bystander that needed help. I didn’t know what I was doing and I was in over my head. It cast the stock market as a dangerous dragon that could hurt me. She assumed the role of helpful adviser recommending I avoid a complicated danger. She would protect me. She assigned her self to the role of hero and offered me a feeling of hope and security if I followed her suggestions. All for a price of course.
I was aware of the fear she was offering me to carry by believing those two words. I was also aware of the powerlessness and insecurity I would feel if I accepted her assigned victim role. From that victim point of view, her hero role would look comforting, and therefore tempting. The problem with this nifty package is that I knew the price. For the comfort of her being my hero, I first had to accept the fear.
Learning Your Role In Life
How can we put on such a huge story so quickly with just two words? In childhood we learn through interactions and stories to adopt roles for our selves and to assign roles to others. Comic books, movies, and fairy tales of a dashing prince have us imagining the hero (rescuer). As our imagination is filled with this story figure, we usually assign our self various points of view. Sometimes we comfort our self importance and imagine being that heroic figure and defeating villains and evil forces. At other times we put them on a pedestal and enjoy the awe and reverence we bestow on them. The effect of the latter is that we assume our selves to be less powerful, incapable, and needing help in challenging situations. We can call this playing a victim role.
One of the consequences of habitually applying these roles to our selves, and others, is that we need some kind of villain in order to keep our hero myths alive. Military war heroes need evil doers. Police officers need criminals. Trial attorneys need bad guys to punish. Politicians need victims in order to justify their actions as good, right, and heroic.
By the time we are adults we apply the opinion, “good person” or “bad person” to a human being. The simplest part of our mind craves a simple answer to complex human situations. Our self-hero image tells us we are right about our assessment, and we feel good about our judgment of others.
Out of habit we assign the role or title of “bad person” to someone very quickly. In that assumption we miss the opportunity to see them as a human being with life history of experiences and challenges that led them to the situation they are in. Implied in the assessment is that we assign our self the hero role, the “good character” in the story.
Learning the Victim Role
We are trained since a young age to assign the role of hero to others. We make others responsible and thereby make our self dependent on them. Take your parents hand and have them lead you across the street or you will get hurt or killed. Follow your parents direction or you will get punished. We learned to live out these roles as a means of survival. Putting your life in the hands of others is the best thing to do as a small person learning to make your way in a big and chaotic world. However, according to this early mindset, there is always someone that knows what is better for you than your self. Some people eventually wake up from their role playing and decide to live their own life instead of the one others assign to them. Some people don’t wake up to the automated roles of their life.
For the victim, when someone comes along offering to play that caretaker, rescuer, hero, role, we feel infused with hope and are thankful that they are answering our prayers. It is a prayer that we have learned to pray to a more powerful being out side of our self. Again looking for help and power outside instead of within our self, not really discovering what we are capable of.
The Business of Your Role In Life
The victim role of powerlessness, overwhelm, and insecurity is continually projected at us. We learn to follow the rules and behaviors of others in order to feel safe. How many commercials tell you that investing is complicated hard work and that you should leave it to trained professionals? Pay them the commission and have them save you from hurting your self with financial mistakes. The message,,, you are not smart enough or good enough to do this your self.
Insurance companies make their income from you being scared of possible outcomes and relying on them for comfort. Banks protect your money. Men are advised what to buy their loved one at the jewelry store so not to screw up a holiday. Marketers assign us the role that we don’t know what to do in our lives or even in our relationship. They come with answers to alleviate us from the fear they have offered us.
The Politics of Your Role In Life
Politicians count on you to project on to them your hero stories learned early in life. We study the American Presidents and their great and challenging deeds. Our teachers have us put them on pedestals and project awe and reverence at them. We don’t see that they are human beings just like us. In our minds we associate current presidents with past presidents and the attitude of someone saving us is comforting. In that imagined story of comfort we don’t notice the powerless role we assign for our self. Our projected image of them blinds us from seeing the actual character and qualities of our leaders.
What Role Will You Choose for Your Self?
How much do you live in a state of powerlessness, and insecurity because of the beliefs and roles you have adopted? How often do you comfort your self emotionally by placing others on pedestals? What price do you pay by assigning other people to be your heroes? How often do you see people as ignorant or incapable just so you can attempt to save them and prop up your own imaged hero image? What roles do you play in your life and who assigns them to you?
The process to unraveling these mysteries and what we are actually capable of is a matter of self discovery. The Self Mastery course in Awareness can help you discover the roles you play in your life. The Self Mastery program is a means to inventory and change your beliefs, emotions, and the roles you have been playing in your life.
No one will assign you the role of waking up from your habitual patterns. You have to assign that role to your self.