Person or character

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How many of us know who we are: a person or a character?

If we don’t understand who we are: a person or a character, it will be difficult to understand who others are. It will also be difficult to relate to them in the right way.

Character is a way of doing things that becomes fixed and becomes our dominant characteristic.

It is also “the personality or a part which an actor recreates.”

“Look at this man, how strong and decisive he is and how he knows his stuff!” That is the character that man is playing and that is obvious and easy to recognize — at least to others. Everyone plays a character in life and chooses it because it makes them more confident.

Aurora Mazzoldi: Innocent Treachery
Aurora Mazzoldi — Innocent Betrayal

Why Does the Character Give Us Confidance?

We believe — because we’ve noticed it in some adult who impressed us as children — that it’s the winning strategy for gaining the power (prestige, favors, obedience, etc.) that we care about.

“If it worked once, it will work again!” we think. So, we adopt it and let it manage us.

What benefit do we get (or, at least, we think we do)?

We no longer have to weigh things and decide when faced with life’s situations. The character acts in our place, but always in the same way, in a mechanical way.

“I often observe ways of doing things that I no longer like. I would like to change them, but I can’t…”

Who have we become? A character? How can we get rid of it once and for all?

How Do We Build It? Who Plays the Victim?

A mother wants her son to come to her house every Sunday for lunch because she likes it and because she thinks it’s the right thing to do. She then uses many strategies to enforce this habit.

She creates an expectation towards him and reinforces it by complaining or pretending to be in pain. In this way, she will make him worry and force him to obey.

She is playing the victim, which is a character creator, and to which we all resort!

It may happen that her son succumbs and even a benevolent friend does her best to please her, moved to compassion by her complaints. The mother will then reinforce her strategies to stabilize the power she has gained. Over time, she will make this a habit.

She can play the victim when she needs to and then revert to her habitual behavior; instead, she becomes more and more of a victim until she is a victim. From that point on, it is the character that influences her behavior.

This is what happens to those who seduce and seek power over the opposite sex. It is also the behavior of some women, who react by attacking the man they desire but are afraid of. You can also see the character in the upright man. A list of characters can be found on Wikipedia.

Are We People or Puppets?

We can rarely choose to be people or characters; we can rarely use the characters for our purposes.

Identification makes us “lose our memory”, it makes us forget who we are, it makes us forget that the character is not us!

In the end, it is an identification that makes us move, as if we were puppets. It is mechanical: we repeat and repeat the same experience, and react in the same way in every situation. Have we become puppets?

Are we seeing person or character? Look at “Witches” - Acrylic painting by Aurora Mazzoldi.
“Witches” — Acrylic painting by Aurora Mazzoldi

Here are some examples:

  • A dramatic character will end up being sick or failing.
  • A seductress will still be seductive at 80, looking ridiculous and old-fashioned.
  • A woman who plays Amazon, will have sad, conflicting relationships with her partners.
  • The straight man will repress sadness, sweetness, and compassion, and falls into despair.

We have chosen the character we play among many in order to obtain a power that seems not only pleasant but also reassuring.

Once it’s stabilized, it’s hard to let it go or give it less importance.

Person or Character? How to Stop Being a Character.

We cannot approach many situations correctly because they frighten us.

In addition, our character makes us feel anger, disappointment, and dissatisfaction.

Many things in our lives that we no longer like don’t work, and we don’t want them anymore. We understand this, but understanding is not enough to change anything.

We cannot willfully choose to be people or characters.

Teatro Burattini Wikimedia Foto Luigi Chiesa
Photo by Luigi Chiesa, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
  • You can’t “eliminate” an emotion just because one morning you decide that’s enough, and you want to stop it.
  • You don’t solve a situation by despising it and fighting it because you think it’s annoying.
  • It’s not worth getting angry at yourself because you can’t suppress an emotion or avoid a situation.

Self-Acceptance

The only way to “get over it” is to recognize it through an “inner search” and integrate it.

How can we integrate an emotion that is inside us?

The first step is self-acceptance, acceptance of all our parts, physical and emotional, with their needs and their characteristics.

Self-acceptance means listening to the inner child that is screaming and kicking. It means allowing the child to express dissatisfaction, anger, or fear, and waiting for the emotion to subside.

The important thing in all of this is not to add more fuel to the fire.

How to Take Energy out of the Mechanism.

We give energy to the character out of ignorance and habit.

It is possible to fill ignorance with observation and understanding. But we can’t change habit with a few moments of observation. We should remember that we have created a mechanism of thoughts and emotions that feeds our character. It takes time to deactivate a mechanism.

If it takes time to deactivate it, you can avoid feeding it.

The mechanism remains there, as do all our emotional forces, but if we don’t give it our attention — our identification — it remains inactive.

How to Recognize Characters

We are the ones who have to manage the character, not our emotional forces! To choose to be people or characters, we must recognize characters. When we recognize them, we can separate from them, but it doesn’t happen by will.

If we want to free ourselves from the emotional forces that control us, we should listen to them, get to know them — through observation — and then withdraw attention from them. We must know how to withdraw interest if we do not want them to interfere with our decisions.

If you want to “eliminate” them, you create a state of hostility and struggle that feeds them and makes them your enemy.

It’s an enemy that always wins!

Aurora Mazzoldi