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You don't have to accept a role others assign ---

Created: 04/07/2014 3:15 PM WNYT.com
By: Benita Zahn

I am at an impasse with a family member. He wants to cast me as the villain in his life. I have decided not to accept the role. I realize he needs a villain at this moment in his life but I am sticking with the role of relative. It's the role I was born to play.  I'm not his mother, girlfriend or shrink.  I love him with all my heart and am always ready to help.

But he's got things he's working on.  Like all life transitions, they create upheaval and shake the ground beneath us. That's unnerving. So it's not unusual to look for ways to lay blame, for the corners we are having trouble, navigating. 

I think many of us keep two sets of books on our lives - the one that holds all the perceived hurts and wrongs and the one filled with kindnesses done us. The 'book of hurts' is written in large, bold letters making it easier to read. The 'book of kindness' tends to be in softer script and may be more nuanced so it takes greater effort to read.  What we read on those pages may fly in the face of scenarios we created as we were missing those turns in our lives. So we have to open our hearts as well when we read those pages. Hurt and anger are easy to hang onto - they don't require anything of us. Kindness implies a responsibility, a respect.

For all who are cast in roles you don't want, remember the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. "

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