How to become your own role model

At an early age, we are actively encouraged to have a role model. But what does it mean to be a role model?


As we mature, it’s clear that those around us influence the person that we become. As we move into adulthood with responsibilities, desires and, at times, an overarching anxiety about what the future looks like. It’s clear that we are urged to seek a role model that we can mould against.

I instantly see this image of us all lined up in a warehouse fitting into ready-made moulds that define who we are.

I appreciate that having someone to aspire to can be motivational. However, I also find it difficult to get on board with.

Imagine you’re buying a house. As you stand outside viewing this potential home, you see the exterior is exactly what you wanted, and you buy it. Afterwards, you step inside, and you see damage - mould, it’s unliveable. Yet, on the outside, it was the dream home.

If we are being realistic with ourselves, isn’t this what a role model can represent?

We get to see a snapshot of their achievements, of what they decide to project. We rarely get to see their struggles, the hurdles they’ve had to climb. But most importantly, we don’t get to see how they feel inside.

A personal perspective 

It was surprising to see that research shows the specific function of a role model was limited – we all have them, yet we don’t know what to do with them.

When I consider my own thoughts about a role model, I find myself facing the mirror.

The only thing that I can control is the hereand now. I can control how I react to my surroundings, and I can actively decide if myexperiences - both positive and negative - will influence how I interact with the world around me.

As I construct my own idea of a role model I find myself looking at a version of me, a “possible” self, based on my own needs, and goals and focusing on my individual development that is not comparable to anyone else’s experiences.

What would it be like if we gave ourselves the opportunity to be our own role models?

Becoming your own role model

When working with clients around the inner child, I often ask them to bring a photo of them as a child, I then ask the client to consider "what does that child need?".

When we take the time to explore and reflect on our feelings both in the present and our past, we might see that the difficult memories and experiences we've had have brought us to who we are today. 

Have you ever considered the parts of you that may be admirable to others?

I have always been good at listening. To me, this comes naturally and, when training to actively listen, felt simple. However, I forget that this is a strength. To listen takes focus, attention, discipline, compassion and care.

When you start to explore your strengths. What inner strengths can you unfold?

I'd invite you to find a picture of yourself as a child, put it somewhere you will see it every day, and offer that childlove, compassion and safety. Have a pause and acknowledge your experiences and the strengths you've grown since the start of your life.

Ask yourself:

Would you as a child be proud of the person you are today? 

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Burnley, Lancashire, BB11 1NN
Written by Alannah Parkinson, Specialises in anxiety, self-esteem and trauma.
Burnley, Lancashire, BB11 1NN

Alannah Jade (BSc Hons) is a qualified Pluralistic Counsellor and Therapeutic Consultant, she believes that every client deserves a counsellor that will provide a tailored approach to therapy. Specialising in working with trauma, Alannah has a business in Lancashire where she provides both online and in-person therapy.

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