Saturday, May 21, 2011

Living a Drama-free Life

Drama. In my work and daily dealings with people, I’m told they don’t like drama; and in the next breath, drama is created through their words and the charged emotional energy of upset, assumption, self-righteousness, self-defense, complaints, whining and anger. Drama is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a composition to tell a story usually involving conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue and typically designed for theatrical performance.” We all, myself included, can get caught up in the drama but it takes a great deal of self-awareness to know when one is on that “stage” and to know when to make an exit from that theatrical performance in life.

I know drama well, not just because I have two degrees in theater arts, but because I use to be a drama addict. I was the epitome of “victim” in which the world and everyone in it was against me. Life was full of angst, and I was emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted. When things got too quiet or were going too good, I’d stir up some drama. I’d find something wrong with someone, something to criticize or judge, or took offense to the slightest thing because I was bored(thus the addiction), and more importantly, in avoidance of looking at myself and my unhappiness. It wasn’t until I crashed and burned that I began a conscious effort of self-exploration and -awareness of my habitual patterns of behavior and emotional reaction in coping with life. I came to realize that I was my own worst enemy. With further support of counseling, life coaching and spiritual teachings, I began the healing work of past hurt and experiences. I owned my part in the responsibility of past dramas through my choices, actions and behavior, thus releasing the baggage of pride, victimization, hurt, grudges, anger, resentment, and the need to be right and better than everyone else in order to feel better about myself.

Drama fills an inner need to feel counted in this world, to feel alive, even in misery; it stems from insecurity, low self-esteem and a sense that we are not in control of our life. The problem is that it becomes such a way of life that we are completely oblivious to how we perpetuate it and show up in it; thus the lack of self-awareness. I saw a wonderful statement on a church billboard this morning that said, “It’s difficult to see the picture when you’re inside the frame.” It rings similar to the saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees” which means that each tree blocks a part of our vision until there are so many trees that you cannot see. Each drama that we add and proactively create and/or in which we participate represents a tree.

If we truly desire a drama-free life, we don’t engage in the emotional energy of the latest indiscretion by taking something personally, minor setbacks in a situation, or when something happens. We are human, and as humans we have emotion, so venting that emotion is important if it’s done in a healthy way. However, targeting that emotion towards another person or in a situation is not healthy or productive, but rather drama-inducing. Venting involves privately releasing one’s emotionally-charged thoughts and opinions. Once released, we let it go and forget about it, or deal with the situation for a resolution. If the issue lingers in one’s mind and heart, then there’s an invitation for deeper healing around some past baggage left unchecked. Additionally, it may be an invitation to have a voice, which includes having a productive dialogue to directly deal with the situation in order to move forward. Fuming, bitching about it, holding onto resentment and grudges, defending oneself in and around it, whining and rehashing the details through the retelling of one’s story to anyone who will listen serves only to feed the drama.

So yes, we all have our moments when we are pissed and upset. Let’s exhale that energy in a productive way. Call a friend; ask if you can vent, then let it fly. Upon completion, take a deep breath then begin self-inquiry: What about that set me off? What makes me feel a need to be defensive? Is this situation really bothering me, or is it something that happened in my past that I haven’t resolved and forgiven? Inquiry helps us shift energetic gears from “D” into “P”: drama into peace. If you ask questions before shooting off emotionally-charged bullets, fewer people, including yourself get hurt, and greater understanding and forgiveness occurs.


Leah64 said...

Always love reading your blog, my Friend. Once again you nailed it....right on the proverbial "drama" head. Love you!

Anonymous said...

This post helped a lot in respect to my relationship with my older daughter. I need to breathe out the negative and realize what it is about the situations with her that are upsetting me.