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So Much Drama

Is someone spreading nasty rumours about you? Or accusing you of things you haven’t done? Has someone you trusted turned malicious? Or, does it simply seem like negative people and situations keep happening to you, one after the other?

All these damaging relationships; we lament over them constantly. Why is the world so unfair? All we have ever done is give. And why do we end up being the victim instead? Why is there so much drama?

How the Habit of Drama Forms

The thing is: Drama is a habit.

Now before we allow our egos to get defensive, just think about it. When life is dull and unremarkable, we inadvertently seek to make it more stimulating. When our lives is filled with negativity, we subconsciously look out for the negative to avoid getting harmed again. When we are deeply hurt and lost, we naturally clutch at anything we can to stay afloat.

Any of these situations draw us to drama – whether it is our own or others – because drama fills a gap. Drama seemingly affirms for us that “we are pitiful” and deserve sympathy. And that sympathy feels good because it reinforces the idea that we have people who care, that we are not alone and neglected.

Drama Depletes Our Ability to Live Life Productively

However, whether we are the one who seem to encounter drama every other day, or the one being drawn into someone else’s soap opera, drama is exhausting and limiting. It saps our life force, depletes our ability to respond to life productively, and drains us of the capacity to welcome true goodness into our lives. By allowing drama to trap us in its vicious cycle, we lose the ability to step into the full potential of our lives.

Eliminating Drama

So how do we reduce or eliminate this debilitating habit?

1. Stop Feeding Unwanted Guests

So maybe someone you used to love and trust has done something that amounted to a betrayal. And you can’t help but keep wondering why this person (X) behaved the way he or she did, and whether all that love or friendship X had professed was even real to begin with. This replays over and over in your head, and you’re relaying this story to your friends to get their justification that X is the one in the wrong.

Stop feeding this unwanted memory! Now, X has already ruined a part of your life. Why do you want to keep reopening the wound by replaying the scene in your head or recounting the incident to others? Your head space is precious and should be kept for valuable memories and thoughts.

Don’t try forcing the thoughts of X out of your head either.

That would likely reinforce those thoughts because you have to turn your attention to them in order to actively let them go. Just let the thoughts of X be. (Yes, let them be.) Treat those thoughts as unwanted guests. You don’t have to get angry or chase them out as that would spoil your mood. But you don’t have to feed them either. If you can manage it, you can tell them to go without getting upset. Otherwise, just let them be. Very soon, your valued guests (valuable thoughts) will realise the unwanted guests are a nuisance and kick them out.

2. Don’t Take Things Personally

I couldn’t explain this better than Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, who sums it up perfectly: “Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

The thing is, the ego has a way of making things personal.

That a person is behaving in a certain way because of us. But that’s not true. That person is reacting based on his or her version of reality, which is derived from the personal experiences he or she has gone through. If that person has not experienced or understood happiness, it would be challenging for him or her to portray it.

Miguel Ruiz said something else that’s comforting, “If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”

3. Redirect Your Energies – What Do You Want to Create?

When we are stuck in a negative situation, we can feel helpless and powerless. This puts us in the role of a victim, stripping us of hope. Defeated, we feel we have no control over our circumstances. But do we really have no choice?

Redirect our energies to what we want to create instead!

When we do that, we realise we do have choices. And that starts to empower us. As we practise this more and more, we begin to see that we don’t have to let a person or situations dictate how our life unfolds. That we can empower ourselves.

So what is it you want to create? Is it a better career with more empowering bosses? Then start re-skilling / upskilling yourself for what you want to do. Or start looking for a new job. Is it a better relationship with someone who will love and treasure you? Then start by appreciating yourself, and recognising that you are lovable and worthy. Expand your social circle, or perhaps start taking a second look at the person who’s loyally been waiting for you.

You might even want to try something different (especially if the typical types you dated hasn’t worked for you)!

4. Know That You’re In Charge of Your Feelings

People who draw you into their drama make you feel as though you are responsible for their feelings. That if you don’t listen to their latest dramatic outburst, their depression will deepen and it would be your fault. Sometimes, we give in as we feel sorry for their plight. So we carry some of their emotional baggage. Stop! This is a vicious cycle that helps neither the other party nor yourself. By allowing them to cry foul over and over again, you’re letting their unwanted memories fester. At the same time, you’re establishing a reputation as the go-to person when drama erupts.

Know that you’re not responsible for the feelings of others.

You’re responsible and in charge of yours. So the next time, someone comes to you with a dramatic episode, try:

• Steering the conversation away.

• Telling him / her about the first two points. (Stop feeding unwanted guests; Don’t take things personally).

• Let the person know you understand, but he / she need to take charge of his / her feelings and battle the demons to feel better. You can’t do it for them.

• Let the person know you are engaged in something and need to go.

• Minimise time spent together (if the above doesn’t work).

• Re-evaluate the relationship and see if you need to cut the cords (especially if the time spent together has become more stressful and toxic than constructive).

We live in a world of duality. Negativity will always exist. If we learn not to feed negativity, they become life lessons to help us understand and appreciate the positive things in life.

dawn limABOUT Dawn Lim, 

Founder at Phoenix Sanctuary

Dawn believes in living life fully—every single moment—with whatever she has. She is a life coach, as well as a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant. Prior to that, she spent 14 years in the corporate world predominantly in marketing, events, and communications roles. Dawn has two cats, a dog, and a better half.

Learn more about Dawn and her other articles here.