One of my favourite quotes comes from an episode of Sex and the City, when Miranda says to Carrie, ‘if you think I’m overreacting, you should see inside my head!’ It really hit home to me what happens when you over-think or have a tenancy to over-dramatise situations.
The idea and compulsion of being ‘addicted to the drama’ has been a habit I’ve managed to tame. I’ve never been one to title myself a drama queen (and I’m secretly hoping my friends aren’t calling me that behind my back!) but in my 20s and early 30s I’d get a sense that my life doesn’t seem as exciting until I have the opportunity to mix things up, have an interesting tale to recount, some newsworthy gossip, a crisis of some sort (stated with a hint of sarcasm), or just a plain whinge about what I want to change or a way I behaved, or more commonly ‘what someone else did to me’.
Anyone else willing to admit they feel or act this way too?
So, in the practice of ‘being’ I tried to consciously rid, remove or lessen this compulsion. To make an effort to not run my life by a radical range of emotions and experiences, rather to observe with grace, what is actually happening. To not force situations where I can then gloat, boast, complain or discuss the humour, pain, awkwardness, ridiculousness, conflict, frustration, happiness or what ever it is I feel.
I had to identify exactly what was my pay-off or reward for this behaviour
That’s hard and has many layers. Creating drama stirs up energy and I love that feeling. I discovered it simply as the adrenalin rush on a physical level combined with a feeling of worth on an emotional and mental level. I went through a range of experiences including, a feeling of superiority, being the rescuer to others, that my life is (more) exciting, unrealistic (or even imagined) expectations, I’m more interesting, a sense of magnetism and attraction to other dramatic people, being able to persuade people, a sense of belonging, the pleasure of daydreaming and fantasy, justifying decisions or giving in to temptations, being aloof or unhinged was more attractive, avoidance, could this be the genuine way I operate and not a fabrication, that life and experiences aren’t ‘real’ without highs and lows, expectations to conform or rebel, playing the victim or fool, and that moderation is mediocre.
Ultimately I rested on this, do I actually want to be this way?
Rather than putting judgment on it, I put awareness (and a touch of gratitude) to how effective it was for me, is the rollercoaster really worth it?
Even sitting here writing this is a challenge as I want to make this entertaining yet confronting for you readers, but also from the heart in terms of one’s experience. What I discovered is that I value balance far more, however it’s constructed (as moderation, or a mixture of extremes). It helps me live in the moment and experience what is happening, whether it’s quiet one day or full on the next.
Taking responsibility for my feelings and actions is the antithesis of creating drama
I don’t need to tell everyone everything, and keeping some things close to the chest has its rewards. Perhaps most of all I’ve learnt to act with integrity, speak genuinely and tell the truth to myself in all situations and not be too concerned with the outcome or reactions of others. And finally, drama is always going to be around, it’s a choice of how you deal with it.
Experiment a little…
Take the 30 day drama-free challenge and try to look at all scenarios differently, as in what can I do here to not shake things up by changing my beliefs and behaviour.
Here are some suggestions for change:
- Can I look at solutions, rather than fuelling more emotions and recounting more stories, for the problem I’m facing?
- Can I approach this calmly and get a sense of what is underlying the need to stir things up, am I genuinely <upset, frustrated, happy> at this – and acknowledge or accept, instead of trying to change it.
- Look for a lesson in every situation.
- Stop feeling like a victim and instead get a sense of how you can feel empowered by what is happening.
- Make your first response to breathe, be still, and to get a sense of calm, prior to an emotional reaction or outburst.
- Don’t gossip, and tell people everything, understand it for yourself first and what the ideal outcome for you would be prior to consultation.