I came across this quote a while ago and it has stuck with me in almost an annoying way. Usually, when this happens it means I need to write about it and get it out.
So how do we not get caught up in the every day drama that is our lives? When our hours are filled with social media, controversy, depressing news, annoyances and everything else life throws at us, it can be nearly impossible to not find yourself in the middle of petty words, drama and actions. So how do we guard ourselves from this? How do we choose to step aside and let others indulge in the dramatic scenes unfolding? Because I assure you it is a choice, whether you want to admit that or not.
First off, let me be clear….I HATE drama. Me and my husband are pretty private and chill people. We do not like to be caught up in drama, do not thrive on it and would prefer to not be surrounded by it at all. The funny thing is very few people will admit to enjoying drama but they thrive on it and everyone knows it. I mean I bet you can name 5 people right now that totally thrive on drama. (And yes, we all have been the producers of drama at some point…so we aren’t innocent) Now, I’m not bashing these people because in many ways they can’t help it. They’re thoughts and stories are their reality and those thoughts and stories are often very dramatized. So their reality really is that dramatic to them. Therefore, we shouldn’t hate them but rather understand that in many ways that is how they are built and forgive them anyways.
So what is drama, really? Personally, I believe that under the shouts and exaggerations and ridiculousness is a more pressing matter. I truly believe drama is just a nice cover up for deeper issues within that person. Usually it’s insecurity, unhappiness, self loathing, self doubt, lack of confidence or a whole host of other issues people struggle with on a daily basis. They require drama because it’s provides an outlet to focus their attention on somewhere other than their real issues. As we all know, real issues are hard to look at, hard to deal with and hard to fix. It requires courage and a lot of work and self reflection to change ourselves and most are unwilling. So we create these situations that will feed into our need to deflect our attention away from real issues.
I seem to be surrounded by a lot of “dramatic” people. I found myself for years getting caught up in it because it was constantly around me all the time. It weighed heavily on my heart for so many years and it was becoming a toxic poison in my veins. I was having anxiety attacks (and I have NEVER been an anxious person) I was constantly miserable, stressed, feeling like I was having to pretend and very unhappy. Dramatic people can literally suck the life out of you and often it happens so slowly, over time, that you don’t realize it is happening. You just know you’re feeling different and more unhappy and can’t quite put your finger on it. So how did I come out of this dramatic fog that was literally killing me slowly? Here’s how…
- Identify the source of the drama. Honestly, most of the drama in our lives comes from those closest to us. Our family and our close friends. We have been with these people for so long it can be hard to realize the effect their attitudes are having on us but if you take a step back you’ll often discover that you are getting caught up in their baggage because of your relationship. Figure out the source so that you can start eliminating.
- Once you have figured out where the source of drama is coming from in your life, start to do some self reflection. Sit down and truly think about what this drama means to you. Ask yourself if you need this drama to function? If the answer is yes, then dig deeper to find what the root of the problem really is inside of yourself. Ask yourself if it is vitally important that you be involved in this situation? 99.9% the answer is no. Ask yourself if your relationship with this person (or people) will change if you don’t indulge them in this situation anymore. List all the things you will gain if you are not apart of the drama that is happening. Trust me, this sounds weird but having a clear head and really sitting down in a mature way and figuring out how you feel about the situation will help you with the next few steps.
- Eliminate the drama. Cut it off. Do not indulge your friend or your family member any more. Their problems are no longer your problems. If they start to talk about the “drama of their lives” you need to politely say you don’t want to indulge in that conversation anymore. Just say something like, “I have given you all the advice I can give to you and since you refuse to make a change in your life I really can’t help you anymore and getting caught up in your drama is affecting my life. Therefore, I would appreciate if we didn’t discuss this anymore until your circumstances have changed.” This sounds harsher than it is. It’s actually you finally sticking up for yourself and setting up boundaries. Don’t let other people’s junk clutter up your life.
- If gently stepping out of the dramatic situations doesn’t work and people don’t respect the boundaries you have set up then it’s time for more drastic measures. In this instance it is time to eliminate these people from your life, at least temporarily. This can be one of the hardest things to do. Trust me, I’ve been there. However, it is often necessary. Sometimes people don’t take you seriously or respect your wishes until you do something dramatic. They have called your bluff so many times they no longer believe your word. So when your word is sound and you are dedicated to getting rid of the toxic build up that is drama, people start to sit up and pay more attention. This doesn’t necessarily have to be permanent but some space can do you a whole lot of good. It gives you the clarity you need, it gives you time to de-stress and it helps you identify just how toxic the drama really was in your life so that you can learn ways to avoid it in the future.
Toni Robbins has this quote that says, “Be the gatekeeper to your mind.” Our thoughts and actions determine our happiness and fulfillment in life. If we are constantly allowing others access and allowing them to determine our happiness then we will be miserable. If we are constantly drug through and caught up in other people’s garbage we will eventually drown in it. Show those you love what the world is like when it’s without drama. Be that example and hopefully they will learn to get rid of the waste that has been holding them down all of these years. You can be the hand that helps pull them out of the garbage, but they have to take it. If they don’t, don’t jump in after them. It’s a sad and very unhappy place down there and it will consume you.
Ignore the haters, step away from the conflict and focus on the important things in life. Only then will you find peace and clarity.