Drama can be exciting, especially when it’s not ours to deal with. But while we all have to face it at some point, we don’t have to embrace it. Today’s wisdom comes from Baggage Reclaim, British writer Natalie’s Lue’s insightful, funny blog on relationships. Enjoy!
1. Practice mindfulness in your relationships, especially in the early days, weeks, and months.
This means not trying to anticipate what’s next or worrying about what isn’t happening yet. What you should be practicing is being right here in the present, in reality. If your mind drifts, pull it back – you don’t have to chase every thought, especially ones that take you out of reality.
2. Don’t run with an immediate response of blaming yourself.
Hold that thought and park it. I know you might want it to be you, because it may convince you that you’re “not good enough”, or give you what you think is a legitimate reason to go back for round 2 or even round 50, but unless you’re 100% in control of something, you can’t blame you. Own your part – owning someone else’s is like deleting them out of the picture. If you’re itching to blame yourself, brain dump and put it all on paper – don’t let it rattle around. Putting it on paper makes it real, especially if you challenge and prove the truth of what you write. Unless what you’ve put down is absolutely true, you’re lying to yourself.
3. Hold that ‘bankruptcy’ thought.
If you write yourself off every time something doesn’t go as you’d like, then yeah, you’re going to have a lot of drama in your life. You can’t keep making it the end of the world, simply because it’s not.
4. Know and stick to your deal breakers.
Much of the drama in unhealthy relationships comes from hanging around long past the sell-by-date. The most successful and creative people know how to fail fast – recognising when something isn’t working, addressing and moving forward, which in the end is anything but failure and actually paves the way to success. Recognising crucial signs that your relationship is critically unwell, can help you differentiate between teething problems and needing to practically transplant another person into the relationship for it to work.
5. Don’t try to convince, convert and bargain.
You’re not supposed to be liked by everyone, not every person can be ‘The One’ and not every relationship is meant to last. Drama will be a constant companion if you fritter away your life trying to convince someone to value you or want you in the way that you want them, or you try to change them, or you keep haggling like a used car salesperson that’s desperate to do a deal at all costs.
6. Listen with your ears, not with your ego or your overactive imagination.
One of the most drama riddled people I know told me a story recently where most of what they said happened, didn’t actually happen in the way she said. It’s not necessarily because she was telling porkies – it’s because from the moment she sensed conflict, it reminded her of some previous experiences and she wasn’t really ‘there’ anymore. Make sure you can distinguish clearly between what was said and done, and what you think they think of you or even previous experiences. Make sure you’re actually relating to the person in front of you, not people from your past.
7. Learn some more emotional descriptors that extend beyond the word ‘hurt’.
Of course sometimes you are hurt, but if your default emotion when things don’t go your way is hurt, you’re actually causing yourself unnecessary grief by misleading yourself about what you truly feel and may be shutting off opportunities. Hurt is about mental pain and distress – if you frequently claim hurt, it’s time to ask yourself “Am I truly experiencing mental pain and distress and if I am, is it proportionate to what I’ve actually experienced?” Speaking from personal experience and observation, having hurt as a default emotion is what you do when you don’t express anger and struggle with conflict and criticism. Truth is, sometimes you’re seriously pissed off. Or disappointed, irritated, confused, infuriated, vulnerable, tired, frustrated, unheard, excluded, or whatever – be descriptive because it will help you to explore what and why you feel it.
8. Get angry.
Acting like you don’t ‘do’ anger, will just repress what you truly feel and work itself out in other ways, not least because you end up trying to influence people to do what you want, often to rectify previous slights either done by them or others that you’ve kept it zipped about, only to then end up compromising yourself further, coming up against more drama and of course feeling pissed off but not saying so. Exhausting. You’re human and this means you’re entitled to get angry because it’s a healthy emotion. If you stop trying to censor your anger, you will find that it passes far quicker.
9. Only seek to control you, not others.
Trying to control the uncontrollable is a major route to drama. What can you do about you? If you’re thinking about changing someone, what can you do? If the success of a situation rests on them spontaneously combusting into being someone different to who they are now, you’re rendering yourself powerless and leaving yourself at the mercy of external factors. If you’re with someone or participating in a situation where you have little or no power, you shouldn’t be in it.
10. Choose to let it go.
If you think you’re just going to let something go of your own accord, think again. Letting go takes conscious, repeated effort. It’s the choice between grabbing back onto something, or reminding yourself that you’re done. A lot of drama comes from us tricking ourselves into believing that if it comes into our head, that weobviously are not ready to let go yet. It’s you that has to decide and keep deciding to let go.
You also don’t have to make the other person think that you’re ‘right’ or keep going back to let them know “just one more thing”. Work it out with yourself – you need to be on your own side and get your own head straight.
If someone gets on my wick, my brain can go into overdrive having conversations or thinking about what to do next time. I’ve actually found that drawing a conclusion, getting behind my decision, and refocusing every time I try to choose not to let it go, actually helps to let it go. The more I say “Let it go” and even physically push my arms out from me, is the more it dissipates. Sometimes I ask “What’s changed?” because really, what’s the point in grabbing onto it again if all that’s changed is that your ego is having an off day and you’re scared of change? 9 times out of 10, nothing material has changed, it’s just that I felt like revisiting it and busting my proverbial balls.
Drama is very much governed by choice. When you curb your own drama tendencies, you will find that drama in your life will reduce dramatically, because you are calm and rational enough to have the perspective not to make yourself responsible for other people’s behaviour and won’t invest energy in changing others.