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By Renée Tillotson

Learn to identify the drama in your life and choose how much of it you want.

Drama entails adding an extra emotional charge to whatever is happening. What exactly do we mean by ‘drama’? That usually requires us taking a certain, fixed perspective from which to look at the event, and then determining whether the event is negative or positive according to that perspective. From there we fan the flames or smoke of the situation with the wind-blowing devise of our emotional response. We next allow our minds to run away, imagining all the possible outcomes – whether dire or ecstatic. 

In no time at all, we can turn a tiny spark into a raging fire. We can throw a giant pity party for ourselves, work ourselves up into a frenzy of excitement or anxiety, or allow a hint of resentment to blow itself up into a storming rage. Know what I’m talking about?

One of the greatest disservices we can do for someone else is to insert this kind of drama into their life. In fact, we can sometimes experience a perverse satisfaction in working someone ELSE into a drama froth. 

By the same token, one of the greatest services we can do for our friend or loved one is to help them get perspective on an inflamed situation, to reach a calm inner centering. Instead of pumping in air, we bring more of a cool mist to help settle the situation.

If you’re wondering how to recognize drama, think “hype”, “exaggeration”, “jumping to conclusions”. You can feel-sense it in your emotional body as heat, fluttering, alarm bells, a roller coaster ride. You experience it in your mind as a fast-paced swirl, an exhilarating high of possibilities, a spiraling death-drop of outcomes, or an Alice in Wonderland world of ever-changing surprises. 

How much of that do you really want? It can be exciting, that’s for sure. But does it lead to more understanding? Does it allow us to deeply connect with the true self of another human being? Does it bring us the deep satisfaction of enjoying the wonder of some of life’s more common place events – a flower finally blooming in our garden, the look of accomplishment on a kid’s face learning to tie their shoes alone, the last apricot/crimson rays of a sunset melting into darkness. We may miss such things when we are swallowed up in the clouds of drama.

So notice when that drama starts creeping into your life, call it for what it is, and decide whether you want to encourage it, or let it go. One of the best cures I know of for drama I call “A Radical Acceptance of What Is.”

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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)