You say you want less drama in your life. Yet you find yourself in one dramatic scenario after another. What gives?
Generally speaking, drama isn’t something that just happens to you. It’s something you invite into your life, albeit unconsciously. When you truly desire a low-drama lifestyle, you will have a low-drama lifestyle. The first step is recognizing the ways in which you create and perpetuate drama.
Every drama requires various key players. Without a villain, for example, a drama simply can’t sustain itself. Consider the current drama in your life, and ask yourself if you identify with any of these dramatic roles: long-suffering victim; someone who never gets it right; underdog who will eventually prove everyone wrong by making something of himself; a hardworking provider that never gets ahead; a reckless adventurer with a heart of gold; a dedicated mother who puts her own needs second; someone who can’t catch a break; someone who can’t be trusted; someone who always gives it her best, even though her loved ones take her for granted; a calm, rational person in a sea of overly emotional, irrational people. Do any of these sound familiar? And have you found yourself playing these same roles at others times in your life?
You invite drama into your life to the degree that you are attached to some contrived identity or self-story. You may have learned this identity very early on in life, or it may be a role you’ve grown into as a reaction to your early life experiences. Whatever the case, you tend to gravitate toward a handful of dramatic roles and keep re-enacting them in your life over and over, even when they lead to enormous suffering. When you try on a dramatic role, you tend to see the world through these tired filters. A self-fulfilling prophecy emerges. If you see yourself as a victim, you will attract “victimizers” into your life. If you see yourself as never good enough, you will invite hypercritical people into your life.
It’s usually less about resolving whatever drama than it is simply walking off the stage. Can you let go your well-worn script? Can you see beyond the simplified movie poster of your life? Notice the ways in which you keep this drama alive by talking about it, thinking about it, dreaming about it. It may seem reassuring, having a steady role to play. But ultimately, you are much more than any role can contain. What would your life look like if you simply encountered it from moment to moment, without “playing your part” in the various scenes that emerge?