I recently made a commitment to notice when I create drama in my life or when I get pulled into other people’s dramas. It happens more often than I care to admit and I ask myself why that is still true. In the most recent example, two friends were disagreeing over something that did not seem very important, and as I observed their anger flare, I could feel tension building in my body. As their argument escalated, my brain went into hyper-drive as I considered ways to intercede, to help in some way. Nothing I said helped diffuse the disagreement and in the end, they lost energy for the dispute and it fizzled out. Sadly, neither person truly let it go and neither apologized. Several hours later, driving home and thinking about the argument, I realized that by letting it affect me the way it did, I had jumped into their drama and made it mine, too.
The Drama Pull
Why? Why is the temptation to step into other people’s dramas so appealing? Is it the desire to help resolve a difficult situation? The need to feel and then release intense emotion? The desire to relate so completely to those we love that we actually feel their pain? Or is it simply habit? Whatever the reason, one thing is certain – it never feels good when we jump into the drama or when we are trying to step out.
And so I have decided to renounce the need for drama. I have made a commitment to avoid it and am sharing it here to in ensure that those of you who know me will hold me accountable for this promise to myself.
My first resolution is to avoid creating any drama in my own life, whatever that might look like and no matter how great the temptation. My second resolution is to recognize when someone is trying to draw me into her/his drama or when I am reflexively entering the fray. I commit to being aware of the “pull” and choosing to step back instead of stepping in, observing the situation with neutrality, exploring ways to help without engaging or deciding to do nothing at all.
Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage” and I appreciate this depiction of life. When the play on stage is a drama, I have no need to participate in the performance. What about you? I invite you to share your perspectives on how you manage to stay out of other people’s dramas and how you avoid creating your own. Here’s to a drama-free future, except in our favorite theater.