Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Many Faces of Drama: What Does Yours Look Like?

Lately I've been noticing how most people (other people, that is...certainly not you or me!) have some sort of ongoing mental or behavioral drama that is so prevalent in their everyday experience that they don't realize how identified they've become with it, or that, perhaps, they've manufactured it themselves. The following are a few examples:

1.  Always running late
2.  Habitual procrastination
3.  Chronic overspending/ running out of money
4.  Struggling with compulsions, addictions, or obsessions
5.  Yo-yo dieting (or fussing about weight)
6.  Relationship drama
7.  Chronic complaining or negativity
8.  Hating your job (but not leaving it)
9.  Trying to get someone to change/ trying to control others
10. Fighting for social or political change
11. Being chronically judgmental or critical
12. Being an over-protective parent
13. Habitual worrying
13. Obsessing about health or fitness
14. Having an inferiority complex
15. Struggling with illness or disability
16. Self-sabotaging or self-destructive behavior
17. Careless or impulsive behavior, promiscuity
18. Poor romantic choices/ unrequited love
19. Emotional reactivity /outbursts
20. Any kind of preoccupation or repetitive thinking

You might object to a few of these, such as being someone who fights injustice or suffers from a disability. Rest assured that I'm not trying to pathologize anyone here---I'm just pointing out the very natural human tendency for our minds to latch onto a thought or circumstance and build an infrastructure around it.

The originating thought might be one of weakness or fear of loss. It might be a one of poverty or not being good enough. Often drama-producing patterns are the result of boredom or lacking a sense of meaning in one's life. Instead of dealing with existential issues or the mundane realities of daily life, we go on a binge or pick a fight with our spouse. It spices things up in the moment, but afterwards we're left with guilt, hopelessness, and indigestion..

This week, I ask you to identify a drama you have running in your life. Is it a little drama or a big one? Does it affect your relationships, loved ones, health, livelihood, or self esteem? What lives beneath the surface of the drama? Is it boredom, fear, a need for attention or power? Understanding the motivation for the drama or habitual behavior can help you decide whether you want to continue in the same manner or, perhaps, make some important changes that reflect your current wishes.