Optional drama? Yes, please!
“Sign me up for some optional drama.” Said no one, ever.
You know how exhausting the drama dwellers are. They always have complaints, and very rarely see their part in anything. And the worst part is, the energy of drama drags us in, like moths to a flame, even though we may not have wanted any part of it. I’m sure, even now as I write this, that you can bring up at least one person in your personal or work life that fits this description without too much trouble.
Ok, this time I have some bad news.
Sometimes we are our own drama seekers… and we unknowingly do it on purpose.
I know, it sounds crazy. Why would we want drama?
Let’s take the example of weight loss (you can substitute any other goal here.)
You want to lose weight. You come up with some plan. And then “life happens”- how many times have you said this? “Life happens” is the trap door to drama. Say theoretically you had a great plan and then you have to drop your baby girl off to college. It’s 2000 degrees as you lug stuff across campus and then her computer won’t connect to the internet so she can’t print the music she needs by 5pm on move in day. The stress is palpable. Say, theoretically of course, that the plans to go out for a nice salad go right out of your mind because as you drive away you feel like you have been sucker punched. Say, when you get home, all you want is popcorn...and wine.
Ok no big deal, it’s one day. But then life happens the next day and the next day and the next day. And then on day 4, theoretically, your sister comes home from vaca to a broken pipe that has destroyed the entire kitchen and the whole bottom floor of her house. So you go help pull out all her earthly possessions, not knowing what is worse, the emotional devastation or the devastation of having all of the things wrecked.
You stop the cleaning only for delicious takeout.
So the temptation is to look at all this and drum up optional drama. I know it sounds legit but the drama is totally optional. And TOTALLY COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.
Yes it was stressful. Yes it was in the past. No, it has absolutely no bearing on today.
So why would you theoretically choose to spin in drama over it?
Because then the food choices and lack of weight loss are not your fault. You had no control. AND if you spend time believing this then you don’t have to take positive action forward.
“But I want to take positive action forward,” you say.
Well part of you does… and part of you doesn’t. Part of you wants to avoid the discomfort that comes with change. Part of you wants to put all that off for another day. Part of you WANTS to believe you have no power over it.
Now the trick here is to not judge yourself for having chosen popcorn and wine or delicious takeout. That has no bearing on today either. In the moment, you made a choice, a choice that may have taken into consideration catastrophic compounding circumstances but a choice nonetheless. The crazy thing is, it wasn’t a good choice or a bad choice. It was just a choice.
The same choice you get to make today, and which will be much easier if you recognize the optional drama for what it is.
Optional drama robs us of our power,
And it shows up all over the place.
Maybe it shows up with exercise, or doing your bills, or maybe, just maybe, at work.
Work is a breeding ground of optional drama. Much easier to complain about the way things are then to go through the discomfort of swimming against the current by not participating in the complaining, or worse yet, by trying to be positive.
Yes, I know exactly how uncomfortable it is to try and be positive when things are being run in a way that is seemingly ridiculous. I know how easy it is to feel overworked and underappreciated. But this is all optional.
I can appreciate my own work.
I can take pride in just how much I can do.
I don’t need the approval of other people, especially if I don’t respect or agree with their decisions anyway.
I don’t have time for optional drama.
And yes, in the short term, this is more uncomfortable than succumbing to the complaining. It feels really difficult, but the long term benefit of self-management is so worth it. Just like managing what I eat today will be so worth it in the long run.
Recognize drama as optional and you get to keep ALL your power for change.
Tired of optional drama? Come on over and follow my facebook page at NursingBeyondtheJob to help keep the drama in check