Friday, June 27, 2014

Crucial Steps to Minimize Drama & Toxicity in Your Life

“When you are not honoring the present moment by allowing it to be, you are creating drama.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Well into my twenties, all of my relationships with women looked a lot like some high school fallout episode. One day, we’d be codependent and attached at the hip, sending incessant play-by-play text messages throughout the day, the next day we’d be dragging each other by the hair into a heap of combined emotional issues, complete with nasty suspicions, unfounded accusations, and a dramatic reconciliation that would inevitably be short-lived. Shortly after one toxic friendship eroded, I found a new one, like a mythological creature that regenerates its head immediately after it’s cut off. Things weren't much different with many of my friendships either. For a long time, I lamented all the damaging relationships I’d been in, as if I was some kind of victim who always got the short end of the stick.

Then one day I realised there was a reason I always found myself in dramatic & toxic relationships: I was attracted to drama & toxicity like a moth to a flame. Chaos was the status quo for the majority of my life, and when it wasn't there, I would panic.  I didn't feel comfortable on a subliminal level unless I was fighting someone, or at the very least, fighting myself. The things I said and did stood in contradiction to each other because it was easier to blame the world and stay the same than it would be to really see myself and make a change. You might not be a recovering drama queen like me, but you've probably encountered your share of relationship histrionics. Maybe your close friend has as many catastrophes as there are days of the week.  Maybe you’re the person everyone calls with their problems.  Maybe you unknowingly turn small issues into major crises's and you’d like to stop feeling so overwhelmed.  Whatever the case, you probably have at least a little drama in your life that you’d like to minimize.

So, how do you minimise drama in your life?

1. Identify Self-Inflicted Drama & Toxicity.

'You get back what you put out'  If you act in a way that is positive with minimal drama, you attract the same kind of positive energy. Drama usually comes from reactions to other people’s actions. Stop and think: Does this really matter in the long run, or am I just trying to be right? When you're focused and calm, so is the world around you and everything else you manifest. If there’s drama in multiple areas of your life, be honest with yourself—you’re the only person responsible for them. Are you actively creating them? We don’t do anything repeatedly unless there’s something in it for us, so ask yourself, what’s the payoff? Are you looking for attention or excitement? Did you grow up with drama around you constantly? Do you feel at your best when there’s drama around you? Now aim to find alternative solutions. If you’re looking for attention, can you get it more directly?  What is subliminal reason behind you seeking the attention?  If you’re bored, what new adventure can you create in your life?  Can you be content with simply allowing yourself to feel bored? Boredom is a natural human emotion after all, are you able to let it be felt without deviation or trying to change it?

2. Alternate Perspective.

Be happy about little things, let the big stuff go because you can't change any of it. Zoom out in your mind and point far enough away so that you can see things in your life for what they are. By doing this, you can see from a distance how small and unimportant many situations are in the big scope of the universe. "Is this situation going to matter a year from now?" If not, it’s not worth worrying about so take it off the page. A lot of unnecessary drama takes place in our own heads, and it’s usually because we’re too deeply immersed in a difficult situation to recognize it, when in reality, it is never really as dire as it may seem. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed by a situation, step back and realise that your feelings are not permanent—nothing is permanent after all. Focus instead on action—on the things you can control. What can you do today to proactively create a solution? Some times there is no solution, and that's OK. Many perceived 'problems' are not yet meant to have solutions, otherwise there would be solutions. Nothing will ever happen that is not meant to happen, otherwise it would not happen.  When the solution is ready to be created, it will manifest.  When a situation is ready to be created, it will manifest.

3. Other People's Emotions Are Not Your Own.

Build a reputation for not participating in drama. Just be, as you are, nothing more, nothing less. You are not required to be anything more or less than you are right now in the present moment. Anything you 'resist' will ultimately 'persist', because it is that of the resistance that is consuming your conscious focus, therefore it is this that will manifest it's self into your perception of reality

You do not need to add negative or positive focus to every situation, many situations require no action or input at all, just let it be; speak less, listen more, just observe.  You have time to hear and see the drama inside yourself and you can sidestep it.‎ Be the observer, a present observer, present in the 'now' moment. Not everything needs a reaction, if someone repeatedly comes to you with dramatic stories of situations and catastrophes, give yourself a window of time when you’ll listen, and then take care of your own needs by walking away. Simply resist the urge to jump into a pity party, this only perpetuates the drama. Oftentimes people calm themselves down when other people don’t validate their complaints.  As they speak, focus on your breathing, draw your attention to the presence of your consciousness; the observer of your own thoughts and external situations. Your calming energy may even help them let go of their own negative energy.

4. Reconsider Toxic Relationships.

Befriend only people with good energy that don’t promote or create drama.  Spending time by yourself is always preferable to spending time with someone who wants constant drama. It's only normal that you and others will have a dull day occasionally, there's nothing wrong with that, i'm referring to people who act as energy vampires, who agitate the very prod which you are trying to transcend.  Removing the sources of drama from your life is necessary to diminish your own possible addiction to it. It really is that simple. Take an inventory of which people in your life leave you feeling stressed and unhappy more often than not. If you don’t want to completely remove a toxic relationship, minimize the time you spend with that individual.  If you don’t want to change how often you see each other, recognise drama triggers. When the conversation moves towards the subject of 'the horrible mother' or 'who's fault it is' for example, steer it somewhere else, or simply walk away and refuse to participate.

5. Be Sincere With Others

Be as open and honest with your communication as possible by listening without necessarily reacting. If you do have an issue with someone, it is much better to approach that person and to talk about it, you should not talk to anyone else about it if they aren't involved. Gossip is the breading bed for toxicity & drama. Drama ultimately comes about because of either misunderstanding or overreaction.  Being as honest and open as possible pacifies the relentlessness of dramatic situations.  A lot of drama comes from poor communication which causes confusion, confusion an be eliminated by finding the courage to say exactly what you mean. It may be harder in the moment, but it can save a lot of heartache in the long run. On the flip side, let people know that they can be honest with you. If someone thinks they need to walk on eggshells around you, they’ll likely hold things in—but they will come out eventually, if not in words, in resentful actions.

6. Not All Perceived 'Negative' Situations Are 'Drama'

When it comes to people you know and love, always take an extra moment to reconsider, if the “problem” is actually a problem, if it’s worth making a big deal out of it, as much of the time it's better to simply let it be. Often life is indeed like a roller-coaster and your problems are much like other people's problems just at different times, this can allow you to love them even more as it’s who they are, it might even be you tomorrow.

7. Allow Life To Be Your Classroom

By attempting to allow the inevitable episode, you can extract any potential meaning or lesson, and equally allow it to pass. You can try to see the learning opportunity in the dramatic situation. “Without rain you can’t enjoy the sunny days.” 

Sometimes situations may seem like drama happening to us, and we’re powerless to remove ourselves from the cause. Another perspective is that every time we find ourselves immersed in something that seems overwhelming, we have an opportunity to learn how to deal with challenges better. Life will always involve challenges that we feel desperate to ignore. If we can learn not to avoid them, they may actually be able to light our way through the dark night.

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