Some time ago, I shared on Instagram, that a few years ago, I had made a ‘no-drama’ policy in my life. And you asked me to write about it. How to make a ‘no-drama’ policy in your life.
A way of relating to the world in which a person consistently overreacts to or greatly exaggerates the importance of benign events.
The truth is, I wasn’t always that wise. There was a time in my life, when I used to thrive off drama.
I’d exaggerate stories, entertaining people with flair and finesse, as I took them through an emotional rollercoaster-ride of flamboyance, on subjects that neither mattered nor made a difference in anyone’s life. I’d create friction in relationships, others’ or my own. I’d find ways to make simple, every-day-things to become grand stories of dramatic irrelevance. It made life feel so exciting, and interesting and meaningful.
I know I’m not the only who has felt that way. Turn on the TV and all you will see is people indulging in their dramas.
I believe, the only reason why any of us have ever imbibed in drama, is because we didn’t feel that, by being our peaceful, contented, authentic selves, we are enough. Again, and again this context rises its ugly head, in so many forms. The fear of not being enough.
According to psychologists, the need to create drama in our lives is simply a form of attention seeking.
According to one study “Excessive attention seeking is not a character flaw. It is a brain wiring response to early developmental trauma caused by neglect.”
Having said that, this neglect doesn’t mean that you didn’t receive enough love as a baby. It means that your parents weren’t able to be present with you, because they didn’t feel that they were enough. It is right here, that these patterns begin.
When we learn, at an early age that, when we are not receiving attention, we are unworthy or unimportant, we seek out situations that increase or sense of value and self-worth. We create drama.
The obvious answer is drama gets attention. However, it is more than that. Drama causes the pituitary gland and hypothalamus to secrete endorphins, which actually mimics the pleasure centres activated by drugs like heroin. We get a rush that feels good, when we create drama.
There is also another factor. Because using drama as a drug feels good, it is rewarding. Reward uses dopamine, the brain’s happy dance drug. You feel happy for a moment, rewarded for the drama, and therefore learn to do it again and again, whenever you don’t feel so happy.
Add all those elements together: not feeling worthy / important / enough + seeking attention + drama + feel-good chemical reactions = your classic attention seeking drama king or queen.
But is drama healthy, happy and fulfilling? I think we would all agree that, nay, at some point it becomes tedious, time-consuming and generally just exhausting.
So, how do we stop? We put a ‘no-drama’ policy in place.
1. Start with you.
The first place to put a ‘no-drama’ policy in place, is with ourselves. You can stop, right now, just like that. By deciding “Nope. Nope. I’ve had enough. No more drama. It’s enough now.” That’s the very first step.
Deciding to stop with the drama is also an act of self-love. Instead of drama, you have more time and energy to cultivate an appreciation for yourself, just the way you are, and get to know who your authentic self is, and what she wants. This is a beautiful thing. And far more fulfilling than any extravagantly exaggerated attention-seeking stunt.
Recognise when you are creating drama, and stop. Aim to find an alternative solutions. If you are craving attention, is it because you wish to be seen, or because you want to be validated? How can you give yourself that? If you’re bored, how can you create more excitement and adventure in your life?
2. Avoid other’s dramas.
Most people who continuously invite drama into their lives are addicted to the chemical reactions that it creates in our brains. They often present themselves as victims of life, instead of recognising their fully-fledged role in their experiences.
Choose to spend time with people who have made the same commitment to themselves, as you have: “No more drama.”
Create a reputation for not participating in drama. When people know that you won’t buy into it, they won’t involve you in it anymore. Simply don’t engage in their stories or react to their dramas. Also, don’t listen to their stories or give them support when you know that they’re drama addicts. You are just feeding the addiction.
One of the best ways to do this, is to simply be present, hold space for that person, and not react in any way, either negative or positive. You calming presence will give them space to recognise their habits, and just maybe, stop, for a moment.
Common warning signs/ risk factors of drama or a dramatic person are:
- Having one supposedly serious problem after another.
- Constantly telling other people about one’s problems.
- Extreme emotionality or frequently shifting, intense emotions.
- Claiming to have experienced negative events that are highly implausible.
- A boring job or mundane life.
- Making claims without sufficient evidence or a lack of detail about supposedly serious events.
- A pattern of irrational behavior and reactions to everyday problems.
3. Be mindful.
Practicing mindfulness of how you speak with yourself or others brings an entire new world into your spectrum. When you no longer seek attention through drama, you have more space to be who you want to be.
You will be more creative and productive. You will start adding value to the world and have a positive impact on others around you. And this give you the sense that you are more than enough, and give you the confidence and recognition that you are worthwhile, without seeking attention and validation for others.
That, right there, is happiness.
Image source unknown.