In my younger years I prided myself on being “low drama”. By which I meant that there weren’t a lot of skeletons in my closet, family turmoil, disasters, nightmare exes, emotional roller coasters, etc.
Now, at 30, with a divorce, single motherhood, a couple of lost friendships, a few emotional crises, and my share of dating stories later I can no longer claim to have escaped drama. I am someone a younger version of me would have judged for making mistakes or not having a nice clean chaos-free existence. A younger me wouldn’t have understood how you could end up raising a child alone–”what a terrible lapse in judgement; and that poor child!”. A younger me thought that being spiritually-aligned should mean that things work out well for you, and life flowed with ease and grace. Drama was bad, unattractive, and… tacky.
If you are on dating sites, lots of people will describe themselves or who they’re looking for as “drama-free”. I probably would have in the past. But now I realize that the very facts of my life exclude me from the “drama-free” prerequisites.
How do I feel about this? I’ve been examining for myself what drama really means. And I’ve decided that life is inherently dramatic. The very act of our conception is dramatic (if you’re doing it right). And hey, even if done in a lab, that’s pretty amazing stuff too. Birth is dramatic (seriously, pain and beauty at it’s highest). Dying is dramatic, whether by an accident or in a slow departure surrounded by the loved ones who will mourn and celebrate us. And in between birth and death are all sorts of other beginnings and endings involving high levels of emotion. Change happens all of the time. And change is not always easy and graceful and nice. It can be painful, the process of growing and breaking down boundaries and limitations. Many of us will experience the ending of a long-term relationship; the death of friends and family taken, it seems, too soon; bankruptcy; and countless other life-altering events. So yeah, life is dramatic.
I suppose some folks go through their lives with very little changing, and stay single or stay with the same person, and don’t lose anyone before their time, and don’t ever have to worry about money. Good for you.
But most all the people I know have drama-full lives like me.
So what then?
The key for me is that my emotional health does not suffer at the whims of the various dramatic events that happen in my life. Sure, I have to process a lot of feelings around difficult stuff when it comes up. But I AM NOT the drama. I AM whole, feeling the breaking apart and rearranging, not judging my life as ruined or screwed up. When tough stuff happens it is tempting to say “everything is wrong, it’s all fucked”. Someone in my life used to say that, and I almost picked it up as a habit. I’ve had to consciously change that reaction. All is not lost, not ever. I’ve made it through extreme disappointment and heartache and found out what I was made of. And it is of much tougher more beautiful stuff than that drama. And that drama is not evil. That drama is a combination of what I attracted/created, the unhealthiness of other people seeking catharsis and purification, and some bad luck. Most importantly, that drama is now a part of my story. And I wouldn’t trade in this Helena story for another one. I LOVE MY LIFE–all of it.
AND while I accept the role that these pains have brought to me, I want to also say that I am very committed to not inviting more of that into my life. I don’t need the excitement or attention that life crisis brings, thank you. My life is plenty interesting without a new baddie to be distracted with. It’s important to recognize that although we can handle dramatic things with grace, there’s really no reason to ask for the chance to prove it!
Here are some questions to explore around this topic:
- How’s your relationship going with your drama? Is it winning, or are you?
- Is there part of you that likes the drama, maybe brings more of it on? What might you be getting out of that?
- If there is a part of you that wishes you were “drama-free”, think about who you would be if you had never faced those challenges and pains. What depth and understanding would you be missing out on?
- What would it take to really LOVE your life, your story–all of it? Who would you need to forgive?
Sending out lots of love and blessing to all of you on your journey. Please share your thoughts in the comments section, and continue to ask yourself the questions that create forgiveness and change.
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I am a coach, facilitator and program director in Denver, Colorado. I bring a high-performance mindset from 18 years leading in global corporations, startups, non-profits and Higher Ed. I’ve also honed skills in emotional intelligence and practical spirituality through training with ICF, Shadow Work®, Insights Discovery and motherhood. If you’re ready to do powerful inner work, and also get tangible results in your external environment, please follow my blog and reach out to talk about coaching!