The Happiness Connection  

Don't ride the drama train

I think it’s fair to say that this past week has been challenging.

My already full plate was given a few extra helpings of work and frustration. I kept wondering why this was happening.

“Why? Why? Why?” I asked the universe.

I threw out the big question and then waited for an answer. One showed up yesterday, although it wasn’t what I expected.

It wasn’t even an answer. It was a moment of clarity.

Have you ever been caught up in the drama of a situation?

I’d be surprised if you say no. I’m not sure anyone could get through high school without experiencing it.

Something happens. Then the he said, she said conversations start. You feel compelled to take a side. You talk about it, ad infinitum.

Whenever you get a group of people together, there is potential for drama. This is true regardless of whether you gather as:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Work colleagues
  • Community members.

Drama is consuming and exhausting. It’s the opposite of peace.

If you want a peaceful life, you don’t want to get caught up in this type of commotion. It leads to:

  • Gossip
  • Bullying
  • Negative emotions
  • Sleepless nights
  • Distraction
  • Division.

Drama reared its head in my community this week. It was one of the reasons I kept asking the universe that simple question. Why?

In the past, I would have been sucked into the drama, without even noticing it was happening. But not this time.

I am more aware of my emotions than I used to be.

I’ve spent a lot of time learning and helping other people learn the art of mastering them. This is one of the reasons I run a 12-week course that includes emotional mastery as a major component.

The moment I became conscious that I was being invited to jump onto the drama train, I made myself pause.

Life is full of choices. This was an invitation not a forgone conclusion. Did I want to accept or refuse the opportunity to participate?

I declined.

That didn’t mean that my emotions dissipated immediately. They were bubbling up and letting their presence be known.

How do you get off the drama train, or better yet, decide not to get on? Once you decline or get off, how do you get rid of the residual emotions?

There is a lot of work involved in understanding your feelings and knowing how to navigate them. They serve a purpose, even the negative ones. Negative emotions trigger the fight-flight-freeze response.

When this happens, you are in survival mode. You will think, say, and do things that you later wish you hadn’t, but at the time you believe they will give you the best chance of winning. In evolutionary terms, winning is the same as surviving.

It’s not a great place to be if you are trying to work with others, find a solution, or accomplish something creative.

I wish there were an easy answer to releasing unwanted emotions, but as with everything worthwhile, it takes time, energy, and commitment.

These are the steps I followed when I decided I wanted to release those drama-loving feelings.

  • I took a few deep, calming breaths.

This is a good place to start in any situation.

  • I reminded myself that I didn’t have to accept the drama invitation.

I believe life is full of choices. You have the power to view and respond to a situation, idea, or interaction in any way you want.

  • I wrote letters of forgiveness to everyone involved, including myself.

Forgiveness is a powerful action. Forgive yourself for your part in the situation, even if it was unintentional. Do the same for everyone else involved.

This may seem time consuming, but it will help you to release how you’re feeling.

  • I burned the forgiveness letters.

You can destroy them in any way you want. Shredding works well, too.

Emotions aren’t meant to be suppressed. That was the way I dealt with negative ones for years. I’d lock them in a container until they stopped upsetting me.

I didn’t realize that they were still there, even if I wasn’t aware, they were.

This step is designed to be a symbolic action of release.

  • Every time my mind returned to the situation, I thanked my emotions for showing up, but told them I didn’t need them any more. I then shifted my mind to something else or got up and did something physical.

By the time I went to bed, I’d let go of about 80% of the negativity. By morning, when I noticed there were a few unwanted feelings still hanging around, I continued with step 5.

As I was driving home from an appointment a few hours later, I realized I had released the drama completely.

Being able to do this saved me from sleepless nights, prolonged negative feelings, and continued energy drain.

Yesterday, when I discovered that the drama train was still chugging along, I noticed that I could observe it from a place of peace. I was an observer, not a participant.

I felt compassion for those affected by it, but I also felt a rush of gratitude that I wasn’t one of them.

I think that was the answer to my question. This was why was I having such a challenging week?

It gave me the opportunity to see how far I’ve come.

When you embark on a journey, you can get caught up in how far you still have to go and forget to take time to look back to see how far you’ve come.

Learning to recognize my emotions without being controlled by them or denying they exist, is one of the best skills I’ve ever learned. I’m going to take a moment to celebrate that.

I invite you to do the same. What have you learned or achieved in the last few weeks, months, or years?

Way to go.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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