On the sunny side of life: how to stop being so dramatic

Sometimes we get stuck in our stories – our dramas – and our friends grow weary of how often we tell them

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When we experience life, we talk about it. We share the stories that are amazing, funny and absurd. We talk about moments when we felt unfairly treated or when we obsessed over something quirky. It’s natural – this is how humans have learned to communicate, to share with others and tell the tale of who we are.

From Facebook to Snapchat to discussions over a cup of coffee, we feel compelled to share. Sharing connects us to one another and helps us find meaning.

But sometimes we get stuck in our stories – our dramas – and our friends grow weary of how often we tell them.

Drama is a part of life. Every office, social group, family or gathering of people will have episodes of drama – crises will arise, conflict will occur, tension will build. Interpretations will be made and sides will be taken. In this way, drama in life is pretty much guaranteed.

Think about two siblings who grew up in the same house – they usually tell entirely different stories about their childhood. Sometimes it makes you wonder if they were raised together at all. I find the same is true when I speak at an event. For some, I was amazing – for others, I was the worst speaker they’ve ever heard.

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It’s just our perception and the meaning we apply to it. Nothing more.

For those who lean toward the sunny side of life, their stories tend to have a levity. For those with a more negative bias, a slant in that direction is expected.

If you’re prone to being dramatic, you likely have the uncanny ability to spot conflict even when it doesn’t exist. Or you might be unable to stay out of conflicts that are really none of your business. You find a way to insert yourself into the drama and may even get passionate about an argument that had nothing to do with you in the first place.

The more we tell a story about ourselves, the truer it becomes. In the telling and the retelling of our stories, the mood attached to them becomes anchored in our minds. This is why it can be so easy to start lugging around stories of unhappiness or unfair treatment like worn-out luggage. After all, we choose the narrative and so we define the experience.

It’s fascinating how committed we can become to our stories, especially when they don’t serve us. We start to detect problems everywhere. We identify ourselves as victims rather than problem solvers.

But we can choose new stories, better stories!

It’s not about changing facts or altering reality, it’s about choosing to tell stories that serve us better. It’s about telling enriching, positive and empowering stories that describe life the way we want to live it, rather than harbouring resentments over prior wrongs.

If you need to rewrite some stories that are lingering and contributing to unnecessary drama and stress in your life, consider an intentional and consistent refocus. We’ve all had experiences that didn’t turn out well, or that filled us with doubt and regret. But think about how comedians can take that same scenario and flip it into something more laughable. It doesn’t change the event, it just polishes the underbelly so the emotions tied to it can be less troublesome.

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We tend to take on the energy we’re most exposed to. So hang out with individuals who are good at weaving inspiring interpretations. Listen fully to their stories and imagine how you could weave that positivity skill into your world.

Make time daily to seek out good news and absorb it entirely. Over time, the upbeat current will morph into your own.

“Your own words are the bricks and mortar of the dreams you want to realize. Your words are the greatest power you have. The words you choose and their use establish the life you experience,” writes spiritual teacher and author Sonia Choquette.

It’s up to you to attach yourself to the stories that will inspire and connect you to greater possibilities and far less drama. Have the courage to claim them.

Troy Media Columnist Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. 

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