It’s because the world isn’t the predictable, orderly, blissful place we’d like it to be. We want things to be easy, comfortable and well ordered. Unfortunately, work is hectic, relationships are challenging, people demand our time, we aren’t as prepared as we’d like to be, our family frustrates us, and there’s just too much to do and learn and process in our minds.
So we get stressed out, and drama ensues.
But the problem isn’t the world, or other people’s thoughts and behavior – these aspects of life will always be uncontrollable and a bit of a mess.
The problem is that we’re holding on too tightly to ideals that don’t match reality. We have subconsciously set up expectations in our minds of what we want other people to be, what we want ourselves to be, and what our work and relationships and life “should” be like.
Our attachment to our ideals stirs anxiety in our minds and stress in our lives.
Our resistance to accept things as they are fuels our drama.
And we don’t want to be a part of this drama – at least that’s what we tell ourselves – so we blame others for it … which in turn creates even more of it.
But there’s good news! We can let go of drama, and find peace with reality.
The Peace and Joy of No Drama
I’m going to suggest a simple practice for whenever you feel stress, frustration, worry, and all the other detrimental mindsets that bring drama into your life.
Focus, carefully, on what you’re feeling. Don’t numb it with distractions, but instead bring it further into your awareness.
Turn to it, and welcome it. Smile, and give what you feel your full, thoughtful attention.
Notice the feeling in your body. Where is the feeling situated, and what unique qualities does it have?
Notice the tension in your body, and also in your mind, that arises from this feeling.
Try relaxing the tense parts of your body. Then relax the tense parts of your mind. Do so by focusing on your breath: Close your eyes, breathe in and feel it, breathe out and feel it, again and again, until you feel more relaxed.
In this more relaxed state, find some quiet space within yourself. And in this space…
- Allow yourself to rediscover the fundamental goodness within you, that’s present in every moment.
- Allow yourself to rediscover the fundamental goodness of this very moment, that’s always available to you whenever you’re willing to focus on it.
Take a moment and just sit with the inner peace these two simple rediscoveries bring.
This is the practice of letting go of drama, and simply accepting this moment as it is, and yourself as you are.
You can do this anytime, wherever you are. You can practice focusing on the goodness in others as well. Seeing the goodness in your challenges and relationships and work, and so forth.
You can stop the drama, and rediscover the peace and joy and love that are always close by.
Mantras to Help Stop the Drama
Since, like you, I’m only human, I still engage in drama when I’m in the heat of the moment sometimes. So I’ve implemented a simple strategy to support the practice I’ve outlined above. In a nutshell, I proactively remind myself NOT to create or engage in drama. Anytime I catch myself doing so, I pause and read the following mantras to myself (I keep them on my iPhone). Then I take some fresh deep breaths, and begin my practice…
- Needless drama doesn’t just walk into your life out of nowhere – you either create it, invite it, or associate with those who bring it.
- Do your best not to judge other people, for you do not know their pain or sorrows. If you cannot speak a kind word, say nothing at all. And if they cannot speak a kind word, say nothing at all.
- Most people make themselves unhappy simply by finding it impossible to accept life just as it is presenting itself right now. Be mindful.
- When you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself. And that changes everything. (Angel and I discuss this further in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Don’t bother worrying about whether there will be problems. There will be plenty of them, and you’ll work your way through every one of them.
- Worrying is a misuse of your incredible creative energy. Instead of imagining the worst, imagine the best and how you can bring it about.
- When you focus your heart and mind upon a purpose, and commit yourself to fulfill that purpose through small daily steps, positive energy floods into your life. (Angel and I build small, life-changing daily rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
- It’s OK to make mistakes. That’s how you get wiser. Give yourself a break, and don’t give up or give in to negativity! Good things take time, and you’re getting there.
- Remember, letting go of drama isn’t about having the ability to forget the past; it’s about having the wisdom and strength to embrace the present.
- Work hard in silence, do what you have to do, and ignore the drama and negativity surrounding you. Let your success be your noise.