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Life Beyond Drama


Life Beyond Drama

“Life is drama”, a famous actress declared. Yet if we experience life as drama, we don’t live as who we are under the stories, defenses, and sometimes chaos of drama. Virtually all of us live out drama in some aspects of our lives. And to the extent that we do, we are trapped in patterns of thinking, behaving, and relating that keep us stuck and wounded.

How Drama Keeps us Trapped

We create our life story based on our experience. For most of us, our story is a drama, at least in some respects. We each play the starring role in our life drama. But that drama keeps us from living authentically and powerfully. To live authentically, we must stop acting. To live powerfully, we must live the truth of who we are. However we often cannot distinguish our truth from our drama, because our drama has become the setting in which we experience life.

In her song, No More Drama, Mary J. Blige describes drama as a painful game that causes tears, fears, and stress. When drama shows up in your life, it is a warning sign that something must change before you can live peacefully. Drama is a game in which we repeat the same patterns of thinking, behaving, and relating that always cause us pain, hoping each time to avoid the pain. We know the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing while expecting different results. Yet we play the drama game anyway.

Why do we continue to choose drama when we know better? Carlos Castaneda writes in A Separate Reality that “we maintain our world with our internal talk” and “we also choose our paths as we talk to ourselves. Thus we repeat the same choices over and over until the day we die because we keep on repeating the same internal talk over and over until the day we die.” We repeat the same patterns of drama because we repeat the same choices. Those choices are based on the same self talk – the same rationalizations, minimizations, and assumptions. To break the pattern, we must change our thinking.

In his book The Voice of Knowledge, Don Miguel Ruiz writes that “all the drama you suffer in your personal life is the result of believing in lies, mainly about yourself. And the first lie you believe is you are not: you are not the way you should be, you are not good enough”. Whenever you believe lies about yourself and others, drama is sure to follow. And drama causes suffering.

Drama is the result of believing in lies, repeating those lies in your internal talk, and basing your choices on those false assumptions. Lies create drama. But Jesus said the truth sets you free. So you can never find freedom by repeating your drama. Freedom starts by telling yourself the truth.

Martha had to be honest to free herself from drama in her intimate relationships. Since her divorce, she chose unavailable romantic partners, but believed they were committed. She enjoyed their company, but experienced drama because she believed in the lie of their commitment, and her actions were based on that assumption. With drama came emotional pain. To free herself from this pattern, Martha had to acknowledge the lies underneath her drama.

Roger has a different experience with drama. In his past three jobs he became convinced his supervisors disliked him. Each time his relationship with his boss deteriorated, and he felt he had to change jobs or he would be fired. Now, he expects his new boss to dislike him. And he is unsurprised, although angry, when the cycle repeats itself. For Roger to change this pattern, he must first change his thinking, and then learn to make more empowering choices.

Sometimes the repetitive nature of your drama may not be as obvious as these. You may experience a familiar, yet unpleasant sensation, such as betrayal, after unrelated circumstances, such as losing a job or a friend. But if you dig, you will find that somewhere you believed a lie. Perhaps you believed people would not like you if they knew you? Or maybe you chose your job or friend poorly because you believed you could not have a great job or a healthy friendship?

If you find yourself in situations like these, you may beat yourself up, or you may promise yourself that you will never repeat this painful pattern. But the drama cycle continues until you consciously choose to free yourself from it.

How to Free Yourself From Drama

Freedom has its roots in awareness. A cookie fortune I read stated, “To see your drama clearly is to be liberated from it.” To see your drama clearly, you must look at your thinking, as all drama begins in the mind as lies that are reinforced by self-talk. To free yourself from drama you must change both your thinking and choices. You may make course corrections in your decision making. But you are likely to slip back to old patterns if you don’t reprogram your mind.

Much has been written about the benefits of positive self-talk. Eastern and Shamanic practices have shown us the greater power of silence. In Tales of Power, Carlos Castaneda writes, “Whenever the internal dialogue stops, the world collapses, and extraordinary facets of ourselves surface, as though they had been kept heavily guarded by our words.” The world that collapses is the one we create through our thoughts and beliefs and maintain with our internal talk – the world of our life drama. That world keeps amazing aspects of ourselves locked up. And they can only be freed when the lies, internal talk and drama stop.

As you become accustomed to silence, you will hear your inner wisdom more readily because it speaks softer than internal talk does. Then you can base your choices on your inner knowing. Once you can tap into your inner wisdom, ask it questions like these to help you identify the lies in your self-talk. Do I believe I can’t have a better relationship, job, or life? Do I believe I know what’s best for my partner, adult children, or friends? You may discover that you hold some of these beliefs. And they are based in lies that will lead you to choices that create drama.

You are far more than the role you play in your drama. The more you base your actions on your inner knowing, the more you free yourself from drama. Then you can discover wonderful qualities about yourself that were masked by lies, self-talk, and drama. And you will live more authentically and powerfully than you ever have, as you taste the freedom of life beyond drama.


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