ehowton (ehowton) wrote,

Niles the Balance Tree, Part I

I've been thinking a lot about drama. Specifically, what causes it. Practically, what you can do to alleviate it. Perhaps more importantly, how to identify it! Because once you know which beast you're dealing with, the proper sequence of events can be followed.

Few of us sadly ever get the opportunity to face our accusers directly - we have to rely on hearsay - and for anyone who's ever played the childhood game Secret (where kids sitting in a circle whisper something to the person adjacent them in turn until it comes back around entirely devoid of anything resembling the originating statement) knows how any reply you make to a third-party will undoubtedly be misconstrued.

Despite knowing this, many adults continue to play the game. And they play it very, very well. And by well of course I mean poorly, because everyone except those playing know that it always gets worse - never better.

You can easily identify a drama king/queen by one of the following statements: "I don't usually talk about people, but...", "I hate to repeat anything, but..." or the self-fulfilling ubiquitous, "I hate drama, but..." Once you'll see the pattern you'll soon realize - even if they do not - they they are ALWAYS talking about people, repeating things, or seemingly embroiled in - yes, drama! Its the, "buts" which define their behavior.

I am many things. Not all of them flattering. Nonetheless, if my inadequacies become an issue or have caused a problem and someone points it out to me I immediately respond defensively and start justifying my actions.

No, wait. That's what other people do. I simply acknowledge their concerns and admit my shortcomings, as I am aware they exist. I know when I am trying to justify my actions and when I've made an honest mistake. I will readily admit to anyone which is which. Those who revel in drama will always doubt good intentions and always assume they're a target. Always. But this is a learned response and absolutely can be unlearned. That being said, some people go a lifetime with the knowledge that they were fucked over once, and despite a near-perfect existence since then, are always "at the ready" on the outside chance they're going to get fucked over again. What kind of life choice is that?

I myself am not immune! Just like men who wear dress shoes with bluejeans or the guy I passed in the hall today who I know nothing about save this - that he is a union worker - something which colors my opinion of him; I too, struggle. But struggling is at least an acknowledgement that an issue exists, and can therefore be overcome. The trick is to keep that shit to yourself - though admittedly some feel that not gossiping or whatnot is akin to repression. Drama is not healthy self-expression and falls outside the scope of this entry - seek professional help.

This now is the part for the lovely anakngtinapa who found herself unknowingly offending people by using previously politically-correct phrases which later fell out of favor. As an aside, who can keep up with what is and is no longer politically correct? But back to her, it all goes back to drama. I'm beginning to understand that if you feel a certain way about something, or hold an opinion about anything, you're basically limiting the course of your life forever by not opening yourself of to that which may run contrary to it. And given that most opinions are not based on facts-at-the-time and/or personal experiences, limiting any action based on opinion without considering that which is subject to change is not very life-enriching.

Couple this with the fact that people are going to believe whatever they want to, up to and including ignoring facts or changing reality to fit their world view all the while refusing to believe anything anyone ever says contrary to their opinions is not a personal attack on them, what can you do?

Because you know you cannot please all of the people all of the time, its simple: Do whatever the hell you think is right. If you're going to piss off somebody regardless of your actions, make sure you can live with yourself and defend your own actions according to your code - no one else's. Nothing is going to change their reaction anyway. Far too many people are far too concerned about far too many things. I have enough to worry about myself without worrying about what other people say or do.

So go out and enjoy YOUR life, the way YOU see fit. Remember the one-rule in doing so - do not harm others. And I'm not talking about someone else choosing to be hurt by your innocuous actions - that's a choice; If you can take personal responsibility for your own feelings, so then, should they.

Tags: drama, life, offense, personal responsibility, philosophy, psychology

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