Everyone faces conflict and needs to learn how to handle drama. Our spiritual growth as Mystics requires this.
No matter how kind and generous we try to be, we must face the fact that life brings us people, places, and things that perplex us with pain, frustration, and aggravation. None escape these challenges. Today, we offer some techniques to help you handle the drama in your life.
Realize the Perfectly Imperfect
In our last post, we spoke about the wisdom of the perfectly imperfect. We note that the perfection of this three-dimensional experience lies in its imperfect perfectness. This planet is intentionally designed to train and toughen us up for the challenges ahead in our future lives. To understand that we live in a boot camp world allows us, maybe for the first time, to peek at the perfection of a higher order lurking behind the scenes. This realization allows us to turn from our frustrations and instead seek knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.
Handle Drama: Avoidance and Attack
There are two default positions for facing conflict – avoidance and attack. Some people run away while others become warriors. We learn these approaches early in childhood. Sadly, neither are very helpful. One is rooted in denial of problems; the other is rooted in violence. Mystics seek a middle ground that allows them to face conflict squarely without resort to attacking. When disagreements come, we must meet whatever issues are before us with gentleness and respect.
Handle Drama: Avoid Default Roles
A second thing to be mindful of are the three default roles most people assume in conflict. These include the prosecutor, victim, and enabler. Prosecutors attack, blame, and judge others for the problems in their lives. They seek justice through revenge, shaming, and blaming others when they are angry. Victims are people who blame others for their problems. They rarely their part in a conflict. Victims believe their lives would be better if others would only stop or start doing something! Many people live with a victim mentality. The enabler, or rescuer, describes those individuals who seem to always interject themselves into the problems of others. It is though they feel that others are incapable of resolving their conflicts unless they intervene. These people often give unasked advice and butt in to matters that are not of their concern. Avoid these three traps. Read more about this in our article, Spirituality and The Empowerment Dynamic.
Handle Drama: Own Your Part
When conflict comes, it’s a rare person who owns their contribution to the trouble before them. Each party usually resorts to blaming the other. The truth is, if you are only five percent at fault in some conflict, you are one-hundred percent responsible for your five percent! Sometimes, a nonverbal eye-roll or facial reaction is the one percent spark that causes a problem to explode. Most people greatly underestimate their part in a conflict.
As mystics, we must keep our part of the street clean and own our contributions to each conflict. Once we have identified our part, we must do what we can to make things right. In interpersonal disputes, everybody, whether admitted or not, contributes to the problem. Everyone is responsible for making things right.
Handle Drama: Offense is a Choice
Drama happens the moment one or more people take offense to something. Take no offence and there will be no drama. In conflict, we see something we don’t like. In a split second, we have a choice whether or not we will take offense. It’s that simple. Conflict can happen so quickly that we sometimes forget that we have choices in the matter. No matter your justification, the decision to take offense is always a choice. This is true even when it is clear that an angry person is intentionally trying to make you mad as well. Our point is not that it is wrong to become angry, it’s that we choose whether or not to take offense.
Handle Drama: Do Not Escalate
When people become angry, they often up the intensity of their emotions by yelling, screaming, pushing, shouting, cursing, threatening, hitting, and the like. These are escalating behaviors. Keeping one’s voice steady, turning away, speaking softly, putting one’s hands behind their back are deescalating behaviors. We reduce drama as we intentionally reduce the intensity of our responses.
Handle Drama: Create Space
Wounds need time to heal. Emotional scars need the space of time to recover as well. Sometimes, the best way to show love is to stop with all the wounding and hurting. Perhaps you may need to walk away, live by yourself, stop speaking to other people, and the like. When relationships become toxic, no one should be required to receive continued abuse. It is possible to love someone dearly while refusing to participate in a poisonous relationship.
Handle Drama: Keep Disputes Private
When drama comes, refuse the temptation to talk with others about the details. When you are angry, speak with the one you are angry with – not everyone else! Keep disputes between yourselves by avoiding triangulation as well. Let’s say that I’m upset with you. Triangulation occurs if include your best friend in my conversations about you. Instead, I should speak directly with you.
Handle Drama: Learn to Overlook
The three-day rule is a good way to live. It works like this. When something happens that has emotional charge to it, see if you can avoid doing anything about it for three days. If, at the end of three days, you are still bothered, go and speak with the person about your concerns. Often, we feel differently about a conflict only a few short hours later. If we give ourselves a little time, we may learn new things that change our feelings.