“O.M.G. There’s so much dramaaaaaaaaaaahhhhaaaaa….”
I hear the word drama often, both in my personal and professional spheres.
However, when I’m coaching clients, it’s one of my “yellow light” words.
This word arrives for two reasons.
My client thinks they are being “dramatic” or that someone in their life is causing “drama.”
When it comes to other people, the label “drama” usually comes packed with judgment about that other person.
They shouldn’t “stir the pot” or “rile people up” or “stick their nose in other people’s business.”
(Such evocative word pictures, right?)
Very often, when my client is labeling someone else as “dramatic,” there’s a strong sense that the person knows they are being dramatic and doing it on purpose.
Then there’s the way I hear “drama” when a client is using it to describe themselves, judging their experience.
“I have all this mind drama.” (Like “mind drama” is a real thing more than a collection of thoughts.)
“I feel so dramatic and out of control.”
We sometimes see other people’s dramatic actions as intentional and malicious, done consciously by that person to create a negative reaction in us. They mean to be dramatic.
On the other hand, our dramatic thinking is evidence of being out of control and unintentional, like something bad is happening to us, not by conscious choice. We don’t mean to be dramatic.
Isn’t that curious?
One of my preferred strategies for helping my client create awareness about “drama” is to draw focus to word choice and their definition of the words they are using.
Use Case #1: They’re SOOOOO dramatic!
If they’re talking about someone else, I’ll ask them to be as neutral as possible by describing the actual actions without adjectives.
“My mother said, ‘Word1 word2 word3 word4…etc.”
“My coworker shook her head from side to side and crossed their arms.”
We get curious why a person would say those words or take those actions.
We slow down time, my client and I, and pick out the drama that the client is adding with their chosen adjectives.
When my client is adding drama to the description of the events, they are revealing more about themselves than they might realize. It’s fascinating and enlightening!
It can be playful to look at the movements – the actions the people are taking – and separate those facts from the story, as if you’re searching for gold nuggets in a river pan full of stones.
Use Case #2: I am having so much mind drama!
When someone is judging their experience as being dramatic, I’ll often lead discovery the same way.
Let’s separate the actions of what happened factually from reactions, including the reaction of telling a story about what’s going on.
One element that I add when we’re working on a client’s judgment of themselves is to swap the word “drama” for words that indicate motion.
I’ll suggest describing their thinking like this: “My mind is generating activity in the form of multiple thoughts. I sometimes label this mental activity as ‘mind drama’.”
The movement in your mind is an invitation.
It’s like a rustle in the bushes drawing your attention to something amazing.
I coach a lot of clients about their work, including a lot of business owners. Sometimes they’ll say, “I’m having a lot of drama about marketing.”
What does that mean exactly, I’ll ask.
In many cases, what that means is that they need to make a decision.
The increase in mental movement is caused by the lack of flow, like a clogged drain.
The “mind drama” is their mind saying the flow is clogged.
The next time you use words like “drama” or “dramatic”, get curious about the motion you are observing and the judgements, observations, opinions and other meaning you are making of those motions.
Then ask…”Is this story helpful?” If not, how else could you describe the situation in a way that serves you?
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