Drama and Ego
Drama. What is drama anyway? In the language of entertainment, drama is conflict. It’s what happens when one character’s set of hot-button adrenaline charged themes, beliefs or values comes into direct opposition with somebody else’s tightly held and equally charged themes, beliefs or agendas.
The primary ‘player’ in dramas is the one with a position to protect. That is usually the ego. The ego always tries to protect its noble opinion of itself, its role as ‘opinionator in chief.’
I’ve been wondering why we tend to remember big dramas more often than the pleasant stories, and I think this is just as true in life as it is in the movies. Pleasant stories get a bad rap. How often do we hear the words ‘chick flick’, or ‘soft’, or ‘family story’ used as an unconscious put down? In fact, we can easily become addicted to our hot button charged dramas. Conflict dumps cortisol, adrenaline, and other chemicals into the blood stream.
So why do we tend to obsess on drama, focusing less attention on the flowing, pleasant experiences of life, those devoid of rife and conflict? If this question rings true for you, and it’s a situation you’d like to change, here is a helpful technique.
WRITE OUT one or two dramas from your past. Look for the distressing stuff, things you find yourself remembering obsessively over and over again even though the incident may be water under the bridge. Maybe there is a theme that’s tended to repeat itself with other players and situations over the years. Once I had an old business relationship that came to an end after some unpleasant drama. Years later I was still reviewing it over and over in my thoughts. At last I understood I was hooked on the ego rush of righteousness and nobility.
The next step is to write down an inventory of your pleasant experiences. You may find yourself recalling memories you’d almost forgotten. Take note of how it feels to remember them. Finally each time you catch yourself replaying or being caught up in drama, make a conscious choice to revisit and respect the pleasant, beautiful experiences of your life.
Barnet Bain is a Canadian film-maker, author and educator. Select film credits include Milton’s Secret (director, writer), Oscar-winner What Dreams May Come (producer), Emmy-Award nominee, Outstanding TV Movie, Homeless to Harvard (executive producer), and The Celestine Prophecy (writer, producer).
Check out Barnet’s latest THE BOOK OF DOING AND BEING: REDISCOVERING CREATIVITY IN LIFE, LOVE AND WORK!
See our last blog post I’M AWARE OF FEAR THAT IS ALMOST CONTINUALLY IN ME
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