Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Problem With Drama

(Note: this post is not about any one specific thing, but rather was inspired by a number of situations, both where I was involved and where I was just an observer. Don't worry Ima, everything is fine.)

The problem with drama is that it's never worth it.

Some people thrive on drama. I know people like that. Every little thing has to be turned into a dramatic production, and if they can't find something to be dramatic over, they go searching for things.

Some people never seem fazed by much. They are always happy, always in a good mood, and always strong enough to let certain unpleasantries bounce right off them. That doesn't mean things don't bother them. But they seem to be very good at not letting those things get in the way of anyone else.

Other people are usually pretty mild-mannered and chilled out, except on occasion. If they feel particularly insulted or hurt, or if they feel some injustice is being done either against them or against someone they care about, they'll get upset. Noticeably upset. But these are not people who like dramatic situations - not like the first kind of people I described. These people usually shy away from drama except when they feel they can't, or ought not to, or are too upset not to, and then without even realizing it's happening until it's too late to respectfully extricate themselves, they find themselves entangled in a situation they never wanted to be in. Sometimes they are strong enough to take a deep breath, back away, and let things fall back into place, taking whatever criticism of their behavior and moving on. Sometimes, though, pride gets in the way and no matter how much they want to, they can't pull back and, instead, just get more and more and more tripped up in their own mess. And because they are unlike group number one, being so entrenched in drama makes them want to throw up, and all they want is to find some way to be untangled and have everything return to normal. The problem with that is that there was usually some real reason for getting involved in the mess in the first place and if that reason is not solved, the person does not feel too much better.

I put myself in this third group.

In some ways, this third group seems the most balanced. Chilled out except when something deserves getting upset over. Right? But - no. Because getting upset should not be that dramatic.

I think the ideal is really the second category. It's good to always remember to treat people with respect, even if you aren't particularly happy with something they might have done. And most of the time, it isn't worth it to get upset with your close friends. Actually, it's almost never worth it.

I really, really, really admire people who always manage to smile and seem like they're in a good mood, even if they're not underneath. Of course we all need our moments when we're honest with ourselves, or with a friend, and let things bother us. And things should bother us. And sometimes if you react badly, it doesn't mean that you were wrong about being upset. What you were wrong about was the way you handled being upset.

I think one of the hardest challenges is learning to swallow your pride. There are many kinds of apologies, but there are two I'm thinking about. One is easy. It's motivated by your hurt pride. It's an apology because you're scared and insecure. You want to be reassured that everything is okay, so you say you're sorry. And you really are sorry, too. It's just that you're not apologizing because you want it all to be over. You're apologizing because you want the other side to make you feel better. And maybe to apologize also. And maybe they should apologize also. But a real apology shouldn't be asking for an apology in return.

That's the other kind of apology I'm thinking about. The kind that is so genuine and sincere, it just wants to be accepted, nothing more.

The other thing I want to say is that I think a lot of this comes with maturity. I see it as a sign of maturity, how much you let other things get to you and how you handle things when they do get to you.

As I get older and more mature, I aspire to reach that second category.

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