“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.” –J.K. Rowling
Recently, I was pulled into two separate situations where I was confronted with what I consider to be “drama”–negative energy, name-calling, gossiping and shit-talking behind people’s backs.
And on a visceral level, it makes me so frigging uncomfortable. I don’t like it at all. Like, I actually get a tight feeling in my chest and want to do anything to turn around the conversation to the positive or away from “other people.” Actually, I hate it so much that I ALMOST DON’T WANT TO WRITE THIS BLOG. Ha!
But I feel like I have to, because I want to nip this thing in the bud.
See, I feel fortunate because my life is fairly drama-free in terms of negativity. I have stress. Lots of it, just like anyone else, and I do my best to handle it. And I rarely, if ever, resort to gossip, blaming, name-calling and putting out negative vibes. This is an operating system, and one I’ve practiced for the last few years (wasn’t always like that though), to the point that any negativity honestly makes me so uncomfortable. Those things don’t feel good and they certainly don’t serve me. In fact. the only thing they do is pull me into Negative Town where I get to be a huge victim. Ugh.
When I started JillFit in 2010, I committed to the core value of “relentless positivity” and I strive to live that daily. It’s not always easy, especially when I get frustrated or want to play the victim, which happens a lot. And it can feel good to play the victim, can’t it? We get to gather our pity party around us. We get to trade stories, talk about who has it the worst and commiserate over our troubles. We get to look at each other and agree that our situations suck. We get to complain and vent and “rant.” And while sympathy and co-misery can feel good, it keeps us in a holding pattern of inaction and helplessness.
But one thing that helps me when I want to blame and get negative is to remember that creating and participating in drama is, too, an operating system. And it’s one that keeps me from achieving the things I want and getting to the place I want to be.
When I am busy with negativity and blame, all of my mental energy is used up there, and I don’t have it available to do the things needed to reach my goals.
And I can always adjust my operating system to one that allows me more possibilities and success.
I also remember:
DRAMA = INSECURITY + NEGATIVITY + INAUTHENTICITY
Let’s break those three things down a little more.
In my opinion, this is the underlying element of drama. When I’m insecure, I compare myself to others. I struggle with not being good enough. Subconsciously, I feel inadequate and irrelevant. I feel helpless and defensive.
And the last thing all of those feelings make me want to do it own up to my bullshit. In fact, all I want to do when I’m in an insecure frame of mind is look “out there” for others who can take the blame. When I’m insecure, I can make it about other people being assholes, or being rude or unfair, treating me poorly or making my life miserable.
In other words, when I’m insecure, I get to create drama around other people so that I don’t have to take responsibility for my own happiness and outcomes. I can blame, deflect, defend and place onus elsewhere.
How does that help me in the long run, really? How does waiting around for other people to “get it” really help me right now? It doesn’t. And when I engage in drama and gossip as a result of insecurity, I get to stew in my victimhood and let other people be the source of my unhappiness.
What a prison! When I can only be happy and fearless once other people change, I am literally incapacitating myself.
On the other hand, when I am secure in my stuff, I don’t need to compare or stress about what other people are saying or doing because I’M DOING WHAT I NEED TO DO FOR ME, regardless of what people around me are doing. It’s beautiful. When I’m secure, I wish other people the best because I realize that others’ successes have zero impact on my own success. I don’t feel threatened by what other people are doing or their successes because those have nothing to do with me. Other people’s successes don’t make my own any less likely or my contributions any less important or impactful.
I realize that there’s enough money, success and happiness to go around.
In short, when I’m secure, I don’t need to create drama to make myself feel better. (But ask yourself, does the drama actually make you feel better, though? Probably not. Only keeps you feeling helpless and stuck).
I’ll never forget one of mentors Alwyn Cosgrove (a two-time cancer survivor and amazingly inspiring coach) saying at one of our masterminds, when asked how he approaches trolls on social media: “I ban them automatically. No second chances. Because I simply refuse to put negative shit in my head.”
I agree completely.
I can’t think of one benefit to negative thinking. I understand and use “worst-case scenario” or Practical Pessimism as a tool to help me take more action, but straight-up negativity not only makes me feel depressed as hell, but it also keeps me mired in the bullshit.
What do I mean by that?
When I get negative, I am allowing my own choices about how I will feel in this moment (negative) convince me that I can’t make a difference. That my actions don’t matter. That I’m screwed regardless of what I do. And I don’t know about you, but putting myself in a position where “it’s all bad” and I have no options is absolutely miserable. It makes me feel helpless, stuck and like the world is out to get me.
But! When I act from a place of positivity, looking for the bright spots in situations and being genuinely happy with what I’m working toward, I don’t need to put anyone else down. I’m grateful for what I’ve got–both the good and the bad–and that’s a place of power. That’s a place of openness and wishing other people the best, and giving others the benefit of the doubt, and not taking things personally, and not making assumptions, and being genuinely happy for others’ successes. It’s an empowered place. It’s a stress-free place. It feels good in that place. I feel equipped in that place.
You might not get this one right off the bat, so let me explain. I talk a lot about “apologetic authenticity” and the fact that when we are acting out of 100% ownership of who we are in the world, honoring that, no compromises, we are free to relax into ourselves without censor or approval-seeking or needing to be anything we’re not. We are free to be you and me :)
And when I engage in drama, gossip or shit-talking, I’m not owning my stuff. I’m not 100% happy in what I’m doing and who I’m being (authentic), so I need to deflect and position others as “wrong” or “messed up.” When I’m not practicing authenticity, other people (and their successes) feel threatening. I can easily be intimidated by what other people are doing. I can easily resent them. And it’s mostly because on some level, I’m not doing what I need to do for me.
Because when I’m acting in an authentic way, I could give two shits what other people are doing. Not that I don’t care about others, but I’d take what I’m doing every day of the week over what someone else has or who they are or who others see them as.
Because I like me.
Reminds me of Mark Cuban. Asked if he could be anyone else in the world, dead or living, who would he be? “I’m be me.” And isn’t that the way it should be? It’s that the ultimate? It’s not always easy to feel that way and it takes a lot of personal development and self-compassion, but it’s worth it if the end result is getting to be 100% comfortable in you.
And not only comfortable, but owning it. Like my girl Liz DiAlto says, there’s no use stressing about who’s taking my stuff or trying to compete with me because, “good luck trying to be me.” <—This is the kind of attitude you have to have. Not negative, but just SURE of yourself. Confident. Positive. Moving on. Everything is good as far as you’re concerned!
The last piece of the drama puzzle is this … when I’m engaging in and creating drama, I’m ultimately at wasting time and energy away from where I want be to. I’m wasting the energy that I could be using to take myself to the next level. I’m wasting mental space on stuff that’s not important. It’s petty and it’s what Jade calls “monkey level”–it’s, for lack of a better word, drama :) It doesn’t help me get to the next level. It keeps me grounded in the small shit. It doesn’t help me elevate myself or those around me. It keeps me scared and stuck.
And ain’t nobody got time for that! :)
I’d love your thoughts on this. Do you have Negative Nancys in your life? How do you deal with them? Or do you even, find yourself taking a ride into Negative Town? It’s easy to want to play the victim. It takes courage to NOT play the victim. Because when you take responsibility, you have to look your own BS straight in the face. Not fun, and certainly painful, but always worth it in the end. Let me know your thoughts on the JillFit Facebook page! Ox, Jill