“No more pain .. no more game… noone’s gonna make me hurt again.” – Excerpts from lyrics to Mary J. Blige song No More Drama
A woman raised her hand in one of my Tongue Fu! workshops and said, “I’m so mad at my landlord, I can hardly think straight.”
I asked, “What happened?”
“She accused me of not paying my rent. This really bothers me because I always pay on time and she’s insinuating I’m a liar.”
“Didn’t she get your check?”
“That’s the thing. I pay in cash. We both travel a lot so I put it in a drawer in the kitchen so it’s waiting for her when she comes back. She claims she didn’t get it.”
“I can see why this would be upsetting. What’s happening now?”
“I told her exactly where I put it and when. She texted back this morning that her son had picked it up and said, ‘My bad.’ That may be her way of apologizing but to my mind she’s taking this way too casually.”
“So, what are you going to do to keep this from happening again?”
“Well, I’ll pay with a check from now on so I have a paper trail and can prove I paid. The thing is, I’m still so upset about this, I don’t even know if I want to continue living there.”
We talked through a decision-making matrix that helped her realize that, other than this one incident, she liked the house and wouldn’t be able to find something comparable so wanted to stay. The thing was, she needed to find a way to mentally move on.
I said, “The first thing is to drop, ‘I can’t stop thinking about what she did.’ The more you say that, the more you think about the very think you don’t want to think about. The goal is to replace a “drama story” with a “karma story.”
She said, “Like … ‘What a ditz.”
Everyone in the room laughed.
I said,” Well, that would switch the attention off your reaction and onto her mishandling of the situation. The thing is, if you want to stay in the house, you might want to come up with a more helpful story that will lead to a better relationship. Maybe she was under a lot of stress, acted without thinking and didn’t mean to offend you. Maybe this was an act of omission not of commission. How about saying to yourself, “Give her some grace.”
“I could do that, but she was the one out-of-line.”
“That may be true. However, the incident is over. Dwelling on it serves no good purpose.
Reliving drama keeps it LARGE AND ALIVE. It’s in your best interests to SHRINK THAT STORY and make it SMALL AND OVER.
The way to do that is to have a pro-active, positive mantra like “NEXT” that helps you mentally move on and focus on what’s right in your life instead of what’s wrong.
How about you?
Has someone said or done something to you that was unfair, unkind or undeserved?
Have you found yourself re-living what happened and getting more and more upset?
Have you tried to stop thinking about it, but can’t?”
If so, take these steps.
1. Speak up to correct the situation vs. suffering in silence. More on how to do that here.
2. Take tangible steps to prevent this from happening again.
3. Replace “That person makes me so mad” or “I can’t stop thinking about this” with:
· “It’s over. NEXT.”
· “Oh well. ONWARD.”
· “Shrink it. MOVE ON.”
Henry David Thoreau said, “Life consists of what a man is thinking all day long.”
We may not be able to control what is said or done to us, we CAN control how long we choose to dwell on the drama and what we choose to tell ourselves about it.
Select thoughts/stories that serve rather than sabotage your quality of life.
It’s one of the single best thinks we can do.
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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create mutually-repsectful commyunications. Her TEDx talk and books Tongue Fu! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? have been featured in NY Times and on NPR, and presented to Intel, Capital One, NASA, Boeing, YPO, Cisco. Want Sam to speak for your group? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com.