Human beings have a natural drive to thrive and survive. We wouldn’t be here, after all, if our ancestors didn’t figure out ways to stay calm, even in the face of disease, droughts, tiger-eating threats, and a whole host of other life threatening events.
Fortunately for most of us, today’s modern world is less about threats to our physical survival, but we certainly have threats to our psychological well-being. The pressure of work and home life today can be full of drama-filled situations if you are not able to stay calm and cool when they arise.
Human beings have two primary mindsets. The first, we call your Creator, the central role in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®. This is your natural state of well-being, if you can calm yourself and allow your built-in wisdom to guide you.
Your second gets scared when things are tough and uses fear-based methods to cope. This primary coping mechanism is aptly described in the three Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) roles. We’ve written often about the three DDT roles of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer, but for simplicity, here is a brief summary.
The central role in the DDT is the Victim, who feels powerless. When in the Victim role you may stand back and avoid taking responsibility in hopes you won’t get hurt, disappointed, or criticized. You protect yourself by disengaging and resist taking responsibility for your actions.
When in the Persecutor role, you lean in and take charge, thinking the best strategy is to be one-up and take control of the situation by being right and domineering.
The third strategy is the Rescuer who is “other-focused,” wanting to please and be helpful, hoping their heroic actions will fix the drama so the conflict will dissolve.
It’s okay to use these roles occasionally to deal with challenges. However, none of these strategies create lasting calm or peace of mind. If fact, if used repeatedly without being aware of your intentions, the DDT roles will block your true Creator essence that is waiting to guide you.
Here are 3 tips that can keep you calm in the face of drama, so your inner-Creator will emerge:
- Recall a time when you were resilient and bounced back even in difficult situations. Recalling these moments of resilience will give you confidence that your natural Creator self is guiding you even when the going gets tough.
- Use the reframe tool to shift your language. For example, if you say to yourself, “I am so nervous about this.” Change your focus and language to, “I am excited about …” Another example is: “I have to look strong and confident all the time” to “I can be candid about the challenges.” By shifting to more expansive language, you give yourself space to relax.
- Ground yourself and wake-up to the here-and-now. It only takes about 90 seconds for uncomfortable emotions to move through your body if you don’t block them. If you ignore your emotions or push them down, they will come out sideways later. Instead, focus on the natural rising and falling of your breath. Giving your mind something to focus on away from your reactive thinking will support your natural mind-body mechanism to calm.
As your body calms you will notice your thinking calms. With a less active mind, you will be able to hear wisdom and insights that you would not have heard when in the reactive drama roles.
It is liberating to discover the built-in human mechanism that helps you work with adversity. When you can calm your mind, you will discover that your Creator spirit, which naturally resides in you is boundless, and not limited to old reactive drama patterns.