We have gone through our own journey, learning how to shift from drama to empowerment both as a couple and as individuals. We have worked with thousands of individuals navigating their own human experience. Over a decade of being blessed to do this work, we have observed that people go through a gradual learning process over time.
We call this path The Four Stages from Drama to Empowerment. As you move through each stage you become more aware of what you are thinking and your resulting emotions.
At any time, it is possible to pause and ask, “Where am I right now in this journey? How might I move further on the continuum toward empowerment?”
Here is a brief outline of The Four Stages as we see them:
Stage One: “Not Me” – In the first Stage, you feel powerless and at the mercy of life’s events. To defend and protect yourself, you blame other people or circumstances. You might say: “Not me. I don’t have a problem. It’s everyone else (or the circumstance) that is to blame.”
Deep down you may feel insecure about life and wonder privately if you will ever be happy, while expecting to be treated special or get your due. Not wanting to admit to insecurities, you may develop a false pride and be unwilling to take responsibility for your contribution to the drama. Being self-referential and “me centered” is fundamental in Stage One.
Transitioning beyond Stage One starts when your protective armor begins to crack. It may be a traumatic event, such as a divorce, serious illness or being fired from a job.
New experiences and getting out of your comfort zone can help expand your perspectives so you view the world through a wider lens. Stopping the blaming of other people or circumstances for your situation is required to move into Stage Two.
Stage Two: Awakening – Understanding how your thoughts create your reality opens you to becoming more self-reflective in Stage Two. Learning about the three Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ roles can help awaken your inner observer so you can stir from sleep-walking through your life.
Your attention begins to shift from what you don’t want toward what you do want. Your desires and goals become more important than defending and blaming external circumstances or staying attached to old drama stories.
With more awareness of how you think, feel and behave, you start taking responsibility for your choices and the illusion that you are in control of external events. You might say to yourself: “If I just work harder I can manifest the life I want.” The paradox is that working harder feeds the false sense that you are in control of anything other than your own choices and response to life’s challenges. Stage Two is about beginning to let go of your need to control external events and other people and awakening to your only power—-choosing your response to life.
Stage Three: Direct Experience — In Stage Three, you learn to relax and surrender into direct experience.
Liberation from drama lies in your increasing ability to notice how your thoughts evoke an emotional response. Having a direct experience of all your emotions –– both uncomfortable and pleasant ones –– enhances your ability to accept and be with them, rather than reacte to them.
You disengage from (though you do not suppress) the Velcro-like attachment between your thoughts and emotions. Through the direct experience of self-compassion, forgiveness and regular contemplative practices, you begin to understand that life’s drama is a learning opportunity rather than something to control or conquer.
Stage Four: Co-Creating – A growing commitment to deepen your awareness – and practice – takes hold in this stage. Your focus moves from attempting to master your outer world to becoming a master of your inner life and how you move through your human experience.
You develop deep and ongoing contemplative practices that best suit you. These practices help you activate your heart and continue to increase your self-awareness in the moment.
The direct experience of compassion allows your mind, heart and body to become more integrated. As you become more aware of your true essence as a Creator, you also see this in all others. You forgive yourself and others for the human experience with all its flaws and foibles!
You begin to realize that the very purpose of life is to be in a co-creative relationship with others and your experience. You have entered a new era in your journey and you cultivate and evolve your ways of relating as Creator, Challenger and Coach – the roles of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) ™.
Vacillating through different stages in various parts and times of your life is natural. However, being aware of these stages can help you gain insights about how you are relating to yourself, others and your life experiences in any moment.
Applying the Four Stages from Drama to Empowerment will to help awaken your “inner observer” as you grow in your innate ability to shift from a drama-filled life, to creative and empowered living.