(by Donna Fasano)
Let’s set the scene. “The children are arguing over whose turn it is to take out the garbage. The husband forgot to stop by the store and pick up a gallon of milk. The needy neighbor is at the door with the latest cul-de-sac gossip. Your mother is on the phone and wants to know when you’re coming to visit. Your best friend is once again sitting at the kitchen table, teary-eyed, as she complains about her boss. Meanwhile, all the water has boiled out of the potatoes, leaving the pot a scorched, smoking mess.”
These are the days of our lives. [cue symphony music]
It’s so easy to get caught up in and overwhelmed by the little annoyances that pop up in our daily lives. A feeling of anger here, a little resentfulness there, toss in a bit of impatience, and soon we’re filled with negativity and strife. Who wants to live like that? It’s not healthy. It’s also not fun.
What we tend to forget is that, even in the midst of chaos, we control our own reaction to any given situation. And isn’t that what melodrama is? This person’s action sparks that person’s reaction which riles yet another person; before we know, the train to melodrama has left the station.
Richard Carlson, author of Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, recommends that we transform our melodrama into “mellow-drama” and I think he makes an excellent suggestion. The simple act of consciously reminding ourselves that we don’t want to get caught up in the turmoil will go a long way in helping us maintain a more peaceful existence.
Avoiding drama doesn’t mean you don’t care or that you should walk away. It simply means you temper your reaction. I have found that identifying a situation as one that could be blown out of proportion helps immensely. “There it is,” I think, “another annoyance knocking at the door.” I take a deep breathe, find my inner calm, and I’m better able to react in a manner that won’t further inflame the moment.
Do you like the idea of turning melodrama into “mellow-drama”? What’s your best tip for holding onto your peace and taking the soap out of our daily opera?