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The Difference Between Feelings & Drama (Find Out Which One You Do)

July 31, 2013

Most of us are feelings-illiterate. I don't say this as a judgement; I say it as a sad truth.

We live in a culture that emphasizes most things masculine (doing, progressing, thinking) and undervalues the qualities of the feminine (being, reflecting, feeling). While we all experience the entire spectrum of emotions, most of us get lost in this territory.

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Hopefully I can help with that.

In this article I'm going to discuss feelings and drama, and why your relationship depends on your knowing the difference.

Feelings and drama get grouped together all the time, as if they're the same thing. Most commonly in this way: That emotional chick = drama. But it's not necessarily true.

Yes, women tend to be more feeling-attuned and emotive, but this isn't a bad thing. In fact, it's part of what makes us so attractive — expressiveness, vulnerability, and openness are all beautiful qualities of the feminine.

However, there's one way our feelings take a turn for the worse into the realm of drama. And that is: Blaming your feelings on someone else.

Drama is making your feelings someone else's responsibility!

It's crucial for you to understand that your feelings are YOUR feelings. They belong to you. So they're yours to work through. Lots of us didn't get that memo.

Here's the thing: we all have very unique personalities and triggers. What makes me feel bad is very different from what makes someone else feel bad. That's because my wounds greatly influence my uncomfortable emotions.

My wounds (and subsequent feelings) are not caused by someone else (in the present moment). I know it feels like they are, but they aren't.

Are my feelings provoked by someone else? Yes! All the time! But this doesn't make it their fault or their responsibility to fix. The sooner we recognize this, the happier we'll be in relationships.

When you take responsibility for your feelings, you don't have to deal with the madness of trying to get someone to make it better (which never works anyway).

So how do you avoid drama while simply feeling your feelings? The easiest way is this:

When communicating an emotional experience to whomever you feel provoked by, say, "I feel _____."

Seriously, that's it.

I feel scared.

I feel really angry.

I feel sad.

You can say it while you're hysterically crying (even better, actually; it's authentic and therefore elicits an empathic response); you can say it when you're fiery angry. You can say these words in the midst of any emotional experience. And that's all you have to do.

The reason "I statements" are such an important tool to use in relationships is because they promote connection. An "I statement" is the opposite of blaming; it automatically keeps the person you're talking to undefended and therefore, more likely to stay open and caring towards you (which, of course, is what you want anyway).

When we don't use "I statements" in describing our feelings, we sound like this:

You made me feel _____!

The message in between the lines is:

You screwed up.

You did something I don't like.

You're wrong.

This communication style makes us defensive and furious! It's attacking to the person you're talking to, which is why it almost always leads to a bigger fight. "You statements" = drama. They just don't work.

Also, be careful for the sneaky "I statement that's really a you statement": I feel like you _____. This is just undercover blaming; keep "you" out of it.

It's very important for us to learn how to live with our feelings in a love-promoting way. Because we all have feelings! They're a natural part of life. They're a beautiful part of life.

Instead of labeling feelings as something to be ashamed of, why don't we embrace them, and try to do them right?

The next time you feel something, think twice before you make it into drama (someone else's fault). Simply go the route of feeling your feelings, take responsibility for them, and communicate them in a way that will keep the other person open to your experience. Connection and love will follow as a result. That's a guarantee.

In the comments below, I'd love to hear how you experience of the difference between feelings and drama. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT

Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist with a holistic and spiritual approach to relationships. She has worked with thousands of clients on improving their relationships with others and themselves, and she's also the instructor of the popular mindbodygreen courses How To Become The Most Attractive Version Of Yourself and How To Attract A Partner.

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