“I just don’t want any more drama…”

You know that feeling, I bet.  When a problem or conflict with someone just takes up waaaay too much of your time and energy.  You just feel, well, tired.  

It’s true that some of us seem to have more drama in our lives than others.  But we all, from time to time, get caught up in it.  The “he said, she said”.  The gossip.  The replaying of conversations over and over in our head, each time feeling more justified.  And yet, somehow, at the same time, less satisfied.

Your Key to No More Drama

The truth is, you can greatly reduce the drama in your life by following these four guidelines.  Presented in The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, these guidelines are called “agreements” for a specific reason.  We are all brought into this world, raised in it, and survived/thrived based on a certain set of beliefs, which we agree with–generally without consciously choosing to do so.  

The four guidelines below represent something new to agree with, hence “The Four Agreements”.  

Don Miguel Ruiz calls these the key to personal freedom.  I call it the path to No More Drama.

The Four Agreements

Be impeccable with your word.

The power of our word is immense.  When we are 100% intentional about what we say and aware of that power, we limit drama by having “nothing left unsaid”. Being impeccable with our word also means not wasting our power of language on gossip or disparagement.

Don’t take anything personally.  

We all see the world through our own set of filters.  Your filters are different from mine.  Both are valid because they are the accumulation of our own unique experiences.  And those filters are so instrumental to what we see, that it means that anything any one of us does is really a reflection of those filters, not of what is seen.  In other words, what others say and do is about them.  Our response to their words and deeds is about us.

Don’t make assumptions.  

Those unique filters we all have means that assuming what someone else is thinking, feeling, or may do next is not productive.  If you are experiencing a lot of drama around something, there is a good chance you are making a lot of assumptions about someone else’s intent, or about their actions. 

Always do your best.  

No matter what you are doing, do it with love and give it your all.  And when it comes to these agreements, do your best there, too.  Because it is human to slip—to make an assumption about someone you know well, or not at all.  It’s normal to feel hurt when someone doesn’t respond to your message right away.  And when someone is frustrating us, it’s normal to want to say something unkind behind their back.  Doing your best is about accepting those moments of imperfection, forgiving yourself, and getting right back to practicing the four agreements again.  

Ready for the drama to take a bow and exit, stage right?

Think about an area of your life where you are tired of the drama.   What would it be like if you spoke only the words necessary to articulate a point or request?  What would it be like if you did not feel personally affronted by someone’s behavior?  What would it be like if you did not make assumptions—filling in gaps in your understanding with your own ideas?  And what would it be like if you did your best, and when that best fell short of the ideal, you forgave and stopped judging yourself and moved forward?  It turns out that the source of all that drama resides inside you, and you can turn it down, or turn it off altogether whenever you are ready.

Most likely, at least a couple of the Four Agreements are not being honored if you are feeling fatigued by drama.  You may realize that one or two of them are particularly hard to “agree to”.  That’s because of those pesky filters that you have.  But now that you are aware of which agreements are hardest for you to keep, you can begin catching yourself in those moments that matter and make some different choices.  

Wendy Hultmark, CPC, ACC, is a coach who helps women in leadership own their story and write the next chapter. Learn more at www.wendyhultmark.com.