Do you ever find yourself repeatedly getting into conflict with others? Maybe you find yourself having the same old argument with someone, again and again. Maybe you get involved in heated discussions on Facebook – or you’re the spectator as others engage. Or maybe you’re really into reality TV.
These behaviours all serve the same purpose. They feed a very essential human need – and that’s our need for uncertainty.
But wait – isn’t uncertainty a bad thing?
Let’s look at the opposite for a moment. Certainty. We have a need to be certain about things in our world. It could be about our basic requirements like safety, food, shelter, and comfort. We like routines. We like predictability. After all, we are creatures of habit.
But there is such a thing as too much certainty. If we knew everything that was going to happen, like how a movie was going to end or what was going to happen at a party, we’d quickly get bored. So we need some uncertainty in our lives. We need some unpredictability. We need some of the “not-knowing” to make life interesting. To give us variety and adventure.
There are many ways to meet our need for uncertainty. Including arguments, fights, tension, and conflict. Also known as drama.
So if you find yourself getting hooked on drama, note that you’re simply responding to a human need. However, sometimes
we get so involved in drama that it starts to create problems for us. Like in our relationships, health, or career. Perhaps your midnight Facebook arguments are wreaking havoc with your sleep patterns, or you find yourself avoiding coworkers because of the tension. And when behaviours start to create more problems than they solve, it’s a warning signal that it might be time to change.
So what can you do?
First consider where in your life you want to make a change. If watching “The Bachelor” is the only way you bond with your 17 year old daughter, then it might be unrealistic to completely purge your life of all sources of drama (and perhaps there are bigger issues at play than a reality TV show).
When you’ve made the decision to change, it’s crucial to find new ways to get your uncertainty “fix”. I always recommend healthy and resourceful sources of uncertainty, like changing your routine or trying a new activity or meeting new people. Remember that nature abhors a vacuum, so if you’re going to eliminate a habit then you must find something to replace it with. (Yes, drama can be a habit).
Now, I’m not saying that you should never get into an argument again, or that you should never watch a reality show again. Life is about progress, not perfection. Perhaps though, it’s time to consider the role of drama in your life. Maybe it’s time to check out that new restaurant, or take a different route to work, or rearrange some furniture in your home. Maybe it’s time to let go of the drama and embrace something new. And you never know what or who you may discover along the way.