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Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know. – Prema Chodron

Life is one giant lesson made up of smaller ones. Every minute we are learning something new, be it information about somewhere else in the world, a piece of news, someone we have met recently or even ourselves. The hardest ones are often the most important ones and these are usually life lessons taught by none other than the school of hard knocks: reality.

There was a time when my biggest and hardest lesson was coming to terms with drama in my life. I would constantly be affected by the level of it everywhere I turned. Suddenly great friends would turn to monsters, lovers would cause me endless grief and I would spend months feeling as if I was all alone with no one to turn to because I was just overwhelmed and so afraid of all the “drama” which never seemed to end.

I was sick of feeling so drained dry and the solution seemed plain to me at that point – cut out the source and you’ll cut drama out. The source then seemed to be the people who I felt were making me feel so helpless and upset. So that was what I did. I avoided those people and it seemed to stop for awhile, but then it would come back, taking the shape of another person.

I holed myself up thinking and I concluded that it must have been what I was doing to myself. Perhaps the problem was my addictions that were causing things to spiral out of control! Perhaps it was the drink! I beat myself up and pointed a finger. The alcohol was to blame! And so I cut that out too for awhile. But drama still crept back into my life.

It wasn’t drink, it wasn’t entirely about the people, so what was this all about? Why would my problems come back constantly, giving me the same pains, annoyances and disappointments? Why?

So I looked further inward and this time the answer was clear to me, the problem was me. Cutting out people, things and situations did nothing because the problem was inside; the drama was always coming back because the real source was me and the way I reacted – constantly seeing myself as a victim when I had complete control of the situation.

Quoting Jeanette Winterson in her memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal,

The map has more than one route. More than one destination. The map that is the unfolding self is not exactly leading anywhere. The arrow that says YOU ARE HERE is your first coordinate. There is a lot that you can’t change when you’re a kid. But you can pack for the journey…

We are all in complete control of our lives and there is never not a choice. We are given free reign to make decisions every step of the way even when pushed to a corner.

There was so much I could have done but didn’t. I may not have been able to control the way certain situations panned out and the reactions of others was definitely not a variable that was in my control, but my actions and reactions most definitely were. I could have set my foot down, refused to let the drama grow by not contributing to it negatively and to have perhaps voiced out my concerns earlier on before the disgruntled “bearing with it” multiplied into a major point of unhappiness. I could have been the ‘bigger’ person, but I wasn’t. Instead, I kept choosing to be a victim because I was set in thinking that that person did me wrong, that person shouldn’t have done that to me, how could they have done that to me?

Avoiding the people who hurt me and avoiding drinking were just superficial ways I thought I was “learning my lesson” but the truth was, the lesson life wanted to teach me had yet to be learnt because I was running away without realising it. I was meant to learn how to deal with drama and how to move on from it. I was meant to learn that I had a choice and I had a part to play in allowing it to happen, allowing it to fester, not putting a stop to it early in one way or another (that in itself is another lesson of “how to”). I was meant to learn that I could choose to surround myself with positive people, situations and energy by just focusing on the good and letting go of the bad.

Just in dealing with drama alone, there are so many other lessons connected to it and I am still a student of life, learning and trying to do things differently each time, until I hit on the right best solution.

I will be honest here, I am still learning but now I know why some things never go away. It’s because I’ve yet to to taught what I need to know.