Why You Need More Drama In Your Life (Yes, Seriously)

The human spirit thrives on drama. Have you ever noticed this?

It’s counter-intuitive, in a way, because we all say things like, “I hate drama,” or “I just don’t need that kind of drama in my life,” but we also line up to see movies where the captain of a cargo ship has to fend off pirates, or a young person is faced with a grim choice—and steps in heroically to save her younger sister.

If this isn’t drama, I don’t know what is.

drama
Photo Credit: Mark Turnauckas, Creative Commons

And like I said, we don’t just enjoy drama. We thrive on it.

We function our best in the midst of dramatic situations.

When the twin towers were attacked in New York City, and the skyline crumbled within a matter of hours, we witnessed as the best of the human soul emerged. In the middle of the worst possible conditions, strangers offered money, prayers, and anything else they had to help. An off-duty firefighter abandoned his vehicle and raced across town (in full gear) to rescue any survivors.

No competition. No jealousy. No comparison. No judgment. Just an unbiased willingness to get to work and do something awesome.

As a human race, we do really well with drama.

Have you ever noticed this in your own life?

Maybe you have a job interview, or a plane to catch, and suddenly waking up at 6:00 in the morning doesn’t feel quite so complicated. Your alarm goes off, and you just get right out of bed (or maybe you wake up before your alarm). Consider the last time something new and different was going on in your world—you were going to a concert after work, or someone you loved was coming to town.

Didn’t it make you feel more alert, more alive and more awake throughout your day? Didn’t you kind of feel like you were on cloud nine?

Or, maybe something painful happened—you had a loved one in the hospital, or your house burned down, or you were waiting to hear important news. Didn’t you suddenly feel like your priorities were snapped into perspective?

Did you see the best of yourself come out?

I’ve been a pretty dramatic person for most of my life.

I used to be a terrible exaggerator (sometimes even to the point of lying). This is something I’ve worked to change, and have made major progress, but every now and then I still find myself saying something like, “There were literally one billion people there!” (To which my friends respond, “Yes, Ally, one sixth of the world’s population was literally at the coffee shop by your house”).

And yet, despite my dramatic ways, I would still find myself saying, along with everyone else, “I don’t need that kind of drama in my life!”

But recently, it occurred to me: We actually do need drama in our lives.

In fact, I think that’s part of the problem. We were made for drama. We were designed for it.

The problem comes when there is no drama—when our lives are stale and comfortable and boring—and so we feel we have to make drama up.

That’s when the really nasty drama (and the worst sides of ourselves) come oozing out. This is where lying comes from, and fighting and arguing and blowing things out of proportion. This is where jealousy and comparison come from, where backstabbing and gossip come from, when we start judging others.

This is when we start to panic about what would happen if someone broke into our house, or if we retired without enough money, or how we would cope if our identity was stolen.

These are not likely problems, but we get stuck in anxiety over them, not because we’re bad people—but because our lives are too darned boring.

We need drama that matters for something.

What if, instead of waiting for drama to happen to us, we went out and found it. In a way, that sounds like the worst advice in the world, but here’s what I mean by it: What if we engaged in the drama of saving people’s lives?

What if we made beautiful music that would lift spirits?

What if we wrote books that would shift people’s hearts and minds?

What if we put our lives on the line to save people from slavery, children from starvation?

What if we put our hands to materials—actual physical materials—and made something useful with them?

What if we saw our work as so important, so utterly vital to the beauty and meaning and purpose of the world, that we would risk everything for it—we would let go of house and home, we would hold loosely to our possessions, and we would see every bad thing that happened to us as simply an obstacle in the way of reaching the ultimate goal?

Maybe, then, drama wouldn’t be so bad after all.

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Allison Fallon

I write books. I help people write books. I believe a regular practice of writing can change your life.

17 thoughts on “Why You Need More Drama In Your Life (Yes, Seriously)”

  1. Allison – You nailed it. My wife and I have beet trying to make a decision about adopting… adding to our existing brood of 4. We seem to keep saying to ourselves, “isn’t there enough drama already?” Now I know the answer… “no, not nearly enough drama!” I will share this with her.

    Looking forward to “all about blogging” next week in SanDiego.

  2. Wow. Loved this post so much more than I ever thought I would. I think, as well, that nurturing the ‘good drama’ in our lives is essential to banishing the ‘bad drama’ (i.e.: the made-up, unimportant stuff). Nurturing excitement, new adventures, trying new things, making new friends, etc. PLUS it cuts down on gossip too – if you have something interesting in your own life to talk about, well then you don’t need to talk about your neighbor’s wife’s daughter’s friend’s second husband… or whatever.

    Thanks for the great article!

  3. I love this Allison. We were made to make things that matter, and drama is a cue that we’re doing something matters. Such a lovely reminder. Let’s go make beautiful things.

  4. Hi, it’s my first time here. I found you through Conversion Diary. I love this post…It has really made me look at the drama that’s going on in my life in a new way!

  5. Also led here by Conversion Diary… great post! This is a view that I’ve never taken before, and I like it. It also helps me to understand why some people just thrive on gossip in our small town. Maybe they’re just bored and under-challenged by their daily lives.

  6. OK this is so so fascinating to read – especially this “The problem comes when there is no drama—when our lives are stale and comfortable and boring”

    because my 8 year old basically asked me this exact question a couple days ago – he’s concerned heaven will be boring because “there’s no bad guys and no one to rescue” – I still haven’t come up with a great answer. He’s sure we need conflict to bring out the best in us.

    Help?

    1. mm

      That’s so fascinating! What a smart little 8-year-old you have on your hands. I’m not sure I have a good answer, but the question definitely does have me thinking…

      Lots of “Hmm…” going on over here.

      Anyone else have thoughts?

      1. I had a similar conversation years ago with one of my children. Not sure this is the best answer but I told her that it is impossible for us to know exactly how heaven will be but we know that being with God will be so blissful, wonderful, exciting, and happy that there will be no room in our hearts for anything else like boredom. Simply being with God and the Saints will be drama!

        1. Great question from your sweet little boy!
          Not sure how I’d answer but do think: “Yes! There will be plenty of bad guys and people to save, they are the people still in the world and they need our prayers from Heaven!”

          1. Adding to that, look for example at Clarence from “It’s a Wonderful Life” – he had lots of drama getting George to see the light! And what Joy when he did!!!! 🙂 Another film reference is “Millions” from Danny Boyle. Gorgeous story about a little boy who believes in doing good, sees saints, and learns about the meaning of his life from his mother in Heaven. Brilliant, and beautiful.

  7. This drama delight theme is featured on my blog as well. Every authentic God-breathed human need and attribute is counterfeited by the usurper. The desire to give ourselves in devotion and service to another, for example, is often played out in sexual exploits.
    Your wise post accurately points out that humankind was created to join the Divine Drama of Kingdom Life. Absent that cooperative enterprise, we find ourselves flopping around for some dramatic cause to sink our teeth into. My thoughts on the subject are here:
    http://macmurchy.blogspot.com/2013/02/under-big-top-desire-for-drama.html

  8. Thank you! I always feel bad when I think about how much I love drama and what it brings out in me. It always brought the best out of me. And I know I’m not the only one. Drama comes when we live the stories we’re supposed to live and pray every day, I, and you Allison, live those stories.

  9. I really don’t like any kind of drama. I leave the drama to the screen writers. I had to put up with drama from relatives and friends that tried to pull me into their aggravation. I really don’t need it. I live in a house with my mother and my niece and none of us start that up. We just live our lives in peace. That’s how I like it. I tend to attract people that like to be the center of attention for some reason. I even attracted a negative total stranger that maligned me and some others that started drama because she probably found her life to be dull. I don’t think drama should started at the expense of others either. We need to find a way to live our lives peacefully. If you find life to be boring, you need to really do some soul searching and find out why.

    1. Is life worth living without excitement? If there isnt any drama going on in your life, it means you’re not doing anything that matters and you’re stuck in a daily routine. And routines are dull and unfulfilling.

  10. LOVE this—–I love how you turned a negative statement into a positive one! I do understand bad drama and good drama…

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