Why do you think these days we have an increasing need to dramatize our life and the problems and post them like heroic stories on social media?
Is it the need to establish ourselves as heroes? Or is it the need to gain attention?
Why do we have this need to establish ourselves as heroes?
Is it to feel good about ourselves? To reassure our egos that we are doing well?
What if we don’t dramatize the problems? What difference would it make to our lives?
What if we don’t try to grab every opportunity (or problem) to project ourselves as over-rated heroes of our own stories?
Do we need to inflate ourselves to that degree to get through life?

Just wondering how did our parents get through without the over dramatization and without these heroic projections?
They remained grounded I suppose. That meant, the highs and lows of life could touch them – but not break them – since they never thought it made them into some super hero as well.
While we, on the other hand, make huge things of ourselves, so we get caught up in every problem that comes up and want to either play the dramatized victim or the emphasised hero. We try really hard to project someone else as the villain or try even harder to project ourselves as the heroes. And we place ourselves in a rather fragile bubble of greatness. So, anyone who comes close to challenging our heroism or heroic deed is a sinner to be banned and banished from our lives. Else, there’s this perennial fear that they might break us.

In the past, without all these extreme projections, people got along with each other despite issues. Now, in spite of all good things, we can’t seem to stand each other, because each story can have only one hero – the megastar – and we can’t dream of sharing that space with anyone else – hence, we have to make villains of the rest – so we can make the hero of ourselves or someone who we absolutely love. This is not to say that we should stop appreciating ourselves or our beloved ones. By all means we should, but without dramatizing and blowing things out of proportions. If we absolutely love ourselves or someone close to us – can we still continue loving the rest of the world? Or will that excess love towards one person stop us from connecting with the rest of them, or even worse, hate them from not being similar?

And that’s the flip side of making ourselves or our loved ones heroes – we are unable to appreciate others. We feel if we appreciate someone else, we may not be considered good enough. So, we stick to appreciating ourselves. We don’t want to be inspired and appreciative of all the others since we are THE HEROES according to us. Like the old story of the lion and the hunter – unless the lion learns to tell it’s story, the stories will always glorify the hunters.

The other flip side is – we are tending to be super secretive – and act as if we are burdened by the world’s biggest problems that we can’t openly talk about. You’ll find a quite a few this way – who keep walking with pumpkin faces, and you ask them, “What’s wrong?” And they reply rather glumly, “Nothing!” (With an expression that shows “EVERYTHING is wrong!”). And they add on to say, “I don’t want to talk about it!” Why be so secretive? Because the stories aren’t that big, we realise. Rather than tell the story to others and let them realise how trivial are the things that we are holding on, we want to be secretive and make people assume we have these big monstrous, unthinkable, unimaginable and un-talk-able problems that we are having to dealing with.

Are we by any chance thinking that dramatizing our stories and sharing them will inspire others to get through their life stories too? Well, if you see, the actual real heroes have never really publicised their trials or spoken big about themselves. They were humble and grateful. They tell a story without making themselves as the big hero – and more importantly, without making any person or any situation the big villain too. They talk about everything with a great sense of neutrality . No extreme love or hatred to anyone or anything . Those are the ones that actually inspire us. The dramatized stories might only teach people how to inflate their egos momentarily, if at all, and not much else.

Or are we generally addicted to dramas because that’s what gains popularity in reality shows, movies, tele-series? What is it about dramas that attracts us to that degree? Yes, we face rejections, we face failure, we face loss, we face isolation and so on. But that’s true of any life – not just you and me but humans in general. Life’s purpose is about moving ahead and finding our learnings.

Instead of living in pretentious bubbles of greatness, how about living in solid houses of reality & gratitude? Bubbles are fragile. We run the risk of it being broken and hence, we tend to be more guarded. We spend half our time trying to protect it. Or, because it is fragile, anyone can break it easily so we tend to get angry, upset or frustrated with people for breaking our bubbles.

I am sure our grandfathers had a lot tougher times than us. They had to walk for kilometres to get to a school. Our grandmothers had to really struggle to cook food. Nothing was easy for them. Compared to that.- a vast majority of our lives are a lot easier than those of our ancestors, thanks to technology and thanks to evolution. Rather than being grateful for our blessings, we choose to make heroic stunts out of everyday challengesand make ourselves look like ‘larger than life’ figures. It’s time to move towards gratitude without complaining or gloating about how we got here. We can’t be counting our problems and talking of ’sacrifices’! Everything we did, we chose to do! Either because doing it was important for us or the other person was important to us or we were ridden by fear. After doing it, we can’t now call them sacrifices. They are all choices. And there’s nothing wrong with being normal human beings. We don’t all have to be heroes and victims. Stuff happens in life and we learn to move on. That’s just how life works. No life is lesser or more. We need to choose between being a melodramatic hero versus a regular, happy individual who is capable of spreading happiness to others around too. We don’t need to keep proving ourselves to some make-believe human measures. We don’t need to move mountains to contribute to the world we live in. Just smile and make the day lighter for ourselves and others, and consider that a day well-spent.

Narmada Rao

Psychologist, NLP Trainer & Author




6 Replies to “Why do we dramatise our lives…”

  1. Wonderful message. I love the words ” how about living in solid houses of reality & gratitude”. I too feel that accepting the reality of life & being grateful to whatever comes , keeps our life simple & hassle free.

    1. Thank you Ritu

  2. Bit Sathiya 5 years ago

    Isn’t this an offshoot of the gradual disintegration we have been seeing in our society of the familial system? Joint families-> Nuclear familes. Previously the individual considered himself an integral part of the same.
    Now they are more interested in “Personal Space” which is putting personal above all other things. The individual previously had acceptance from the family, but now there is nobody to accept them as also to guide them.
    Look at all the personal help books. They are selling the personal space concept and preying on the same insecurity. And the role models that people see have also changed. In all areas they see individual portrayed rather than a group. So is it any wonder we are all aping this?
    Would love to hear your thoughts on practical measures to solve this.

    1. Thank you Sathiya. True. I think it is also a need to validate ourselves through the lens of many others in our surroundings. Comparison could be a key bug in our belief systems today. I think during our parents’ times, they were sure of themselves to the extent that they were doing. There wasn’t a platform to show off either 🙂 which in a way was good. I think if we stop comparing, half the trouble solves there. Because we don’t feel the need to prove then.
      Also, we have over-rated happiness and achievement to a great degree today. So, that makes people dramatise more because we feel heroes aren’t made of ordinary situations. So we make every situation extraordinary to make ourselves look so. We should allow ourselves to be what we are and celebrate each others’ excellence, not based on results achieved but based on the efforts and the values demonstrated. That might help keep us grounded in a good way.

  3. Anand Brahma 5 years ago

    Great message. Well expressed where our focus is shifting.

    1. Thank you Anand

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