Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Seven Habits Of Highly Dramatic People

Relationship counselor Scott Kalchenstein wrote this essay and sent it out today in his newsletter. It's his playful and provocative parody of The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People. It could create a whole new category at bookstores, a Self-Helplessness section. (This isn't actually original -- there are 2600 hits for "Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective People" in Google - and a book has already been written with this title.)

But I like the way that turning this idea on it's head helps me see how my own negativity, self doubt, anxiety, fear and blame just backfires and destroys all of my relationships, most importantly the one with myself.

This year, on Valentine's Day, I decided to love myself and be my own Valentine. Thinking in a positive way is just the first step in exercising good self love. After all, if you don't have positive thoughts about yourself, who else will?

You can contact view Scott's website here.

The Seven Habits Of Highly Dramatic People

By Scott Kalechstein

Do gratitude, contentment, and inner peace sometimes creep up on you and undermine your ability to indulge your anxiety?

Here's a quick and handy two-step process to make sure you get your M.D.R. (minimum daily requirements) of worry and chaos.

1. Believe and act like your safety, security, and happiness are dependent on people and forces outside of you that you can't control.

2. Try to control them.

For those of you who prefer to keep it complex, here are seven habits to develop that will help you go deeper into your practice and guarantee a daily overdose of adrenaline. Allow me to be your drama director as we shout out the traditional opening words… "Lights! Camera!! RE-ACTION!!!

#1. Harness The Power Of Negative Thinking - Everybody accentuates the negative on occasion. What if I can't pay my bills? What if I lose my house? What if I get sick? What if I'm alone for life? What if I'm in this relationship for life? But as your drama coach, I want to inspire you to master 'The Secret' by focusing all of your attention on the most negative possible outcomes all of the time. When this discipline has been achieved, you can relax into the certainty that you will always find something to freak out about in any situation, and fear will never abandon you again.

#2. Be Busy Till You're Dizzy
- Being too busy to still your mind and take good care of your body is essential on the path to drama-realization. Temptation is everywhere these days - health food stores, spas, gyms, yoga studios, meditation classes, and it takes courage to maintain abstinence while the whole world is stretching, sweating, chanting, and going organic. Remember, as our parents tried to warn us, engaging in meditation can lead to blindness, losing sight of all the things right in front of you to worry about. So wake up every morning painfully early, splash cold water on your face, brew up your caffeine, and go, speed racer, go! Have you answered all your emails? Who needs a shoulder to lean on? Is there something on TV? Always make sure your life and your mind are filled with clutter and free of those annoying empty spaces between your thoughts that can disturb your absence of peace.

#3. Have A Swinging Good Time - In the 60's and 70's, a swinger was a person who relieved the monotony of monogamy by attending a variety of extra-curricular relationships. Nowadays, the term swingers has broadened, and is often used to refer to drama majors when they are found swinging like a pendulum from one extreme to another, churning with the thrill of constant crises, skillfully sidestepping the boredom of emotional stability. Would you like to be able to create, at the snap your fingers, a soap opera drenched in drama anytime you want? All you need to do is to stuff your feelings till you can't hold them in any longer, and then explode without restraint or care for anyone, especially the ones you care most about. As a practice, try being 100% nice and sweet. Stretch yourself to accommodate someone as much and as long as you can, and then take the lid off and let the steam out, like Mt. Saint Helens does once in a while. There is nothing as satisfying as having a good eruption after being good and silent for a spell.

#4. Leave Your Inner Child Alone Without Parental Guidance - When the child inside the adult gets scared, some really juicy drama can happen, but only if we withhold our compassion, re-assurance, and loving boundaries. When we can resist such mushy self-help nonsense, our inner children will wreak havoc trying to get those things from others, usually through some very exciting acting out in the drama department. When two or more people abandon their little kids at the same time, oh boy, that's when the fun begins. The adults have left the vehicle, and you can guess who's in the front seat, banging on the horn, flooding the accelerator, yelling out the window, and playing extreme bumper cars. Yippee!

#5. Set Huge Goals, Maintain Unrealistic Expectations
-There is nothing more beneficial to your lifestyle than the habit of reaching for the stars, falling short of your lofty goals, and feeling like a colossal failure. Taking big leaps and falling flat on your face is paramount for maintaining healthy low self-esteem, which is the foundation of all good drama. Go for the mountaintop, and don't look down at your feet on your way. One step at a time is for people satisfied with proceeding at a snail's pace, always leaving behind a slime trail of serenity, gentleness, balance, and other dismal downers that drama kings and queens take royal pains to avoid. You can do better than that!

#6. Judge Your Judgments - Every human being judges, but only the ones who have learned the art of judging their own judgments excel in creating melodrama. Have you ever been known to shame and blame yourself for feeling afraid and stuck, telling yourself that there is something really wrong with you for not moving forward? Good! You are on the right track. Now, take your next step. Judge your judgments! Tell yourself that you should know better than to shame and blame yourself. Heap truckloads of guilt on yourself for stooping so low to the curb of self-criticism, yet again. This will make you quite an energetic downer that can't help but suck energy from those around you. You'll be the lifelessness of the party!

#7. Get Grounded In The 3 B's...Blame, Blame, & Blame! -
Blaming yourself has already been covered. But don't rest there. Blame everyone else too. Life's not going the way you want? Blame, blame, blame! Blame first, ask questions and take responsibility later, if at all. Appropriate targets are Mom and Dad, friends (if you still have any), your mate (if they are still around), the Bush administration, the Clinton administration, big corporations, small minds, and, of course, God. Self-responsibility can lead to issues finding solutions, which flushes good drama right down the drain. Instead, be generous with the blame dispenser, letting it overflow on everyone, uncontained, uncensored, unedited. Blame, Blame, Blame!

Affirmations For Good Drama

Every day in every way I am stressing out over everything, real or imagined.

Everything is working together to conspire to bring the worst possible outcome to my doorstep.

Life is against me and I am doomed.

This, or something worse, is now manifesting for the highest cost to all concerned.

I no longer have to work to create drama. Drama happens effortlessly and naturally, all around me.

Whatever calamity I can conceive, I can achieve.

I always have everything I need to manifest everything I don't want, and all is hell in my world.

Copyright 2008 Scott Kalechstein, All Rights Reserved

Scott Kalechstein is an inspirational speaker, a transformational humorist, a life coach, and a modern day troubadour. He makes his home in Marin, California and loves presenting at conferences, giving talks, concerts and workshops. In his phone counseling practice, he is a relationship specialist, helping both individuals and couples heal, manifest, and awaken into conscious relationship. Call 415-721-2954 to schedule a session, or email him at You can visit to read more about his workshops, to hear his talks or to sample songs from his nine CD's. Sign up for his free muse-letters to receive writings like this one on a semi-occasional basis.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A lesson in humility on Valentine's Day

About 10 years ago, when I was a lot snottier than I am now, my then boyfriend, Don drove up from San Diego to meet me on a weeknight for Valentine's Day. He was horribly late, dressed badly, and like an idiot, didn't even book a reservation in a restaurant.

So here we are, it's like 9 pm, I'm grouchy and starving, my blood sugar has bottomed out so low that I'm almost dizzy, and we're driving all over Santa Monica trying to find a restaurant that will let us in. One after another, we're turned away.

This goes on for an hour and I'm getting increasingly annoyed with my boyfriend. We finally are allowed to sit at the bar in this cheezy, not terribly romantic seafood grill. The stools are packed up against each other. The guy next to me is eating alone, and nd is flagrantly hitting on me. The service is terrible and we wait again, 30 more minutes, just to catch the waiter's attention. When the food finally arrives, it's sloppily prepared -- the chef no doubt is in a bad mood himself by 11 pm on Valentine's Day.

Just then, I see this gorgeous, radiant couple walking out of the restaurant -- his hair is long and blonde. His smile is angelic. She has transparent, luminous skin, and long flowing golden hair. He's wearing jeans. She's in a simple, almost frumpy navy blue sundress. They're holding hands and shyly exiting.

It's at that moment I suddenly realize it's Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow.
At first my inner snob was thinking: "Wait a minute. These people are wealthy celebrities. They can go anywhere. Why aren't they eating at a five star restaurant, or the Hotel Bel Air, or perhaps the Beverly Hills Hotel on Valentine's Day?

But then the beauty of this moment hit me: "If it's good enough for Brad Pitt to take Gwyneth Paltrow here on Valentine's Day, it's certainly good enough for me." It was one of life's great humbling moments.

That experience taught me a lot about how it's the experience that matters, the thought and the caring, and not the material frills. Where you are is not as important as who you're with. Every year since then, I've been grateful if I even have a boyfriend on Valentine's Day, if he gives me a simple card with a heartfelt inscription, that expression of love alone is enough to make me happy.

Though I am quite sure of one thing: Reservation or not, Brad and Gwynneth certainly got a table that night.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I still hate Valentine's Day!

Ugh. It's almost that time again. Valentine's Day is a Halmark holiday, and one of those days that you can never live up to. There's just too much pressure to be happy. My best Valentine's Day ever was the time we decided to avoid the hype altogether. My partner and I made dinner at home, and took a walk on the beach in Malibu Colony. As we walked at night, two dolphins danced in the waves. He gave me a simple card with a mushy inscription. This was the most magical Valentine's Day ever for me--and it didn't contribute more than $4 to the retail economy. Last year, I went on a great Valentine's Day dinner date with a guy who wasn't even my boyfriend. (His partner was living in a foreign country so he was alone for the night and took me out for dinner.) Since we were just platonic buddies and not lovers, it took the pressure off and we actually had fun!

This year, I'm single on Valentine's Day, so I'm planning to spend it at a big party which will hopefully be devoid of loving couples smooching and holding hands.

Here are a few anti-Valentines I found for you to shower your single friends with.