The Lies Dragging You into the Abyss and How to Take Control
You are not a fish. You do not have to take the bait and bite the hook.
Skepticism can be a powerful decision-making aide. When managed correctly and not allowed to run wild, healthy skepticism can lead to caution, thoughtfulness, research, comparisons, and other deliberations. These are excellent tools when faced with major life decisions.
However, even those of us that are experts at intensely questioning our external options are all too often not at all skeptical about the beliefs, stories, and thoughts we have about ourselves. When we believe every thought that we have about ourselves we set ourselves up for unnecessary struggles. These self-stories we tell ourselves can lead us into turbulent, rock infested waters.
You know what these stories sound like…you missed that, you didn’t do that, you should have, you shouldn’t have, the past means this, the future is bound to be that…blah, blah, blah.
The Buddhist monk Pema Chodron calls this moment of excepting a self-related thought and running with the story it creates “biting the hook”. When we bite the hook and let these self-oriented, judgmental thoughts drag us into a story about ourselves and our plight, we often end up in a ditch. If we get pulled into the abyss too deep it can take some time to navigate back to the light…sometimes a long time. This all can happen before we know what hit us.
Biting the hook and running with the story can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, anger, confusion, lethargy, and many other undesirable mind states. Furthermore, the self-doubt that this causes invokes our ego and impedes our ability to relate openly and productively with coworkers, friends, family, and ourselves.
To take control, and to break free of this trap, we must call BS on these sorts of unproductive thoughts. We must become the watcher of our thoughts and not continue to be led around like a dog on a leash by every self-limiting-story that pops into our head.
Let me be clear, your mind lies to you. Your ego lies to you. You are not your thoughts. You are in charge. You can gain control. You are fully capable of denying these thoughts the right to drag you down in the murky waters.
This ability to recognize and shut down the negative narratives the moment they pop into your head takes some practice and time to master, but this is how we take control. The benefits are transformative. The positive impact on stress reduction, realization of potential, and just about every other area of life cannot be overstated.
Part of my coaching and mentoring approach explores these self-stories and their impact on careers, relationships, personal development, and the overall attainment of our goals and dreams.