Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

What Hooks You? And How to Overcome It.

Butterfly

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”  – Marcus Aurelius

I’ve been living and working in a construction zone for the past 9 weeks.  I’m managing suprisingly well.  I’ve had my moments of frustration, stress, and tears.  But, overall, I’ve been following my flow, taking breaks, and swimming or soaking in the ocean almost every day to counterbalance the strain.  And, I’ve still accomplished my work.

In contrast, I sent an email to a close friend, and didn’t hear back from her for a few weeks.  After a while, I started to go into my story, but it was just a whisper, ever so subtle.  “Have I done something wrong?  Is she cutting me off?”  It was interesting to see where I go when someone I love seemingly disappears.

I knew I was hooked, and that my projections had nothing to do with my friend.  She was just taking a break.  When her response arrived, it was brimming with love and care.  Still, in that moment, all my insecurity suddenly burst to the surface, making me understand how subtle and deep these earlier wounds can be.

Living and working in the midst of construction would be completely unsettling for some.  But, it’s not my hook right now.  Abandonment, self worth, and inadequacy are my hooks.

For a very long time, I was so blended with these aspects of myself that they would take me over, and direct my thoughts, words, and actions. I bet you can imagine all the drama and distress that occurred as a result because I’m sure it happens to you too.  All the emotional pandemonium seems so important once you are hooked.

Discover and Disempower Your Hooks

Now, I’m getting to know my hooks. They still have the power to shake me up sometimes, but less so day-by-day.  I realize they are just a constructed story that began in an early part of my life, but they are not the truth.  And, I’m not permanently stuck with them.

In order to change, grow, and shine, you have to get to know your hooks.  And even befriend your hooks.  Here are some ways to do that.

1.  Make a list of your hooks, the ones that come to mind right now.

2.  Carry a small notebook with you and note down whenever you find yourself hooked.

3.  Make space for the emotions.  When you feel hooked, don’t suppress your emotions.  That might be harmful for you health.  Instead, let them rise, and see if you can just be aware of them until they melt away.  The problem isn’t the rising, it’s all the afterthoughts and emotions we create about it.  The rising will dissolve on its own if we don’t follow it up with thoughts.

4.  If you get stuck in the thoughts and emotions, be gentle with yourself.  Feel compassion for the part of yourself that is caught in insecurity, anger, or whatever the emotion might be.  Getting hooked gives you the opportunity to learn and grow.  So don’t be mad when you get hooked, be grateful instead. Then resolve to keep trying to heal and let go.

5.  Choose one of your hooks to explore.  Start with the smallest and easiest one.  Reflect or journal about it.  Do you remember when it originated?  What happened? What are the stories and beliefs connected to this hook?

6. Are there people who encourage you to react in this way, either consciously or unconsciously?  Are you caught in a victim-perpetrator cycle?  How can you release yourself?

7.  Question your hook.  Tell yourself, “This is not real.  This is just a story in my mind.  I can see it differently.”

8.  Counter your hook.  Create a new story.  Use affirmations.

Whatever your hook, start to deconstruct the beliefs and stories that hold it in place.  Subvert the internal assumptions that keep the pattern running.  Like a house of cards, removing one part of the story will begin to lessen its strength.

Usually our hooks are thoroughly ingrained in our psyche so it will take time to erase them.  But you have the power to revoke their significance.  You have the capacity to change your perception of and response to a hook.  And, in so doing, you will find so much release and freedom.

Do you know your hooks?  How do you overcome them?

I’m so glad you’re here! If you liked this article, please consider subscribing for free updates by email. With love, Sandra

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8 Comments

  1. Great points! I know what you mean about making up things that people might be thinking about you. I quit doing that when I finally realized that I was wrong about it nearly every time! Now I just don’t bother. I have better things to do than to do other people’s thinking for them. That’s their job. 🙂

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I’m amazed by your ability to just change your mind and shift your reaction. Good for you! This is a great inspiration.

  2. jean sampson

    Oh, yeah, I do have those hooks! One of the things I do in my mind is to visualize actually flipping those hooks (I picture them as literal hooks on my body, sometimes right were the chakras are) and I imagine turning them all upside down so that nothing can get caught on them! It is cool because I can imagine the feelings I have that are attached to the hooks cannot find a place to hook onto so they just slide onto the floor! I also try to stay aware of any feelings that might be coming from being hooked and then tell myself that is just one of my hooks being tampered with. It might sound silly and simple, but it really helps me to gain perspective! Good post, Sandra!

    • What a great visualization, Jean! I love this idea. I’m so happy it works well for you. And, I’m sure it will give us both encouragement and inspiration to find our own creative ways to disempower the hooks.

  3. Love this…I’ve been the exact same in the past, letting my mind run wild with worries of what others may be thinking. Thank you for this =)

    • You’re welcome! Most of us do this, but once we are aware we can start turning it around. Good to hear your experience. Thanks!

  4. Oh my goodness I could have been reading about my life. I have exactly the same hooks. I liked your approach for disempowering these hooks. I will have to give this some thought.

    • Hi Sharon,

      Guess we’re soul twins! I think many of us have these same core issues so actually we are a big family. We can link arms and keep moving forward. I see the hooks losing there power with every step we take.

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