How much time has passed since I last looked at porn/masturbated? That’s not enough.
How much money have I made? How much do I earn now? How much will I earn in the future? That’s not enough.
How much have I accomplished to this point in my life? What choices have I made? That’s not enough.
How strong am I? That’s not enough.
How much time do I have? That’s not enough.
How much sleep did I get? That’s not enough.
What kind of husband/father am I? That’s not enough.
Who am I right now? That’s not enough.
How Much is Enough?
How much sobriety is enough? 1 day? 1 month? 1 Year? 10 years? The rest of your life?
Enough for what?
Sobriety is just another word for how long it has been since you looked at porn (it is from addiction lingo). You can substitute any word in for “sobriety” here and it is the same. “Money.” “Accomplishments.” “Strength.” “Time.” “Sleep.” “The kind of husband/father/person” you are.”
Why We Do What We Do?
Usually the reason we are motivated to do things is because of how we think it will make us feel. I want to feel like I’m enough. What does “enough” look like? Worthy. Self-acceptance. Honorable. Capable. Approval. Accomplished.
What’s the opposite of “Enough?”
Scarcity. Lacking. Deprived. Insufficient. I don’t like this feeling. If I am not careful, when this scarcity feeling comes around, I may start to avoid it/resist it/react to it instead of just feeling it. These would be times when I’d be more likely to look at porn.
How I Thought it Worked?
If I let autopilot mode go without getting conscious and intentional it looks like this: First, I want to get away from the uncomfortable feeling of “scarcity.” And second, I want to find the feeling of “enough.”
So, in my mind, sometimes I have this idea that I just need to make it longer and longer without looking at porn and then I’ll feel enough. If I just do more in this way, I’ll create the feeling of “enough.” If I accomplish more I’ll feel enough. If I were ________, I’d feel enough.
So I hustle for the feeling of enough. I try to earn the feeling with my actions.
The Problem With This: Actions don’t create feelings.
Trying to create feelings with your actions is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. No matter which way you turn it, it will not work.
I started looking back on my life and the different lengths of time I have gone without porn. It varies from days to weeks to months to years. With my stretches of years, I asked myself: did I feel enough? The answer was NO.
How it Actually Works
Thoughts create feelings. A belief is a thought that you choose to, or allow yourself to, think again and again.
If actions don’t create feelings, then no matter how much sobriety I have it will not change how I feel.
You may ask: Then how come I feel good about myself when I accomplish certain things? Because of how you are thinking about yourself in that moment.
Like a Carrot on a Stick
Trying to use actions to create our feelings is like a carrot on a stick. You have a stick attached to your back with a carrot hanging off of it, dangling on a string. You really want that carrot. The carrot is always out of reach.
You reach harder till you burn yourself out. You exhaust yourself running harder. You try to swing it to yourself. Continually frustrated and continually out of reach. And you never get the carrot this way.
What if you detach the stick from your back and bring the carrot within reach? This is essentially what changing your thoughts, or beliefs, about yourself will do for you.
Then How Will I Stay Motivated?
If you are like me, you may worry that you won’t be motivated if you let yourself feel enough right now, as you are, porn and all. But this assumes that you can’t feel motivated and feel enough at the same time.
Guess what! Motivation can also be intentionally created with your thoughts. You can feel enough and be highly motivated at the same time. So you can put your mind at ease.
Why else might you be holding on to this belief that you are not enough? Does it help? In my experience, my clients and I are more likely to look at porn when we feel “scarcity” from believing we are “not enough.” If you allow your mind to focus on you not being enough, it will look for all the evidence it can find to support that case. And you will prove yourself right by doing all the things that you believe make you “not enough,” like looking at porn.
If you really truly believe that you ARE enough just as you are right now, and always have been enough, your mind will look for evidence to prove that idea right. And you will create the results that you are really wanting.
Your brain is always working. So why not point it in a direction that serves you and helps you create the results you want?
Enough is Enough
If you believe you do not have enough sobriety, it does not matter if you go months, years, or a lifetime without looking at porn, you will still always feel those feelings that come from believing you are “not enough.” How does that feeling feel for you? Yuck!
If you want to feel “enough,” you just need to think differently.
When it comes to not feeling enough, enough is enough. What if you are enough already and always have been? What if you do earn/have enough money right now? What if you are strong enough? What if you do have what it takes? What if you have accomplished enough to this point in your life? What if what you have to offer right now in this moment is enough? What if you will always be enough?
The feelings that come from these thoughts are much more useful in terms of creating the results I want.
To get going learning the skill of not looking at porn check out my free guide “How to Stop Looking at Porn.”
If you want to stop looking at porn and need help learning how, check out my 12 week How to Stop Looking at Porn Program by scheduling a free mini-session with me. What are you waiting for? Click here.