I used to define myself by my “pornography problem.” It didn’t matter what other amazing things I was doing with my life. Because I looked at porn sometimes, while trying not to, in my mind I didn’t just have a problem, I was the problem.
Me. As a whole.
Then I tried 12 steps meetings. There they taught me to call myself an addict.
“Hi, I’m Danny, I’m an addict.” You say it before any comment you make throughout the meeting.
It’s one thing to become self-aware enough to acknowledge what your actions are and have been. It’s a whole other thing to see yourself as an “addict.” What does that even mean? Is anybody 100% addict?
The Irrational 100%
When you start really examining what it means to label a person (smart, mean, good, bad), you realize pretty quick that it is completely irrational. Why?
For starters, people change. The nature of the world is to constantly be changing, even on an atomic level. So even if it were possible for somebody to be completely, 100% mean, even for a moment, it won’t last.
Secondly, it is not possible for a person to be 100% anything except for human. But this excludes futuristic cyborg technology, so even 100% human is questionable. People who do mean things also do nice things. People who are smart in one area are dumb in others.
Let’s Do Some Math
For me, I would go weeks or months in between looking at porn. So if you added up the time I was doing it and made it a percentage of my total time existing as a human in that same time period. It would be far less than 1%.
But I would take it on as my identity. I was so obsessed with “getting this right” that it became who I was in my mind. It didn’t matter if I was kind to people I interacted with, cleaned the toilets, kicked butt on a dental procedure providing good care for patients (don’t worry I washed my hands between those last 2), or serving others.
It didn’t matter because I still looked at porn sometimes, I was flawed. It was all bad. I was somebody who looked at porn. Everything else in my life was discounted.
It was amazing how I could take the less than 1% and make it my 100%. My brain didn’t know any better. Did you know our brains will buy into irrational thinking?
Can you imagine? “Hi! I’m Danny. I’m less than 1% addict.”
Even for guys doing it 6 hours a day, which would take some serious effort, that would still only be 25% of their existence as a human.
What’s your percentage of time spent looking at porn? In the last year? In your lifetime?
Take a moment, and look at the percentage of time you don’t spend looking at porn. Flip the equation.
That would mean that I was spending 99.9% of my time not looking at porn.
Seriously, when you remember, take a moment and notice that you are not looking at porn. Right now, you are not looking at porn. Do you grasp that?
This is so important. You start to distance yourself from the irrational 100%.
Use It To Your Advantage
Since your brain will buy into the irrational 100%, why not use it to your advantage?
What if you start practicing the thought, “I no longer look at porn. Ever.”
Or, “I’m not the kind of person who looks at porn and masturbates.”
Do you think you could imagine this to be true for a split-second? If you aren’t looking at porn right now, then it is true at the moment.
Let that sink in.
We think we need to first show or prove, with our actions, that we are somebody who doesn’t look at porn.
But does this even work? If you have been taking this approach and you still find yourself looking at porn, then it probably doesn’t work.
But what if we got it backwards?
If we point our brains in the direction of “I am not a person who looks at porn,” our brains will begin looking for evidence that this is true. That is how the brain works.
The brain will try to prove it right. And then, the brain will be working on ways to help you create evidence that you no longer look at porn.
You can practice this thinking if you looked at porn 5 minutes ago. You can practice it if you already have been practicing it and just looked at porn again. You can still keep practicing it.
There are no rules here. The only person that gets to choose how you think is you. That is your right. Your privilege.
Now go and use it to your advantage.
Not sure how to get from what you currently believe to what you want to believe? Check out my How to Stop Looking at Porn Program by scheduling a free mini-session with me. What are you waiting for? Click here.
For a free jumpstart on learning the skill of not looking at porn check out my guide: “How to Stop Looking at Porn.”