Episode 215 - Quitting Porn for Good Means Learning the Art of AcquiescenceOct 16, 2023
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Episode 215 -
Zach Spafford: Hey everybody and welcome to Thrive Beyond Pornography. I'm your host, Zach Spafford. Today I want to talk about the idea of the art of acquiescence. I learned about this idea from the book, The Obstacle is the Way, but I think it's a really great idea and I want to talk about it a little bit more in depth because the goal here is to understand how to put pornography behind you in a way that is effective and gives you the space to become completely free from it.
In this book, The Obstacle of the Way, there's the emphasis is on the challenges and obstacles that we have in our lives that they are not to be avoided, that they are rather more importantly seen as the opportunities for growth and transformation that will take us from being the person that we are to being the person that we want to be, the person that we expect ourselves to be, the person that we tell people that we are.
Acquiescence and the art of acquiescence is about surrendering to the reality of a situation, understanding that it's not the circumstance itself, but our response to it that truly matters, and then, starting down the path of putting into place a new way of dealing with that. When it comes to pornography struggles, it's vital to acknowledge that this is a complex issue and that it affects...
You in ways that may not affect someone else necessarily, but the art of acquiescence in this context involves accepting that this struggle exists rather than dwelling on shame or guilt. We take that acknowledgement and shift our focus towards destructive action, so I'm going to provide you some practical.
Tips for applying the art of acquiescence to your struggle with pornography. So we're going to start, I'm going to start with the four key components of what. The art of acquiescence is, and then we'll dive into them starting with awareness and acceptance, awareness and acceptance just briefly is a recognition and acceptance that you are facing a challenge, understanding that you're not alone and dealing with that number two is acceptance.
Awareness and Acceptance: Recognize and accept that you're facing a challenge. Understand that you're not alone, and seeking help is a sign of strength.
Cultivate Mindfulness: Practice being present in the moment without judgment. This helps create a space between the impulse and the action, allowing you to make more deliberate choices.
Develop a Growth Mindset: Embrace the idea that setbacks are opportunities for growth. Each time you face a challenge, it's a chance to learn and develop resilience.
Seek Support: Connect with a coach, support group, or trusted friends and family members. Sharing your struggles can provide valuable insights and encouragement.
Cultivating mindfulness practice being present in the moment without judgment. Number three is develop a growth mindset. And then number four is to seek support. So let's talk about these. One of the key takeaways from what I do and what I have learned throughout this process of putting pornography.
Behind me is that adversity is an opportunity to practice virtues like patience, courage, wisdom, when facing a challenge related to pornography, especially. For example, patients can be cultivated by understanding that progress may be gradual in your case; courage comes in the form of seeking help and facing this issue head-on.
And wisdom is really gained through learning from each experience. So, let's dive deeper into the importance of awareness and acceptance in facing challenges. Recognizing and accepting that you're facing a challenge is a pivotal starting point in a journey toward healing and growth. This involves acknowledging what's going on objectively and without judgment.
It also means accepting the reality while not giving in. Acknowledging and acceptance are not about saying. Well, this is my reality, and I might as well just accept it, and I'm not going to worry about it. I'm just going to, you know, live like this forever, and I'm not going to try or do anything about it.
That's not what I'm saying at all. This component is about being able to face the issue head-on clearly without beating yourself up over it and objectively working on understanding why. It is that you are facing this problem. This is the difference between taking time after you view pornography to analyze the timeline of that day, maybe even more acutely the 30 minutes before you chose pornography and go over what was going on in your mind as it was offering you the ideas of choosing pornography.
Doing that is acknowledging and acceptance, having awareness and acceptance. The other thing that most people do, the thing that a lot of my clients do before they go through this process of learning how to deal with this is they distance themselves from the behavior mentally, right? So, think about the last time you viewed pornography.
If you can't tell me what happened in the 30 minutes before you chose pornography, You're distancing yourself from that issue and you're not analyzing it directly dealing with what happened. You're forgetting the reasons that you viewed pornography and you're trying to essentially get away from this to get back to a state of what I would call stasis, right?
It's this like, I'm a good person stasis where I move away from my bad behaviors as quickly as possible so that I don't have to feel it bad for too long. That's really not what we're going for. In awareness and acceptance, we're diving in, we're taking the time, we're looking closely and we're going, I don't necessarily like this, but I accept what happened and I'm aware of it and I'm acknowledging it and I'm dealing with it.
When we acknowledge and accept, we take the time to deal with the issue instead of running from it. Okay, next, let's talk about cultivating mindfulness. This practice is a cornerstone in any journey towards self improvement and overcoming challenges. And mindfulness has been statistically shown through the research To be one of the only ways to put pornography behind you.
So if you're, if you listen, if you are working with a therapist and they are not working with you on mindfulness or you're working with a coach and they're not teaching you about diffusion and how to deal with diffusion, they're not doing anything that's statistically relevant. That's my short version,
I know that sounds maybe controversial, but here's the thing. The research has been done. You can look it up. The reality is that when you use the principles of acceptance and commitment training, or acceptance and commitment coaching, you will find that they are the most effective and the only ones that have a statistically relevant recovery rate.
And that's really what's important, right? If you went in for surgery and somebody was like, yeah, you got a 5 percent chance of surviving this surgery, you'd probably think twice about having that surgery. But if you said, yeah, you've got an 80 percent chance of surviving that surgery and having a full recovery, you'd be a lot more likely to do it.
And that's the difference between say the 12 steps. And that's the difference exactly between the 12 steps. And acceptance and commitment coaching. So, getting back to mindfulness, this is the art of paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and sensations without trying to change them, or suppress them, or eliminate them, or run from them.
In the context of overcoming pornography struggles, mindfulness is a transformative tool. When it comes to this kind of behavior, there's often an automatic, maybe even impulsive response to these stimulus, or these ideas, or these feelings that you're dealing with. Uh, for example, the impulse to turn to pornography may be cued into your life by a stressful day or boredom or some other emotion.
So you can just kind of sit there and think, okay, well, what is it that actually is happening for me in the 30 minutes before I choose pornography? and understanding what that feeling is, is that you're dealing with, that's going to be the thing that you're going to want to look at and go, okay, how can I be mindful about that?
And mindfulness introduces a pause in this automatic cycle. And the more automatic you make that the more habitual you make that mindfulness, the more likely it is to work. This is not about You know, I've said this a million times, but it's really not about motivation and willpower. This is 100 percent about creating a habitual action that occurs whenever your brain feels bored.
You've already done that. Good news. You've already done that. You know how to do that. You've actually created that. I mean, if boredom is the thing that you're dealing with when it comes to pornography, you've already done that. You know how to use a habitual way, a habitual idea to move you into a space where you feel good.
Now let's take that same principle and utilize it to. Walk away from porn and doing that in a habitual consistently mindful way is going to create the space for you to choose to move towards your values by being present in that moment, you're able to observe your thoughts and feelings without becoming entangled in them.
You can recognize the urge to engage in a harmful behavior, but you're not really feeling that same. Compelled feeling, I can't tell you how many times I've had a client go, yeah, it like starts and I start to fight with it. I push it back and then I just get this sense that it's inevitable and I might as well give in.
Otherwise I'm going to have to fight with this all day. Awareness, the mindfulness that you cultivate creates and grants you this freedom to choose a different, healthier course of action, a course of action that more closely aligns with your values. Furthermore, practicing mindfulness helps you develop a deeper understanding of the underlying emotions and cues that are contributing to the struggle with pornography.
It allows you to explore those feelings with compassion. It gives you the space to be curious rather than self judgmental or critical of yourself. And there are various mindfulness techniques that can be employed such as meditation, deep breathing exercises. I go, I teach probably 20 different mindfulness techniques within my program.
These practices help to train the mind to stay present, create a foundation for more intentional decision making and habitually. Move towards your values rather than fighting with your brain. Remember, mindfulness is not about perfection. It's actually just a little simple skill that requires practice and patience.
And the more you can do those things, the more your brain will automatically turn to it when it's feeling lonely, stressed, bored. Whatever it is, right? It's about progress, not perfection, and each moment of mindful awareness is a step towards greater self awareness and empowerment in your choices. Too many of us feel disempowered in our choice around pornography.
The more you can re empower yourself, the more likely it is that you're going to choose the things that actually bring you happiness. And included in that is understanding that when you are more mindful about your choices, the more likely it is that you're going to Capably move towards your values without a struggle.
That's the work that needs to be done. That sets aside all that willpower and motivation that you've had to use up to this point. So, cultivating a mindful life, a mindfulness in your life, you're equipping yourself with a powerful tool to just navigate through those challenges, including struggles with pornography and anything else that's going on in your life.
And you're taking an active role in shaping your own responses. Automatic responses, the kinds of responses that will just kick in no matter what's going on in your life. And ultimately that moves you towards putting pornography behind you forever. So now let's delve into the concept of developing a growth mindset.
This is a fundamental shift in how we approach setbacks and challenges. A growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. It's about understanding the challenges and setbacks that you face are not indicators of failure. There are actually opportunities for growth and learning.
I mean, how many of you have said, after you've turned to porn for a minute, and gone and said, told your wife or spoke to a church leader and said I failed. I had a setback. I had a relapse. Instead of, listen, I have a new data set. I set's still coming into my life, but I'm working on dealing with it directly and seeing it as a new challenge that I can resolve.
Do you see the difference? I mean, we're talking about the same thing. I viewed pornography, and, or I, I looked up naked ladies on the internet however you want to phrase that, and in that space, you're either saying, I stink, I lost the game, essentially, or, hey, I see a new data set with problematic issues, and I'm looking at those underlying data issues, to understand them more thoroughly and give myself more opportunity to resolve them before they become problematic.
The next time that's a totally different mindset. And in the context of overcoming struggles, especially pornography, a growth mindset can be an incredibly empowering tool. It means reframing setbacks as stepping stones that you can use to move towards a new way of living. And each time you face a challenge, it's a chance to learn more about yourself, about what.
Is going on for you before you choose pornography and create the skills and the strategies that actually work best for you automatically and habitually. For example, if you encounter a lapse or a moment of weakness, and instead of viewing it as a failure, you see it as an opportunity to gain insight into what led to that moment, You can take that and you can just start asking questions, get really curious.
What are the circumstances? What emotions were you experiencing? Understanding these factors can provide valuable information for developing strategies to prevent similar situations in the future and not just prevent them, but get to a point where your brain stops offering you porn because it knows you're not going to go down that path.
That's one of the fundamentally more awesome things about putting yourself in a position to not use willpower, not be, a forever addict is. You're getting to a place where your brain knows, Oh, I'm not going to go down the path of porn. So I'm not even going to offer that as an option. I'm going to go to other options.
I'm going to go to these newfound habits. I'm going to go to things that are more closely aligned with my values. A growth mindset encourages The Cultivation of Resilience. This is about mental flexibility. It's about bouncing back from setbacks with renewed determination. And it's about a commitment to continued progress.
This acknowledgement that setbacks are a natural part of any journey towards putting pornography behind you is essential because it then means that anything that happens doesn't define your overall progress. It simply is a data point that allows you to resolve what's going on. What the underlying issues are and this perspective, I think, also fosters a sense of agency and control.
It empowers you to take proactive steps towards your goal. It positions you in such a way that it's not just I'm trying to quit this one behavior. It's this is who I am. To nurture a growth mindset, it's important to celebrate those small victories. I was talking to a client the other day, and he had had a pretty significant struggle with pornography over time.
And we're at the very early stages of working together. And he used to view porn three to five times a day, and right now he's not. And he said, I sat there at my computer, and I typed in the names of these women, and instead of hitting enter, I just erased it. And I typed in another one and instead of hitting enter, I erased it.
That's a, that's a victory. I, I know that his wife would like him to be further along than that. But the truth is, that is a victory. And being able to celebrate that and understand, Hey, I can see that you're doing the work. I can see that you're being mindful. You're staying centered. You're maybe at a point where, Hey, this, this is difficult.
But you're creating small victories. And by adopting this... You're not only building resilience, but you're also opening yourself up to a world of possibility for development and positive change. So let's next dive into the step of seeking support and more specifically the value of working with someone who has the knowledge and experience to guide you when you're facing challenges like.
a struggle with pornography, it's incredibly beneficial to seek support from someone who has not only got the expertise, but it's also walked a similar path and done the necessary work. Having a coach who specializes in overcoming pornography for, the last time, putting you in a position to make that stop brings a wealth of knowledge and tools to the table.
That person, I personally, I've studied and I've trained and I've extensively put in the work. to deal with my own pornography struggle and the skills and the tailored strategies that you need to overcome it. Those are things that I can share with you that expertise that can be instrumental in helping you navigate through the complexities of this struggle.
It's interesting because I have, I've talked to probably a thousand people over the last five years, like physically had conversations with a thousand people over the last five years on. Putting pornography behind them, doing the work. I know for me, if I'm looking to find someone to mentor me, let's say I'm looking for a business mentor, am I gonna when I was an insurance agent, I can tell you exactly who I called.
I called the most successful agent I knew, personally. And I said, hey, will you help me understand this? Will you teach me what it is that I need to do to resolve and be better and... Make my agency run well, that's the person that I went to, I didn't go to a professor of insurance at the local college, I didn't call Harvard and say, hey, who do you know that has an insurance degree, I called somebody who I had, who had made payroll, who had successfully sold policies, who had actually put in the work and done it.
What it was that needed to be done to create a successful business. That's the person I would want to work with regardless of what's going on. If you're talking about porn, if you're talking about weight loss, if you're talking about business, it doesn't really matter. I think the most important person that you can have on your team is someone who's walked the path.
And then, work with them. Put that into your repertoire so that you don't get stuck. I mean, working with someone who has the knowledge and experience can fast track your progress. If you... They can help you avoid common pitfalls. They provide personalized strategies and offer a level of support that's informed by a deep understanding of what's going on for you because they've been there.
I know that when Darcy talks to wives, I can't tell you how many times they talk to her and they're like, Holy cow, you've literally just changed my whole Mindset around this in a one hour conversation, I can't believe how helpful that was because she's been there. She knows what these women are going through.
She knows exactly where they've been. She knows why they're there. She has walked that path and the same is going on for me with pornography. Those who struggle with pornography, people who want to solve this problem, they look for the person who has the most expertise. Like for instance, if you wanted to start an electric car company and you had Elon Musk's phone number, Wouldn't you call him?
I mean, would, let's just say for the sake of argument that he, you knew he would be okay with it and you knew he would want to share his information with you and frankly, I think he basically does. I, I think all of his stuff that he does and that Tesla does is like free. They don't patent it and make it so you can't use it.
They literally just offer for free because they want people to have good stuff. If you could call Elon Musk and say, Hey, can you help me do this? Wouldn't you? Thank you. Of course you would. I certainly would. That's the difference. If I could call Steve Jobs, I certainly would call that guy. I'm probably beating a dead horse, but...
Point is, the goal here is... to seek the support of someone who's been there. If you're calling somebody who hasn't been there or who isn't using evidence based approaches, meaning they haven't been proven out through the process of research, then you may want to think about finding somebody who is using those tools.
And the truth is there are very few. People out there who are partly because they just haven't been trained on them. They don't know because they don't know because they didn't do the work themselves personally. They're just using basic principles of either coaching or therapy or something that they learned might work.
Maybe it worked in a different area, but it may not work for you around pornography. So just be aware of that. Be clear about that. And put yourself in a position to succeed by finding somebody who has actually succeeded themselves. I think that's a huge difference. Really in applying the art of Acquiescence, as it's called in the book, the obstacles of is the way, the goal here is to position yourself.
In a place where you can actually deal with the problem, greater awareness, greater acceptance, mindfully addressing the issues, having a growth mindset, and then seeking the support that's effective, that's going to actually resolve the struggle. Those are the things that you really need to be thinking about.
If you aren't thinking about those things, then you may want to just take a moment, re evaluate the process that you're using. If the process that you're using hasn't resolve the problem and you don't know what to do next. Give me a call, set up a free consult, Zach's back for. com slash work with thrive.
I would love to meet with you. All right, my friends, I hope you have a great day. I hope you have a great week and I will talk to you next week.
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