EPISODE 31: Accountability is Awesome

Apr 13, 2020

Artwork for podcast Overcome Pornography: The Self Mastery Podcast

-      The more accountability we take for our experience here – what happens to us, what we create, what we see as external or internal struggles – the more choices we have

o  This is about ownership

o  Ownership creates power and choice

-      This isn’t about what you’re not

o  Come from negative place

o  Not strong enough

o  Not smart enough

o  Not disciplined enough

o  That is all blame and fault finding

o  Blame and fault finding are shame based


-      Here’s the real difficulty, sometimes we judge ourselves for the things that we are taking accountability for

o  Then we look to see how we can deflect that judgement

o  When we beat our self up that often leads to deflecting which doesn’t feel good

o  This goes wrong in the way that people/humans don’t like to be blamed or at fault so then we look to explain away the results in our life

o  She didn’t meet my needs

o  This just showed up on my screen

o  There was a link in my feed

o  That food wasn’t supposed to be in the pantry

-      You try to deflect judgment

-      In the process of deflecting judgement, you relinquish accountability.

-      Here is one of the secrets that I want you to take away from this, You can be accountable without judging. 

-      There are two words that you can eliminate from your vocabulary to help you do this.

-      Should and Shouldn’t.

-      You’re a human, you’re going to make mistakes

-      Saying I should have done this or I shouldn’t have done that

-      I should be more

-      I shouldn’t be so bad

-      I shouldn’t have slipped up

-      Taking should and shouldn’t out of your vocabulary all together will help in this process of taking accountability without judgement.

-      You aren’t perfect, I’m not perfect, no one is.

-      Take accountability without taking blame.

-      Let’s talk about areas where we can take accountability

-      There are three areas

-      Some call it the cognitive triangle –

-      Brooke Castillo calls it the Model

-      – most of us just know it as the things we have control over in our lives -

-      Thoughts, feelings and actions

-      Elder Uchtdorf had a great Instagram post where he was writing on a sheet of paper just a quick reminder, it seems

-      I have control over my: Thoughts, Feelings, Actions.

-      So, 3 questions: Why not always take accountability for these three things?

-      How do I take back accountability for these three things?

-      And why will that help me have greater self mastery?

-      Let’s quick define Actions:

o  Every one of my clients comes to me with one of two problems

o  I’m doing but I can’t stop

o  I want to start doing but I can’t

§ I’m using pornography and I can’t stop

§ I want to stop overeating

§ I want to get more things done

§ I want to stop sleeping in so I can get my exercise in

-      This is all stuff we do or don’t do

-      The question that I always ask when someone comes to me with something like this is “why?”

-      Why can’t you stop doing this?

-      Why can’t you start doing that?

-      Here’s what they tell me

-      “I don’t know”

-      “I’m an addict” or I’m addicted

-      “I’m lazy or undisciplined” – client who is a pilot…told me this

-      I’m just not a morning person

-      Here’s the problem with each of these answers

-      they are completely disempowering. 

-      They sound like they are “aware” – I’m an addict for example – except that tells you nothing about why you aren’t stopping, all it says, to our brains is, You’re broken.

-      There isn’t any accountability in these phrases either, which makes us powerless to change the actions we are describing with them.

-       Either the person is denying accountability or they are shaming themselves for their choices

-      Let me go back to those two questions, why can’t you stop or why cant you start? 

-      The answer is always, because of how you’re feeling. Every time.

-      What I’m doing when I ask my clients these questions is checking to see if they are aware of the emotion that they are feeling when they are doing things they don’t want to or not doing things that that want to.

-      Most of the time, this may not surprise you, especially when you think about the men in your life, they have no idea what their feelings are.

-      As a coach, I help people identify these emotions.

-      Why do we use pornography, because we feel lonely or sad or an urge

-      Why do we overeat? Because we feel nervous or bored

-      Why do we play games on our phones instead of getting our project list done? Because we feel anxious or overwhelmed

-      This is something that I learned in sales a long time ago, emotion creates action

-      So, if I wanted someone to buy, I had to find the emotion that would move them to action.  

-      Every action we take is preceded by emotion, sometimes big sometimes small, but always an emotion.

-      Identifying the emotion that we are feeling before we take action unlocks a window into the why that is driving us.

-      And doing it without judging ourselves is essential to keeping that window open.

-      A lot of us judge our urges, or our feelings and say we “shouldn’t be feeling lonely or I shouldn’t have an urge to look at pornography or I shouldn’t be overwhelmed.

-      Or I should be more committed or I should be past this

-      Doing that just closes us back up and makes understanding and then changing impossible.

-      And this requires real compassion for ourselves.

-      And it also requires what I call wildlife narrator observation of our own brains

-      David Attenborough


-      Being that, let’s call it chill about what is happening let’s you start to figure it out, rather than spend energy on what isn’t, should or shouldn’t be. 

-      From that place you will patiently and kindly see how you are getting where you are

-      That will give you immense leverage, when you are ready to completely change your behavior

-      But knowing, that no one is making you eat the chocolate cake

-      No one is pushing you toward pornography use

-      No one is keeping you from doing your list of projects

-      That your own emotions are driving these actions is essential to breaking free from them

-      And also, understand and recognize that you are doing all kinds of useful action in your life. 

-      And the nice thing is that you get to be accountable for that too.

-      I was discussing pornography use with one of my clients who felt like he was just engulfed in it all the time

-      This is a successful man with a busy home life

-      So we broke it down – I asked how many hours a week do you use?

-      He said on a bad week 3 hours.

-      So I did the math, there are 168 hours in a week. 

-      What percentage of the time was he doing things that weren’t pornography?

-      98.21%.

-      I said, even if you were using pornography 3% of the week you would still being doing great things 97% of the time. 

-      Take accountability for the good things you are doing, because, they more than likely outweigh the things that you aren’t doing

-      Think about what they are – church callings, work accomplishments, things you are getting done –

-      You are probably pretty amazing. Pay attention to that and remember that the things you are not yet achieving don’t define you.

-      Since our feelings create our actions, let’s go ahead and take a look at those as well.

-      It is really common in our society for us to say things like, my boss really upset me today

-      Or my wife made me feel so alone

-      Or my kids are so frustrating

-      Those all sound like they could be true but what I want you to see here is that they are all pointing at an external source of emotion

-      When my clients come to me and talk about their frustrations they often point to people or situations in their lives that they believe are creating those feelings.

-      My next question is always, why do you feel that way?

-      So often, they say, I don’t know

-      Our brains don’t like accountability and dialing into the source of our feelings takes a lot of work. 

-      And when we take accountability it’s really easy to beat yourself up for it.

-      But if we can own our feelings and take accountability for them we will have so many more choices as to how we can choose to feel.

-      So, what is the reason for why we feel the way that we do?

-      It is the way we are thinking

-      The way we think about what is going on in the world around us creates the way we feel about it.

-      The way you feel about your boss, or your kids or your wife all come from what you think about them and what they say

-      So when your wife says to you, I wish we never got married, or I never would have married you if I had known you had this problem

-      Those words don’t affect us

-      What affects us is our thought, I’ve messed everything up or she doesn’t love me or even, I wish we never got married, this is too hard.

-      those are the thoughts that create loneliness.  

-      Just tonight my wife was listening to her playlist and linda Ronstadt came on and I commented how horrible it was so she skipped to the next song which was cher and she sang along, “if I could turn back time, I’d run away from you”

-      and one of the kids said, ‘mom, that’s not nice” and she said, ‘Yeah, I wouldn’t have married papi if I had known his family.”

-      I could have thought, she doesn’t love me or I’m not good enough or I wish she felt differently

-      Partly because I know that is really how my wife feels. 

-      But, my thought is, My wife’s love for me is separate from her feelings about my family

-      Instead of feeling that my wife should behave differently of talk about my family differently

-      Because her words about how she feels don’t make me feel sad or lonely or upset

-      My thoughts about her words create my feelings.

-      If I delegate accountability for my feelings in this situation to my wife, then I have to try and control what she says – which is unlikely to work

-      Or I can recognize that taking accountability for how I feel and choosing my thoughts accordingly I can show up as the husband that I want to be

-      When we genuinely decide to believe, I am accountable for all of my feelings and view those with compassion and patience for ourselves you can open up the ability to feel anything you want to any time you want to feel them.

-      Here another really important thing to remember, you can’t make other people feel differently than they do and their feelings are not your responsibility.

-      Not to say that we can’t be compassionate for others

-      Just means, trying to act in a certain way or say certain things to try and get others to feel a certain way   term.

-      Owning your own emotions doesn’t mean that you ignore other’s feelings out of hand, but it does mean that you can’t manage other peoples’ emotions.

-      Let them own their own emotions and you can approach that with kindness and compassion

-      In our marriage, when I was deep in the addiction cycle and dealing with all the emotions that came along with that from my wife and from myself I often did what my wife wanted because I wanted to minimize negative feelings in our relationship.

-      So If I wanted to go to a movie or shooting, two activities that she doesn’t enjoy I would ask and then if she said no, I wouldn’t go because I didn’t want to make her mad

-      But, at some point, I decided I am going to choose to go do things I want to do even if she might get upset.

-      I always considered her feelings and if I said, ‘I’m going out to go shooting” and she offered a reason that I going might impact her day I would consider it and then sometimes I would choose to go or I might choose to stay

-      But I stopped making those choices based on whether she might be upset and made them based on how I felt about it. 

-      Seems like a small thing but it actually has brought us closer together

-      When we try to manipulate the feelings of others we often end up resentful and frustrated

-      It’s a process of understanding and consideration for yourself and for others, recognizing that you can’t control their feelings.

-      Let’s take a look at the final piece of the puzzle, thoughts.

-      In my coaching practice this is one of the things that I talk about the most.

-      My clients often come to me saying, I know this is just a thought.

-      But what’s often interesting about it is that they know that the thought is optional and they could change to a different thought that might serve them better,

-      But they believe the thought so much and think that it is true to the point that they can’t imagine a different thought taking it’s place.

-      I talked about this a little last week when we talked about a person being addicted. 

-      My client believed that he was an addict and that thought was powerful enough that it was difficult for him to believe that maybe it wasn’t even important to know whether he was an addict or not. Let alone to believe that he might just be using pornography to avoid his feelings.

-      Our thoughts are often so true to us that we can’t see that believing them is holding us back from feeling good and being happy.

-      My wife has been using thought work to adjust her weight and recently she said to me after losing 12 pounds  

-      That for the two years she weighed that much all she could think was how fat she was but now, after having been 12 pounds heavier for a year and then losing that 12 pounds and being back at that weight

-      She told me she has more confidence

-      The number didn’t change, it was the same

-      Her thoughts about the number changed

-      Recognizing that our thoughts are optional and something that you don’t have to believe, even if there is a whole mountain of evidence for it

-      You get to believe whatever you want to

-      You can just choose to believe that you aren’t addicted to pornography

-      You can just choose to believe that you are going to get done everything you want to this week.

-      You can just choose to believe that you are...


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