EPISODE 17: Overcoming pornography requires self confidenceJan 12, 2020
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You are listening to the Self-Mastery Podcast, where we break through barriers holding you back from becoming who you wanna be, whether you're struggling with pornography, overeating, social media addiction, or just wanna get better at succeeding at life. This podcast is for you. Now, your host, Zach Spafford
welcome to another Mastery Monday on the Self-Mastery Podcast. I'm your host, Zach Spafford. So this week, I was having a conversation with one of my clients. I was actually coaching one of my clients, and the conversation came around to self-confidence and it occurred to me, and it's occurred to me a number of times in the past, that self-confidence is one of the key items that we deal with.
That pornography users specifically deal with when it comes to overcoming their difficulties. And the reason why is users of pornography in general, we tend to have missing some key components in terms of self-confidence and we need to. Regain those to really, not just get away from pornography, but stop wanting to have pornography in our lives.
So today we're gonna talk about self-confidence. What exactly is it and how you can have more of it in your life. So as I was having this conversation, as I was coaching my client, the thought that he had come up with the thought that was really driving some of his actions was, what am I doing wrong? And as we talked about it, this was a very interesting thought because on the one hand he could easily point out, okay, yeah, I didn't necessarily do something wrong.
But on the other hand, he was dealing with this very prevalent feeling and prevalent thought of, I'm looking for what did I do wrong so that I can fix it so that I can have a better outcome. And I think we all do this to a certain extent. We look into our past and we go, okay, what's wrong?
What's wrong? What's wrong? And as I was talking to him, I was kind of explaining it, right? So your primitive brain essentially is. Out on the Savannah, and it's looking for what's wrong around you. And when I say it's looking for what's wrong around you, I'm talking about, it's trying to figure out, okay, am I gonna get eaten by a lion or am I just gonna be able to gather the berries that I've got here?
And when we let our primitive brain run our day-to-day, that self-confidence begins to erode because. It's looking only for what's wrong, and it's not saying, okay I'm choosing to be a good person. I have a higher moral compass. I'm doing all of the things that are going to not simply make me safe from the lions, but really build a life that I'm gonna love and build the life that is gonna bring me satisfaction and joy.
And one of the things that we deal with as pornography users is that oftentimes we break our word to ourself. And that begins to erode that self-confidence, right? It begins to really reinforce the idea that something is always wrong and that in and of itself might not be an issue. But really what that begins to do and what that does over a long period of time is it begins to feel, to make you feel like you are incapable of being the person you want to be.
And what I mean by that is when I can't. Act in the way that I believe is right when I am, for whatever reason, choosing something that's contrary to my moral compass so regularly, then I begin to have this overarching history that proves somehow in our minds that we are bad or that we're an addict or whatever.
And that self-confidence loss, that loss of ability to say, okay, this is what I'm gonna do, and then actually end up doing it. That's the place that we're gonna work on today. So let's talk about the definition of self-confidence. Self-confidence is being secure in yourself and in your abilities.
And over overall of that, it's your ability to trust yourself, knowing. That you can experience your emotions, including failure or including sadness or loneliness or whatever feelings coming along without being harmed. And that's our, that's our higher brain controlling the conversa.
Another key component of your self-confidence is your overall opinion of yourself. So let's take a couple minutes and let's go into each of these. So number one, the first one, let's talk about your ability to trust yourself. This comes down to knowing you will do what you say you will do, right? You will follow through on your plan.
You'll take care of yourself. You'll do the responsible and useful thing for yourself, even when you don't feel like it. So this is very different from saying you'll do something and then hoping you follow through. , right? Hoping that you'll follow through. That's not being committed to something that's not self-confidence.
That actually leaves room for doubt, which is the opposite of self-confidence, right? If you can't count on yourself, which pornography users, we find that we can't seem to count on ourselves, and so we, in the end, we feel insecure and like my friend and client who was saying, okay, what am I doing wrong? , we feel like we are not in charge.
We're not in control, and we start to lose the ability and the choice to feel confident in our actions. So let me give you an example of this. So if I say to myself, I'm going to visit these six websites and only these six websites, and then I don't follow through on that. In a given day, maybe I visited one extra website, maybe I visited two extra websites.
I begin to lose my trust in what I'm telling myself, right? And this is where pornography users go wrong. We go, I can't even trust what I tell myself I'm gonna do. I can't even go and say these are the only websites I'm gonna visit and only visit those websites. I can't follow my rules for me.
And that's a really tough thing when you're trying to overcome a, an issue like pornography use, because you have to, at some point, you have to become capable of choosing and following in with that, following through with that choice. , consistent follow through on your word to yourself is a key component of self-confidence, and that's one of the things that I teach my clients is, set up what you're gonna do, in the next 24 hours and do that and do only that in terms of going to certain websites, right?
And use that as a learning process so that you can adjust and begin to. Learn to trust what you say you're gonna do, right? So today I visited one extra website. It was a website that maybe wasn't harmful, but it wasn't on my list. And so I'm gonna go back, I'm gonna readjust my list, I'm gonna look at my list, and it's gonna be something that I choose to do ahead of time so that I know I can trust what I'm gonna do.
And if it's not on the list, no matter what, I'm not going to go visit that website. And until I get to that place in my mind where I can actually say that and then do it, I'm not ready for that particular component of self-confidence yet. So the next thing is knowing that you can experience any emotion.
So what's the worst thing that can happen to you? And this is something that I teach my clients. This is something that. I learned from my friend Jody Moore, and it's also something that they teach at the Life Coach School that I attend with Brooke Castillo. And that is the worst thing that can happen to you is your emotions.
And your emotions are created by your thoughts. And so if you know that the very, very worst thing that can happen to you is your emotions. Because what makes our lives bad it's really just our feeling bad When something bad happens, right? Or when we choose to think something bad has happened, then we feel bad.
That's. That's really the worst thing that happens in life. And so many people will say no death's bad. Well, I mean, I think that's arguable because there are certain people who welcome death because they may have spent a long time struggling with cancer. And so for them, they may be ready to go home.
So the difference between those two scenarios or difference between the scenario of someone saying death is a bad thing, and someone saying death is a good thing, is really just what they think about it, right? And so if you take that back and you say, okay. There's no emotion that will permanently harm you if feel it all the way through and you choose to say, this is the emotion that I'm dealing with and not shy away from it, and not try to buffer it away and not try to suppress it.
Then when you're willing to experience any emotion and we know that's the absolute worst thing that can happen to you, then all of a sudden you'll be flooded with this self-confidence you'll be able to say. , I can handle anything, right? Because if you can handle feeling bad, which is almost always the worst thing that's happening to us, then you can handle anything.
And for pornography users, this is one of those major issues that, that we deal with because we are constantly suppressing our feelings. We're constantly suppressing the negative. Feelings that come our way. Loneliness, boredom, sadness. For me, as a pornography user, it was almost always sadness and loneliness that brought me to pornography use because, , like when my wife would travel and, away with the kids, she was gone for extended periods of time, visiting family, that sort of thing.
I would feel desperately lonely. And that was one of the times that, brought me to my knees in terms of pornography use and in terms of my desire to say, okay, I wanna move past this. And so as a, as a pornography user or really as anyone in the in life, if you can choose to just feel. Sad and lonely.
Instead of trying to suppress it or trying to avoid it by doing something else and just say, oh, this is what sadness feels like, and feel that sadness all the way through, or that loneliness all the way through. Then you'll have command of the rest of your life because then nothing else that comes at you will bring you to a place where you're saying, I can't not choose the next step.
because for pornography users, it's okay. I feel sad, I feel lonely. The next step that my brain usually presents me is an option to avoid that feeling, right? When you feel arousal or when you feel the little dopamine hits that come from playing video games and all of that's what your brain's doing when it says, Hey, I don't wanna, I don't wanna feel sad or lonely.
I want to avoid that, and I want to get a little bit of a high right now, even though that might cost me in the long run. So number three on this list of things is what you think of yourself and what you think of yourself is what generates or depletes your self-confidence. So if you think about it, confidence is a feeling and self-confidence is a feeling about you.
It's what you're making you feel about you and all our feelings. Are gonna come from our thinking, right? We've talked about this. So the way we think about ourselves will determine whether we feel confident. A self-confident person is going to think they're good, and they're gonna think they're capable, and they're gonna think they're worthy, and they're going to think they're strong and competent.
Now, let's take this, take a step back here for a second. We know lots of people that we wouldn't categorize as strong or confident or worthy, but they think they are. In fact, we might sometimes call those people arrogant or whatever, right? And we judge them differently than they would judge themselves.
The point, my, the point I'm making here is you don't have to prove to anyone or anything that you are capable or worthy or strong or interesting or whatever it is. Do whatever emotions you want to feel about yourself to give you that self-confidence. . You just have to think the thoughts that provide those feelings.
There's no requirement of proof here that I am X. It's just what you think and that is what it requires to have good feelings, right? Because your thoughts generate your feelings. So for my clients, one of the things that I ask them is, are you doing what you tell yourself you're going to do?
are you being the person you tell yourself and others that you're going to be? And that's a tough question because a lot of times, especially as a pornography user, we are not. We're not being the person that we say we're gonna be. We're not, we're really leading a duplicitous life. We show one face outwardly and we act another way inwardly, and that erodes our self-confidence.
And over time can be a real detriment to overcoming pornography use because it's not just, About stopping the behavior. It's about feeling good and feeling the feelings that are coming without having to avoid them or to suppress them. And when you do what you tell yourself you're going to do, you're going to still feel bad about half the time, but you're at least going to be confident in your decision making and confident in who you're choosing to be.
So that's self-confidence. And I want to thank Brooke Castillo for teaching me this concept and for giving me a great deal of the material here so that I could bring that to you because I know this is important for pornography users. I know it's important for everyone who is looking to overcome something like this.
You've got to be able to choose self-confidence, and to do that, you've got to start by doing what you say you're going to do. For you and start small and it's not something you can just like, oh, I'm gonna do it today. This is actually something you have to practice, work hard at, and build like a muscle.
And over time. You'll become more self-confident and you'll begin to do more of the things that you say you will do. And by the way, this isn't some theoretical mumbo jumbo that I'm just coming up with here. This is exactly how it happened for me when I started to stop using pornography, when I started to actually become free from this addictive behavior in my life.
I. started small and every time I had a victory, I was able to claim I felt like a million bucks. And the first step in claiming those victories is setting out small things that you can choose to do that you know you can accomplish, and doing them. One of the first places where I had that victory was when I started to say, okay, I'm just gonna feel this feeling.
I'm just gonna watch this urge. I'm just gonna observe it and I'm not gonna do anything about it. And over time I got more and more capable of just doing that, watching that urge to view pornography, strengthening that skill of doing what I say I'm gonna do, and eventually, I didn't have to sit there and watch it for very long.
It would just dissipate over a few seconds rather than, minutes and minutes of me trying to fight this thing, or hours or days where I was, suppressing the urge. That was when I knew I was onto something. That was when I knew I was turning the corner, is I was starting to be capable and I was starting to have self-confidence, just like you can.
Hey everybody, this is always amazing. It's another beautiful Mastery Monday. We have had some amazing snow here in Wisconsin. I have been getting over the flu. In fact, I. Have probably spent more time in bed this week than out of bed, so I'm really glad that I'm able to bring this podcast to you, even though it's been an extraordinarily snowy, cold, tiring week.
All right, everybody. I love you. Thank you so much for listening. We'll talk to you next week. Hey, thanks for listening to the Self Mastery Podcast. Every day I get requests from people who are looking to change something in their life. If that is you, if you need help overcoming your addictive behavior like pornography use, sign up for a free mini session at zachspafford.com/workwithme.
That's zachspafford.com/workwithme. I'll put a link in show notes for you to follow. Also, it would mean the world to me if you were to leave a review for us. Wherever you get your podcast, it'll go a long way to helping others find us. Thanks again.
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