This week, I’m bringing you a super special episode that you’re going to get so much out of. I’m introducing you to two members of my Overcome Pornography for Good team, Kat and Tina. They’re both amazing coaches with a wealth of knowledge on what it takes for true change to happen, and they’re here to share their insights.
Kat and Tina are amazing pillars of support inside our community who both ensure you get what you need on your journey. They’ve been coaching and helping my clients change their lives, and today, they have 6 key lessons that they want you to know when it comes to overcoming pornography.
Join us as we dive into the top things they coach on and 6 things you really need to know as you work on changing your unwanted porn use. We’re discussing the importance of examining your limiting beliefs, how to start listening to your body, and why tuning into gratitude and celebration is more crucial than you might think.
You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 65, six key lessons with Kat and Tina.
Welcome to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast, the show that will teach you how to stop viewing pornography and never go back to it. If you want to learn how to train your brain out of a pornography habit, completely shame-free, then this is the show for you. I’m your host Sara Brewer, a certified life and faith-based coach.
Hey, everyone, welcome to the podcast episode this week. I am excited to share this interview with you. This last week I interviewed Kat and Tina, they are members of my team in Overcome Pornography For Good. They work as coaches, you'll hear me introduce them here in a moment. And they are here to share six key lessons for those of you who want to overcome pornography for good. Six big things that they coach on, six big things that they want everyone who's quitting pornography to know.
So enjoy this interview. But before we hop into the interview with them, I wanted to thank you. Thank all of you who have been leaving me reviews on Apple Podcasts, thank you so much. I read all of them and I just really, really appreciate it and love it and I want to share one of those with you that was recently left here on the podcast.
It says, “Worth every minute of your time. I have tried many things in the past self-help books, counseling, addiction recovery programs, nothing seemed to make a difference long term. Once I started trying to follow Sara’s steps: looking for the root feelings, changing the way I think about myself and about pornography, and not shaming myself every time I slipped, I have felt better about myself and have hope like I haven't known in over 20 years. And best of all, these ideas and techniques work for so much more than just pornography.”
And there's another one here. It says, “I've listened to podcasts in the past about overcoming pornography, but always felt like I was being talked down to. Sara has an amazing gift of sharing her passion for self-help in a way that makes the listener feel unashamed and worthy of help. I can't recommend this podcast enough if you are currently struggling.”
Yeah, thank you so much. And there's a handful of other ones here that I could read, and maybe we'll get to them in other podcast episodes. But thank you so much. If you haven't left a review and you're feeling inspired to do so, it's really simple. You just scroll down to the bottom of your podcast app, and you type it in, and push submit. They make it really easy for you. And, you know, I really appreciate it over here.
And if you are loving the podcast, getting a lot of value, making changes, but you need more help, you're ready for the next step, I want to invite you to come and join the program. That's where we take everything in the podcast, and we apply it, and we use it to transform. And you get all this one-on-one help, private help, coaching help so we can take these things that we're learning and take them to the next level and apply them.
And so you'll hear from Kat and Tina today, they’re coaches that you would be working with in the program alongside with me. So when you join the program, you get weekly live coaching calls with me every single week, and then any supportive coaching. You know, sometimes they come in and do coaching calls occasionally or do workshops, do one-on-one help, answer some questions. There's just a lot of support.
Anyways, you'll hear me talk about this here in the interview in just a moment. But if you're interested, if you're ready to sign up, you can go to sarabrewer.com/workwithme. And enjoy this interview with Kat and Tina.
Sara: Hey, you guys, welcome to the podcast this week. I am so excited, this week I get to introduce you to Kat and Tina. They are here, they are coaches in Overcome Pornography For Good. And they do a number of things in the program between coaching one-on-one clients, group calls occasionally, workshops, answering questions. Having them on the team really allows us to give you as much support as you could possibly need or ever want in the program, right?
We offer lifetime coaching, we offer lifetime access to an Ask A Coach coaching board, we offer lots of private coaching opportunities. And they're here in the program to help me do that. And they're just awesome, amazing, amazing, amazing coaches. I take my interview process very seriously and I took a lot of time to find people that I thought would be a good fit.
They have the same certifications that I do. We're going through some certification together. We do weekly trainings together where we talk about things and I teach them my process and, you know, they're just awesome. They're so awesome, we're so lucky to have them and I'm really excited for you to hear from them and listen to them today.
So, Kat, Tina, do you, well let's start with Kat, do you want to introduce yourself?
Kat: Sure, my name is Kat Jenkins, I have been working for Sarah for about five months now and it has just been such a blessing in my life. And I just love chatting with all of our clients that we have here in the program. And it's just made me have so much more love for people in general. Something that I did not expect to happen, I think, was the overwhelming amount of love that I have for everyone in the program.
And not only there, but like I find it like in my life as well. And so I just love working for Sarah. It's just been such a pleasure.
Sarah: Cool, thank you. Yeah, thank you. Kat works with a number of one-on-one clients, and they love her, and she's just the best. So Tina, do you want to introduce yourself?
Tina: Yeah, so I've been working for Sarah since last summer, I haven't counted the months. I don't know how many months that is, but it's been since last summer. And I remember, I think it was after I had been with you for a couple of months, Sarah, and we were emailing back and forth and I said something like, do you ever feel like this is just a sacred space that we're working in? And you were like, yes. And that's exactly how it feels.
I think Kat was saying the same thing, it’s that we feel so privileged to be able to help people in such an intimate and difficult, with something that is so difficult for them. And helping them get to where they want to be in their lives where they feel so stuck and so shameful, and help them move past that into a place where they have more love and compassion for themselves. And get to just kind of spread that around the world. I think it's wonderful.
Sarah: Yeah, that's something common that we talk about, is we feel so honored to get to work with the people that we work with. And it's kind of, I don't know, sometimes the quit porn world is really intense and really, you know, lay down the law type stuff.
And we just, like we look at everyone who is in the program, we look at our clients and we're like, these people are amazing. They are amazing. They're doing really great things. They have really great desires, and look how strong they are. And we're so blessed and lucky to get to be a part of this process with them. I think we all feel that a little.
So much so I have right here on my, what you're saying is reminding me of my sticky note that I keep here on my desk. It says dignity, dignity, and love. And just ever since I started coaching, and I think this is something like a culture we've started to cultivate here is just dignity. It's just been the word that's always come to me.
Thinking about myself, and then thinking about my program, and thinking about all the clients, and thinking about all the work that we do here is just dignity and love. There is so much dignity that we need too, that is here and that we can access and that we can embody.
Sarah: Okay, so I'm going to have Kat and Tina, we're going to talk about the biggest things that they want you all to know. They want listeners to know about quitting porn, some key takeaway, some key lessons, some of the most important things that they've learned.
So you're going to get a lot of good stuff in kind of a short amount of time. So listen up. And we'll start with, Kat, we'll have you share yours. And we'll hop in and discuss. And Tina, you can add anything. And then, Tina, we’ll have you share yours and we'll dance back and forth a little bit.
So, Kat, first thing for you on your list. What is it?
Kat: The first thing that I want to share is that, and it's this thing that keeps coming up for me and I’m finding it everywhere in my life. And I just think it is so pertinent, is that it's never a bad time to course correct. A lot of thoughts that I hear and a lot of things that I hear from our clients here is like, I just messed up today, so it doesn't matter. It's too late. This day is shot, so I guess I'll start again tomorrow.
And all of these times where we feel like we just need to give up for the day because we've already made a mistake, so there's no way to turn back. And I just want everybody to know that it's never a bad time. It's never a bad time to stop and say, I'm going to start doing something different right now, in this moment.
I just finished a book and one of the things that he said at the end was like, what happens next matters most. Like the moment after something happens is the thing that matters more than what we did in that moment.
So when we make a mistake, or we slip up, or we have a relapse, it's never a bad time to say, okay, what am I going to do now? What will I do next? What is my next move? In this next moment what will I do? Instead of, you know, throwing your hands up and saying, well, I already messed up, so I guess I'm just going to keep going down this path.
We can always turn around. We can always course correct and choose a different path.
Sara: Yeah, I love that. That happens, we slip up and we're like, well I ruined the whole day over.
Kat: It’s over.
Sara: It's all over.
Tina: Or we see that happen a lot with like I slipped up once and then that leads to two or three more times over the next day or two, it just leads to a cycle. And so I think that's awesome, Kat, that it's never too late to course correct, to just make a different choice.
Sara: Yeah, if we're not careful we get into the bingeing, like okay, well, I'm going to wait until Monday to start again. When really that's just our brain that’s lying to us. Truly, the more we look at porn, the more we want porn. And so thinking, okay, let me just get it all out of my system right now,
it isn't actually, getting it out of your system isn't actually helping you to quit porn.
Cool, I love it. Thank you. Okay, Tina.
Tina: Mine is pretty similar to Kat’s, I think. My first one is talk to your brain more than you listen to your brain. Because say you did slip up once your brain is going to give you all those thoughts that we just went through, right? And plus more probably. And it's going to tell you all sorts of things like you're never going to overcome this, you aren't worthy. It's going to tell you all the shameful things that keep you stuck where you are.
But our brains are so, they're kind of like toddlers running around the house with a knife. You don't let a toddler run around the house with a knife, they just do a lot of damage. And so when we direct our brains more than we listen to them and let them go unsupervised, we can think thoughts on purpose that will take us to a different place.
And if you look at the model, it all kind of stems and just flows right from the thought. So those thoughts are really important that we choose to think and that we choose to tell ourselves. And doing it on purpose is really important.
Sara: Yeah, I think I said that in an episode last week or a couple weeks ago, that we don't give ourselves much credit for what we can change and the thoughts we can change. Sometimes we think, well, I just am having these thoughts, sorry. They're just happening.
Tina: Well, and realizing that it's just your brain that's giving you thoughts. And we have these tasks that pop into our brain, and we make them me and all sorts of things. We live in such a cognitive society, that we live so much in our heads that we have these thoughts that pop into our brain, and we think that they're true.
Sara: And I love that visual of the toddler with a knife.
Tina: Like you don't let your two year old get butcher knives and run around the house, you just don't do that. But we do the equivalent of that with our brain so often.
Sara: Yeah, we just let them go crazy and think all these things and we just let them, and we just believe them. Do you have an example, Tina, of what that might look like? Like what it looks like to let a toddler run around with a knife in your brain?
Tina: Yeah, I think the perfect example is that I slipped up once and now, oh, I might as well get it out of my system. Or I might as well just, like this day is shot I might as well just do it again. Or I really want it and so that means there's just something wrong with me, you know? So apparently I'm broken.
You know, things like that, when we believe thoughts like that it's the equivalent of letting a toddler run around the house with knife.
Sara: Yeah, yeah. And even all the shame spirals is what I’m hearing you say too, what's wrong with me? I'm such an idiot. Stab, stab, stab.
Tina: Just doing lots of damage.
Sara: Yeah. How do we get rid of that? How do we stop that toddler?
Tina: Yeah, we need to do more intentional thoughts in our everyday practice. So, you know, looking at the model every day, doing some type of morning or daily practice every day I think is really important. Whether it's a model, or whether it's meditation, or some breathing exercises. But just to give ourselves a little bit of space to set intentions for the day. And be very careful about the thoughts that we entertain in our brain and questioning them.
There's three questions that I like to run thoughts through with my clients when they give me thoughts that I think are like, you know, that toddler stabbing. And it's, is it true? And if it's true, it has to be true 100% of the time, not just sometimes. But is this thought true? The next one, is it kind? Which often our thoughts are not kind to ourselves. And three, is it helpful?
And so if it can't pass those three questions, then it's probably not a thought we need to keep entertaining. And we just need to like dismiss it. Maybe this isn't true, maybe something else is true. What can I think instead? How can I move towards believing something else?
Sara: Yeah. And I love that, I love that distinction too between is it helpful? Because even if, let's say it's technically true, or it feels really true to you and you can't convince yourself it's not, you still don't have to think it. You don't have to let your brain run wild with it if it's not helpful, even if it's true.
Tina: Well, and the is it kind. And so often we think we have to beat ourselves up to stop doing something like porn, or any other buffer that we might have. Or like I just have to be so hard on myself to like discipline myself into being better, but that doesn't work.
Sara: Okay, Kat, what’s your second one?
Kat: So my second one is we talk a lot about the model, and we talk a lot about being intentional with our thoughts, which is all amazing. But sometimes there's these thoughts that we just keep trying to like swap and change, but like it's not like really working for us. And that's when I think we need to start really being on the lookout for these beliefs that we have. Like our limiting beliefs that are there and that we just believe are true, so we just keep believing them.
And we keep swapping out thoughts, and changing our thoughts, and trying to be intentional, but nothing seems to change. And that's when we really need to challenge what we really believe about ourselves.
I have a story about this. So I got this pillow, and I went and like they did a stress test on me. And they told me, this is your pillow. And I believed it, I was like this is my pillow and it will be my pillow. And I need this pillow to sleep. I can't sleep without any other pillow. Like I loved this pillow. My husband would steal it from me and hide it sometimes just to see what I would do, and I'd be like, “Where's my pillow? I can't sleep without my pillow.”
And I got to a point where I couldn't take it everywhere with me. I couldn't take it on trips. It was really heavy, it's a really heavy pillow, it takes up a lot of space in my luggage. And one time I forgot it at my sister's house, and I died for two weeks before I got my pillow back because I had this belief that I could not sleep without this pillow. And so I always come back to this when we talk about limiting beliefs and the things that hold us back because I now believe that I do not need this pillow to sleep.
I can sleep without this pillow. I can sleep on any pillow. I used to leave the house and be like, “I will not sleep for three days while we're on vacation because I don't have my pillow.” And I didn't have to change this thought that I love my pillow, because I still do. I love this pillow, always. But I now believe that I can sleep on other pillows and it's totally fine. I am okay to sleep on other pillows, not a problem.
And we just went on vacation for spring break, I didn't take my pillow with me, I slept just fine. Life is so different now that I've let go of this belief that I had that I can't live without this pillow. Like that was my belief, that I could not live without it. And once I dropped that, I still could believe that I love this pillow because I do, I love this pillow. But now that I don't believe that it's like the only thing for me, I can sleep anywhere, anytime.
And I think we do this with porn, right? Like we want to believe like, I hate porn or porn is bad. And sometimes we try to swap those thoughts, but when our underlying belief is we don't know who we are without porn, or I don't know who I am without porn, or I can't be somebody or be myself without this because it's so ingrained in who I am. And when we start to really believe that, changing our thoughts about porn won’t help us to stop it.
We will continue to go back to that because that deep-seated limiting belief is that I don't know who I am without it, or I can't be somebody, or I can't be myself without it. And so you just got to leave the pillow at home and be okay to sleep on other things and try out other things in our life and test out other ways.
Sara: Yeah, I love that. One thing I hear from a lot of people is, “Well, this is just a belief. It's a deep limiting belief, so it's just there.” So what do we do? What do we do when we have those, and we don't know how to change them?
Kat: We have to be willing to challenge that. I did not want to give up this pillow because I had this super strong belief. But it was really limiting what I could do. Like it was hindering my life when I left the house, when I went anywhere, when I did stuff. And I finally had to be like, “I can't keep living like this where I can't go anywhere without my pillow, I can't have a life without my pillow.” I finally decided I need to look at other options, like this can't be my only option for myself.
If it's holding you back in a way that you can't progress forward and that it's stifling your sleep, like my health was terrible because I literally would not sleep for days on end when I’d go places because I was like, well, I guess I just won't sleep. But we need those things sometimes, we need to challenge that belief that this is the only way.
It's like that all or nothing, when we get stuck in this is it, this is the only way and be willing to challenge that maybe there is a different way. Maybe I could try something else. Maybe I can open myself up to there being another option here.
Sarah: Yeah, instead of just I'm someone who has to sleep with a special pillow, that's just how I was born.
Kat: That’s who I am. That's it. Yeah, like letting go of that and saying, oh, maybe I'm not someone who has to have this pillow. Maybe I am someone who can sleep on other things and still love who I am before. Like still love that person that was stuck here before but being willing to be like, I can be somebody new.
Tina: Yeah. And there's things that we believe about ourselves that we don't even question, like equivalent to your pillow, like, oh, I'm just a person that overthinks everything. Or I'm just not this kind of person, or I'm just that kind of person. And we just believe those things about ourself, but then don't actually realize that we're making those things come true that we believe about ourselves because we're not recognizing that we can challenge them.
Kat: Yeah, that's just my personality. That's just who I am. I can't change that, I'm stuck here because someone told me that this is who I am. I'm just this way. No, I do love my pillow, but I can let it go.
Tina: Sometimes it's really hard to challenge who you think you are. I think those are some of the hardest things, those things that we've been told about you're such a reactive person, or you create so much drama, or you're so emotional.
Kat: You’re so loud.
Tina: You’re so loud, yeah. Those kind of things can be really hard to challenge, but we get to believe whatever we want about ourselves.
I remember, I think it was Russell Brand, I could be getting it wrong, but I heard him talking about porn once. And he was talking about letting go of porn, but he also equated it to like exercise. He goes I just believed that I'm not a person that exercises, I don't exercise. And then one day I just decided to put on some shoes and go for a run.
And it was more of a walk than run, but then I just thought, hey, I’m a person that exercises. And then all of a sudden I was like, well, I want to exercise more because I'm a person that exercises. So whatever we believe about ourselves, we're just going to make it come true.
Sara: Yeah, and I love how you say you get to choose whatever you want to believe about yourself. There is no one out there that's going to come up to you and say, “No, sorry, you are not someone who can quit porn. You can't think about yourself. You can't think that, you're not allowed.” You totally are allowed. Even if you don't tell anyone what you're thinking about yourself, you can just start to change how you think about yourself, and no one can keep that from you. No one can make you stop that.
Sara: And so true just that we think change is going to happen by changing what we're doing. But true change happens with how we are thinking about ourselves. And then the actions just happen, and the change continues. But it really starts with changing those limiting beliefs. So I love that. Love that point. Would you agree that that's the hard work of coaching?
Sara: That's why we have sessions with people, and we talk about it, and we dive into it. It takes some time sometimes. Sometimes, it doesn't have to. Doesn't have to. Okay, good. Tina, what is your next one?
Tina: So I love working with the body and listening to the wisdom of the body because I think we get so caught up in our heads. We live in this world where we just have these crazy thoughts and these things that just dictate our life by our brains. But I think there's so much wisdom that we lose by not paying attention to our bodies.
And I like to work in this space a lot with my one-on-one clients in that what is your body trying to tell you right now? We have a lot more receptors and nerves that go from the body up to the brain than the brain down to the body. So like when I work with my clients about having an urge, for example, and I ask them, tell me your process for processing an urge. And quite often they will tell me about the thoughts they're having in their brain.
You just got to drop those thoughts and focus on what your body is telling you. It's really important. You're never going to solve a problem that's in your body or something that's going on in your body by using your mind to do that.
So just focusing on the body, listening to its wisdom, and not just with urges for porn, but also like lots of times our bodies are becoming very alert with things that are around us. And we've been doing a lot of this work in our trauma informed certification that we're doing. But looking at like, when am I feeling triggered with something? And paying attention to why that's happening.
Am I feeling disrespected? Am I feeling like this person isn't hearing me right now, and so I'm in this room full of people, but I'm feeling so lonely? Or am I feeling just like so shameful that I can't even connect with the people around me?
Like what is your body trying to tell you? Because your body has a lot of wisdom, and we don't pay attention to it. And our feelings, the things that our body tells us have a lot to teach us about ourselves. And I think it's really important that we pay attention to that.
And I think this almost contradicts what I said in my first one, like talk to yourself more than you listen to yourself. But that's in your brain but I think it is important to listen to your body and what it's trying to tell you because there's a lot of wisdom that we can gain and knowledge we can gain about ourselves by doing that.
Sara: Yeah. Yeah, two different areas, there's your body and your there's your brain. When you talk about listening to your body, what are some of the things that might, I don't know, I can just hear people being like, “What the heck do you mean by listen to your body?”
Tina: Yeah, so look at those times, I think it's the easiest to start when you feel a strong emotion. So think of a strong emotion like anger or sadness, let's just take those two. Those feel very different in your body. So let's just, like anger for me, my face gets really red, and my hands start to shake, and I feel kind of like a vibrating in my chest. And it kind of feels like there's this energy that just wants to explode.
So if I took that energy and I just kind of spewed it all over the people that I'm around because I was feeling angry about something and I didn't pay attention to why I was feeling angry, that could really damage the relationships that I have with people. That would probably be something that I would come back later and say, “Oh, yeah, I shouldn't have done that.” You know, some regret later on.
But paying attention, like why am I feeling angry right now? Checking in with yourself. And we know that it's coming from thoughts that we're having, so just exploring. Like what am I thinking about the situation right now that's causing this anger to come up in me?
And maybe I don't have to spill it out into the world. Maybe I do need to say something after I have processed this feeling of anger in my body, but I don't need to do it from a place of being very triggered. I have to do it from a place of, okay, I’m going to calm my nervous system right now, and then I can access my higher brain to come and address this problem later.
Because when we get really triggered like that, our oxygen to our higher brain is cut off. That's why we do all those things.
Sara: Really? I didn't know that.
Tina: Yeah, it is. We get really triggered in that fight or flight and it cuts off the oxygen to our higher brain. That's why we do so many crazy things when we’re really triggered and we come back later when we're calm and we go, “Oh, I wish I wouldn't have done that.”
Or we get that freeze response where something happens and like I can't even access the thoughts, like I’m totally frozen, I have no idea how to even form words right now. You know, because it cuts off the oxygen to our higher brain. So calming that nervous system, listening to our body, going into our body, and processing those emotions there before we try to go back into the brain is really helpful.
Sara: Yeah, it's probably a practice of asking yourself too, what do I really need in this moment? I'm feeling all these urges or I'm feeling whatever it is, and I want porn, but what is it that I really need? What's really happening here for me? Am I feeling stressed? Am I feeling bored? Am I feeling lonely? Am I feeling shame? Am I feeling all the things and what do I actually need?
Because the porn is just me trying to escape that. But what do I truly need? What's my body telling me I need? And sometimes, sometimes that's to change the way you're thinking about things. Well, actually, I think what I'm hearing you say is when we're listening to our body, we need to start to calm that, and then we can go there into our brain.
Tina: Yeah, it's a lot more helpful to do that, to be able to really figure out okay, what do I need right now? And I can't tell you how many times I've coached people and we’ve found out that they turned to porn when their body really needed something else. Like they really needed sleep, they really needed to connect with something, they really were hungry.
There's just something that their body needed, but they solved it with porn because that was a practiced habit for them and their brain was just saying, “Well, this is how we solve problems, so let's go do that.” But if they'd listen to their body, it would have been solved a different way.
And if we don't give our bodies what it needs, turning to something else, no matter how much we do it, is never going to fulfill that need. We’re never going to get enough of that other thing when it's not really what we need.
Sara: Yeah, it reminds me of intuitive eating.
Tina: Yes, that's what I was thinking of when I thought of this one. I’m like intuitive eating is also listening to your body.
Sara: Yeah, because we're also used to going to the kitchen to get a snack for any discomfort we're feeling in our bodies instead of asking our bodies. What do we really need right now? Do we really need some nutrients? Or do we really need sleep? Or do we really need to get this task done? Or do we really need whatever?
Tina: Absolutely. Yeah, it's not just porn, it's food, it's social media, it's all the buffers, right?
Kat: You talking about the body, it reminded me of when I first realized that I was really trying to be in tune with my emotions and I realized that me being excited and me being scared gave me the same feelings in my body. Like sometimes it's just, and then we’d check in with that, like well, what am I feeling?
Because I remember standing in the dark and somebody scared me, my daughter scared me, and I just realized, wait, this scared feeling is the exact way that I feel when I get excited about stuff. And it just was like this revelation to me of like our body has sensations and feelings, and just noticing what that is.
And it feels the same sometimes, but then saying like, I love that, like well, what does my body need? In a scared moment you probably want to run and in an excited moment you’d want to stay there and feel it more. But it's feels the same in your body sometimes, so to be willing to stop and say, “Well, wait, what is this? What is this that I'm feeling?” I love that.
Sara: That's so fascinating. That's so fascinating because those sensations in your body, like it's so fascinating that those sensations can be exciting, and they can also be scary.
Tina: There's a book that talked about that same thing, and it's called, I think it's called The Upside of Stress. How it talks about the way that we talk to ourselves with the reactions that we have in our body in certain situations determines whether we turn to stress, or we turn to excitement, or motivation. It was a really good book, it was one of my favorites. I think I read that last year.
Sara: Cool, so you can interpret the sensations in your body different ways as we start to become more aware of them and more attuned to them. And so then it stops being like, oh, well, this urge is the most miserable thing in the world. And instead, I don't know, this urge is helping me create the life I want. This urge is helping me create discipline, and that's a really beautiful thing for my life. I’m grateful for this urge instead of I hate this urge so much.
Sara: Cool, I love it. Okay, Kat, what’s your third one?
Kat: Okay, so my third one is we have these brains that always go to the negative automatically. We’re so attuned to looking at what's wrong, or what's gone wrong, or how is this bad? But being willing to celebrate our wins, because I hear a lot of well, I went three weeks and then I messed up.
And so they're always focusing on this, well, I messed up, or I slipped up, or I had this issue. But it's like a lot of what we do as coaches is like, you went three weeks, we need to celebrate the things that we are doing. Instead of just looking at how it's bad, or how it's wrong, or how we didn't do it exactly perfect, or being willing to look and celebrate those wins.
I just started reading the High Five Habit, and like it's by Mel Robbins and she's like, give yourself a high five every morning. And that's such a good way to build trust in you yourself in celebrating who you are. And being willing to be like, I'm doing all right here, I'm doing super good.
And just giving yourself a high five in the morning could be a thing that changes everything for you. Developing that trust in yourself and who you are, and finding ways to look for those wins on a daily basis. Like, well, how did I do well, today? What did I do good in? How am I succeeding in this? Instead of, oh, I messed up again, I'm slipping up again.
Sara: Yeah, I think that people in their minds think, well, I can't celebrate too quickly here. I've got to be really on the lookout, make sure that I'm really doing well before I allow myself to celebrate because I don't want to start celebrating and let my guard down.
But that's not the same thing, that's not what's happening when you're celebrating. You're not letting your guard down.
Tina: No, because the things that you focus on, you're going to create more of.
Sara: Yeah, exactly.
Tina: So if you're focusing on, hey, I've done this for three weeks. This is great, I love this. And it creates a feeling you that then you want to do more of that.
Kat: Instead of I've only done create three urges, or I've only processed six things, or I've only done... You did six urges, how great is that? Now it's going to be so much easier to do the seventh and the eighth, because you have like, exactly, then we create more of that wanting to do more and celebrating more and finding more ways that we can celebrate ourselves and what we're doing.
Tina: And the way that we talk about it, Kat, like you just re-framed it. The way that you talk about what you've done is super important. The language that you use and the direction that you're headed is super important, right? I processed three urges, that is awesome. I’m so proud of myself.
Tina: Instead of, it's only three urges. Well, it's only three.
Sara: I spent so much of my life, especially before I found coaching, in this place of I have to do more, I have to do more, I have to do more. Here's my checklist of things, I'm going to get all these things done today. And I’d beat myself up if I didn't do all of them. And then I would fall into spirals, and I would get depressed, and I would not be able to do anything for a couple of weeks, right?
And it wasn't until I really was so intentional with celebrating little, tiny things that I did and made that a practice of feeling proud of myself and allowing myself to go there. As soon as I started doing that, I started doing more, which is a weird paradox. But it wasn't even for the purpose of doing more so I can feel better about myself. It's I'm feeling good and look, I got up, I showered, I did my makeup, whatever. And then doing more from that place of I am enough. I am good, and we're making progress here.
So, so important, I love that. And I also heard that wins, celebrating wins is the same energy, right? We were just talking about how things feel the same in your body, celebration feels similar to gratitude. And gratitude, we know there's study after study after study of how gratitude just improves your life so much. And so wins are similar, it's being grateful for yourself, and it will create similar results that a life full of gratitude would.
Kat: I love that. Yeah, I have this quote next to my computer that says, “The better you feel, the more likely you will do.” Which is exactly what you were saying, right? The better you feel, the more likely you're going to do and that's just the byproduct of feeling good about yourself and feeling willing to celebrate. And it just creates more actions towards good things and better things. And it's not necessarily our goal, maybe per se, but it is just feeling better will help us do more.
Sara: Yeah. And I think it's important too, when you're thinking of things to celebrate, to maybe go outside the box a little bit if you need to. So instead of, oh, well, I didn't look at porn for three days or six days. What else is here that we can celebrate if that didn't happen? You know, maybe I didn't fall into a binge cycle. Or I didn't watch it again, maybe I viewed it in the morning, but then I didn't watch it again later like I usually do.
Kat: Yeah, I set my phone down for five minutes and just walked away. Like it doesn't have to be huge, it can just be, like you said, the tiniest thing that you did is helping you move in the direction that you want to go.
Sara: Yeah, I noticed that I was buffering this time. I saw what was really going on. And maybe I didn't do anything different this time, but at least I noticed that I was feeling stress. So good. Okay, Tina.
Tina: Okay, my last one is I love to talk about getting space in the model. So if you look at the model, we have our circumstance, thought, feeling, action, result. And it’s a process of going through those models and doing this daily work that we talk about. And then you've come to a point where you start looking, first you start looking at your models like from the afterwards, right? So, oh, this is what happened for me. And then going back and I'm looking at it after the fact.
But then you get to a point where you can start getting some space in the model. Where I see there's a circumstance here and how do I want to think about this? It’s just slowing everything down, like being less reactionary and more responsive. Or I'm feeling something right now, where's this feeling coming from? I'm having this urge, why did I have this urge? And just slowing it down instead of being like, right into that action or the results, right?
Or even in the action line, slowing that down and saying, oh, I notice that I just clicked before I knew it. I clicked and I was watching something. What was happening? Wait a minute, let me take a step back here and see. How did I end up here?
Just to give yourself some space in the middle of the model, I think is really important. And that comes with practice of, first, going back and looking at all those intentional models that played out. Before we even knew it we were circumstance all the way down to the result, and we didn't even realize what happened.
But by going back and looking at those, and thinking about them, and asking yourself questions about them, and coaching on them, then you start to get to the point where okay, I can get some space in my model here. Slow down my response.
Sara: Yeah, I see that with especially a lot of people who are new in the program, just talking about it like it just happened. It just happened, I don't know. I don't know what happened, but it just happened. When I talk about processing urges, stop, drop, and breathe. Sometimes we forget how important that stop step is.
Sara: And you're right, it takes practice. It takes practice but it's so important, such an important part of all of it.
Tina: And even if you do find yourself just like all of a sudden I'm just watching, notice all of a sudden I was just watching. Okay, what happened before that? How was that such an automated response? Maybe I can start by going back after the fact and looking at it, you start to break that automated response.
Sara: Yeah. I've heard, Tina, you'll have to tell me if this sounds correct because I think you know more about our brains and nervous system stuff than I probably do.
Tina: Yeah, I don't promise I'll know the answer, but you can ask.
Sara: How I like to describe it is when we have our habits, our neural pathways, they're just really connected, it’s like superhighways. So when we’ve practiced doing something a lot of times, it's just very fast, pew, pew, pew, pew. Because our brains want to be efficient. They don't necessarily care about what's the best thing for you, they just care about what's the most efficient thing for you.
And so specifically with porn use, if we have a lot of practice doing that, it’s just pew, pew, pew, superhighways, just do it really quickly. And so we have to stop, and we have to interrupt those superhighways, and we have to be okay and learn how to take the back roads and to slow it down. And it might not feel as easy, it might not feel as natural at the beginning, but it can get a lot quicker as we practice new ways of thinking and practice new ways of being.
Tina: Yeah. So what I like to think of it as, is like I used to live in Arizona. I don't live there anymore, but I used to live there. There's the Grand Canyon in Arizona, think about how deep that canyon is and how many, I don't even want to estimate how many years water had to run that same direction to create that deep groove in the earth, right? So many years.
Well, our brains are the same way. We can create these deep grooves in our brains with the pathways, the neural pathways that connect and that we follow all the time. So when water runs through that canyon, it just follows the path of least resistance, and our thoughts will do the same. They'll follow the path of least resistance.
So if you want to divert water to go in a different direction, you have start building a dam. And every time you put a rock on a body of water, a little river, it's going to start going a little bit in a different direction. Just maybe a trickle at first. So it might just be a trickle at first with a couple of rocks, but there's less water going the other way.
So every time you listen to this podcast, or you show up for a coaching call, or you do the ask a coach, or you get into the program, and you watch a video, or a worksheet, or you process an urge, every time you do one of those things, it's like putting another rock on the dam. And every time you do, you're having a little more water go in the direction that you want it to go, and a little less water go in the old direction.
So there will be a point where just naturally more water is going to flow in the direction that you want it to go. And so you're going to create a new way for that water to go, a new way for your thoughts to go. But it takes time, and it takes repeated effort over time.
Kat: How do you think that relates to, “I went on my mission, and I didn't look at all. And then I came back and started looking again and then I was back into it.” How do you think those pathways relate to that? Like going a long stretch of time without, is the neural pathway still there and then it's just been closed for construction for a while and then they open it back up and now it's like a superhighway again? You know what I'm saying? How do you think that it relates to that?
Tina: That's a super good question that I don't really know if I know the answer to.
Sara: I typically talk about Pavlov's dogs. And when Pavlov is training his dogs to stop salivating at the sound of the bell, what he has to do is he has to ring the bell and not give them the treat. But if you just took the dogs and put them in a separate room or stuck them on Hawaii for a couple of years and they didn't hear that bell, when they came back years later, when they hear that bell again they're still going to salivate even if it's been years since they have done that.
And so typically with missionary work, right, you're taking yourself away from a lot of the triggers, from a lot of the opportunity for pornography. And so you haven’t gone through the process of experiencing those triggers and feeling the urge and not giving it to yourself. Instead you’ve just kind of escaped it for a little while. So when you come back, it's okay, that makes sense that there's still that response.
Tina: That does make sense. I know also, that when we can do this retraining and we can do this directing in a new direction, that when we get into times of stress or distress, our bodies want to go back to a very base way of taking care of ourselves. And it might revert back to an old thought pattern, an old neural pathway, and that's what our brains want to do.
So being aware of that in times of stress or distress, that that could happen. And that if it doesn't happen, it doesn't mean that the other one isn’t still there, it just means that this is how your body was trying to take care of you.
Sara: Yeah, and that's why coaching is so important, right? We're never going to get rid of all of the stressors. I loved my missionary experience. I loved it, but I didn't learn how to handle emotions. I learned how to work through emotions and how to push them away. Maybe they're better at teaching that now, I don't know. Maybe it's a part of the stuff.
And so when you come home, and you have similar stressors or even more stressors because you're home and then you have the opportunity. Anyways, it makes sense. It makes sense that people fall into it. It's not like oh, no, I was so good and now I'm the worst. I thought I changed. See, this is evidence that I can't change.
It's not evidence you can't change. It's evidence that we didn't go through the process of bringing down the over desire, and there's also more to learn, and it's fine. It's okay.
Tina: Well, and being back in just a normal environment where you're doing different things and focusing on different things, and back where you do have all the resources available to turn back, like Pavlov's dogs. Like the bell is ringing so you have that available to you again.
Sara: Yeah. And you're in similar environments where you did feel urges before and you gave yourself the dopamine from the porn use, and you're in similar situations. And so it actually makes so much sense.
Tina: And your brain remembers that.
Sara: Yes, yeah. Your brain remembers, it remembers where you are when you got that dopamine, it remembers what you were experiencing, what time of day. It remembers all of that, so when you come back into that environment it makes so much sense.
Like I wish this was a message, and I think I talked about this in a couple episodes. But I wish this was a message I could give a lot of YSA kids and bishops, like it makes sense that we go back to porn after a mission sometimes, and that doesn't mean anything's gone wrong. We can change that, and we can fix that. But we don't need to get into this shame place or this, see, look, I'm never going to change place.
I'm obviously very passionate about that.
Kat: Well, and it doesn't even have to just be the mission, right? It could come up at any time. It's like, how did I end up in the pantry? Because like we were talking about with food, like how did I end up here again? Because it's so trained in our brain to just go there. And so I think that that's so true, like even when you're like, I haven't even had an urge or didn't want to look, and then all of a sudden I was looking. Where did this come from?
And I think it is just like you said, when we're in a situation where we've done it before it’s just like our brain will just automatically go there. So being willing to stop, see that stop, right? Like, stop, wait, what is this? What's going on? It’s so important?
Sara: Slow it down, interrupt it a little bit, not be afraid of what's coming up, be willing to see it. I love it, it's also good. It all connects.
Tina: And just stop and get to know yourself better, you know? Get to know this makes sense that my body is doing this or that my brain is thinking this. Or how can I come to know myself better?
In church yesterday we were talking about, in young woman's class we were talking about who am I and what does God want from me? And I was telling these girls, I'm like, I'm a lot older than you, but I'm still trying to figure out who does God want me to become? It's not something that you have to figure out. You just get to know yourself and who you are as you go through your life.
Tina: And it's always an opening up process. I don't think we ever arrive. I think we're always figuring that out.
Sara: Yeah, and pornography, right, your sexuality is a part of you. And so it's okay to stop and notice it. And to get to know it and to get to know the urges, and to allow yourself to become comfortable and intimate with that part of you. It's not going to hurt you, it's not dangerous.
And in fact, the more we push it away and we think it's dangerous, we think it's going to hurt us, that's when we don't stop. That's when we just go, and we don't take the time to do all these things we've talked about. So I love that, thank you.
Okay, awesome. Anything else you guys want to add before we end?
Kat: I just love that, of course, I'm feeling this way. Being willing to give ourselves that like, of course, I'm feeling this way in this situation. Of course, I did go to that thing, of course. Like being that, I don't know, that person of comfort for ourselves.
Of course I'm right here right now because of these choices that I’ve made in the past, or because I've set up the superhighway to make me react in these ways. Of course I'm doing the things that I'm doing. But now that I recognize it, what do I want to do going forward?
Sara: Yeah, love that. Even, of course, I grew up in a world, we were brand new with the internet. I was one of the first people to have the internet growing up, of course, I went to porn, of course. You can find so much evidence and that doesn't mean we're a victim to it anymore. It actually puts us in a place of power. Now what?
Tina: Yeah. And along those same lines, I love the, of course this is where I am. Just the acceptance and the stop the shaming yourself for being where you are because you can't move forward until you let go of that shame. And that acceptance, like it's okay that I'm right here. It makes sense because this, this, and this lined up in my past, or I made these choices.
So I'm right here, but I'm right here and it's okay. And now I can move forward. But we can't move forward until we can accept where we are. That’s super important.
Sara: Yeah, and now that I've accepted, now I can talk to my brain more than listen to it. Now I can learn all these skills.
Tina: Now I can stop and get a little bit of space and I don't have to react to all the things that my brain tells me to do.
Sara: Yeah, now I can start celebrating more and being proud of myself, create some momentum instead of being stuck in this pit of despair. Is that Princess Bride, pit of despair?
Sara: Cool. Okay, thank you so much for coming on today.
Tina: Thanks for having us today, Sara.
Sara: Yeah, I love you two. I'm so excited for those of you who are in the program that get to interact more with Tina and Kat. They are awesome. So all right, have a great week, we'll talk to you next week.
Kat: Thank you, Sara.
Tina: Thank you.
I want to invite you to come and listen to my free training called How to Quit Viewing Pornography Even if You've Tried in the Past. If you like the podcast, you will love this free training. We talk about, number one, how to not rely on willpower or phone filters so that you can actually stop wanting pornography.
Number two, how to guarantee that you won't fail no matter how many times you've tried in the past. And number three, how to feel good about yourself while becoming someone who doesn't struggle with pornography. You can access this training at sarabrewer.com/masterclass.