Episode 61: Duality: Good AND Bad

Uncategorized Mar 14, 2022

One of the most transformative concepts that I’ve learned and that I teach my clients is the 50-50 of life. It’s the principle that life is always 50% positive and 50% negative, and that when we can accept this reality, we can truly thrive. And this week, I’m taking it a step further by applying this rule to us as individuals. 

The truth is that as humans, we hold the duality of both good AND bad. We didn’t come to Earth to be perfect. We came to experience all of humanity, which inevitably means making mistakes, learning, and overcoming struggles. And yet, I watch my clients take their unwanted porn use and make this habit mean everything about them as a person. 

Listen in this week as I offer how the 50-50 principle can be an incredibly powerful tool when we apply it to ourselves. I’m showing you what happens when we resist this fact, what happens when we can truly allow for our human duality, and I’m also giving you an exercise to practice to help you generate compassion for yourself on this journey. 

I’ve got a brand new free masterclass called How to Overcome Pornography for Good Without Willpower! If this class sounds like something you need, and you have questions you’d like me to address on the call, make sure to click here to join us! 

I have amazing news. If you want to take the work I’m sharing on the podcast deeper, I’m running a masterclass called How to Quit Viewing Pornography Even if You’ve Tried in the Past, and it is 100% free! All you have to do is sign up here and I will see you there. 

What You'll Learn from this Episode: 

  • What happens when we ignore the truth that life is always 50-50.
  • Why we can thrive when we accept that life is both good and bad.
  • How the concept of 50-50 applies to us as individuals. 
  • 2 things that happen when we accept our human duality. 
  • Where people get stuck acknowledging their duality. 


Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • Click here to sign up for my free masterclass called How to Quit Viewing Pornography Even if You’ve Tried in the Past! 
  • 20. 50-50


Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 61, Duality: Good and Bad.

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, you guys, welcome to the podcast episode this week. I'm so glad you're here. This week that I'm recording I'm just finishing up a bunch of these free masterclasses that I've been doing. And they've been really fun and really awesome. I've met a lot of you and just have had a blast and really excited and happy to get these teachings out in so many different ways.

So that's awesome. I'm a little tired. When I do these live classes it takes it out of me a little bit. We'll look at doing some more of those later on this year, a couple more times this year. But that was really fun. If you missed it, you'll have to wait for the next ones later this year.

It's also just been an emotional week. My family dog was put down, so sad. All of the Ukraine and Russia stuff is just starting here as I'm recording this podcast. I just can feel the sadness and just really sad for this whole situation. Just kind of some weird energy happening. But I'm glad to be here. I'm excited to be here.

And with all this sad and hard stuff, there's also some good stuff happening in my life. Decided to go to Disneyland last minute. I literally decided this morning, all right, I'm packing up the kids and taking them to Disneyland with my friend this weekend. We're leaving tomorrow, we decided today and we're leaving tomorrow. So there's good and bad here.

And that's what I want to talk about today in the podcast. That's the topic, is this idea of duality, of good and bad. And we talked about this in a different way when I talked about 50/50. But I want to apply this a little bit different today. And I got this idea because I saw a TikTok, which by the way, I love TikTok. I love TikTok, I think it's so funny.

Anyways, I saw this TikTok of this guy who was talking about Bob Ross, who I love. But this guy was saying the problem with humans is that we have a really difficult time seeing that people are good and bad. And instead we just believe there are bad people and there are good people.

And so he specifically was talking about Bob Ross because it had come out and, I don't know, there were a couple TikTokers talking about how Bob Ross had had an affair and how that was really difficult for people.

And what this TikToker was saying was like, yeah, with the internet it's hard for us, all of our childhood heroes we're learning, you know, we just get a lot of information about people's history. And it's hard to reconcile and see that people are both good and bad and it's not as black and white as we once thought it was.

As you grow and you get older, you step out of black and white thinking typically. And you recognize things are a little bit more gray and colorful in a lot of areas in life. And if you've ever heard that phrase, never meet your heroes, never meet your heroes because it'll ruin it for you. Just kind of the similar idea that people are good and bad and sometimes that's hard for us to reconcile.

And, I mean, you don't have to go far, you don't have to look at very many people to realize that, yeah, people are good and bad. You can see into their history or into their futures, there are great and amazing things we get from people. And then there are also some bad or some mistakes that people make in their life. And there's both. There's both, there's this duality.

And I want to make sure as I say that, that you understand that I am not justifying or using this as an excuse for people to justify any bad actions. That's something harmful I think we hear is, yeah, they did this thing in the past, but they shouldn't be held accountable to it now because they're really great people and they're doing these great things. Which just isn't true, people should be held accountable for their bad actions.

But this is a truth that can be a really powerful tool when we start to apply it to ourselves, especially when we're trying to quit viewing pornography. So we are both good and bad, similar as that topic 50/50 that I've talked about on the podcast before. Where life is 50/50.

Life is 50% positive and 50% negative. Life is good and bad, always. Always. And suffering happens when we ignore that truth or we try to resist that truth. When we say, no, life should be better than 50/50. Life should be 80% happy, 20% negative.

All that does is create resistance and create more negativity because we're trying to be happier than is really realistic. And a lot of the problems we have in our life is because we're trying to make things happier instead of just being able to accept that life is 50% negative, and that's okay. And we can thrive there.

And life is supposed to have problems, it's not supposed to be happy all the time. We're not supposed to be happy all the time. And so many of us are trying to hurry up to the next phase of our life because we're like, “As soon as I get to this next phase, I'm going to be happier. As soon as I graduate college, I'll be happier.”

And then you graduate college, and you're like, “Oh man, as soon as I get a house I'll be happier.” And then you get a house and you’re like, “Oh, as soon as I have a baby I'll be happier.” And then you have a baby, and it goes on and on and on and on.

And what we don't realize, recognize is that every single phase of life is 50/50, has positive and negative to it and that will never go away. No matter how much money you have, no matter what your job is, no matter how much success you have, it's always, always 50/50.

And when we can accept that about our lives, it allows us to drop the resistance and truly live and truly have the human experience of the good and the bad. But applying this a little bit deeper today, this also applies to us as individuals. Not only is our experience 50/50, but we as individuals, we have both good and bad.

And the fact that you have bad and that maybe you've made mistakes, or that you have some negative things about you does not mean that you're doing life wrong. If that was true, everyone, everyone would be doing life wrong. There's not one person who would be doing it right. We didn't come here to always be good, we came here to experience all of humanity, which also means experiencing doing things wrong.

Allowing this duality to exist in your life, there are two main things that it does for you that I want to talk about. The first is that it allows you to be honest. And the second is it allows you to drop shame and self-pity so you can make real changes.

So, first, allowing this duality, this good and bad to exist and recognizing it allows you to be honest. It allows you to be honest with yourself about the bad. And as you're honest, you can actually change. You cannot change if you're not being honest about what needs to change.

And this is what I think happens with a lot of people is they think I'm either good or bad. And so if I admit my mistakes, that makes me a bad person. Or I can admit my mistakes to a certain degree, but if I admit that my mistakes are more than that, it makes me a bad person.

This is what we saw a lot with the Black Lives Matter movement. And as a white person really coming to terms that I have racist tendencies, and I've seen so many people talk about that and how important that is. But so many people who are white and haven't experienced racism to this level that our BIPOC neighbors have, it's hard to admit that because you have to admit that there's a part of you that is bad.

And so you'll hear people apologize for things but not fully apologizing, or fully taking responsibility for the extent of the damage that they've caused through their racist behavior. Because it's hard to admit, “Oh no, I do have this bad part of me.” So it's like this idea that I'm either good or bad. And I can't totally look at that bad part because that might be admitting that I am bad, and I might not be good like I thought I was.

Instead when we accept this duality, it allows us to open up to be honest and to really look at the things that we do that are harmful. We can be both, we can be good and bad. And in fact we are, we are good and bad. Not we can be, but we are. We are good and bad.

And when we resist that it really keeps us from being able to be honest and to make the changes that we need to, or at least like the full amount of the changes that we can make in order to leave this world a better place.

I also heard this when I was listening to a marriage coaching call. I listen to a lot of coaching and a lot of different therapists. I find it fascinating, I love it and it helps me with what I do. But what was happening is the husband had had an affair in this relationship and they were working through it.

And they brought it to this coaching call, and he said something like, “Yes, I messed up, but I admitted it and I'm working through it. And I admitted that I was wrong. And I don't know why my wife is still struggling.” And it turns out that he wasn't truly admitting or being totally honest about what he had done, or the extent to what he had done.

It was just these quick apologies quickly trying to fix it instead of being truly honest and willing to look at where he had messed up. Still really holding on to this image, no, I am good. I’m not bad, I'm good. And that kept him from really being able to be honest about, no, there's the goodness and there's the bad.

And that's where a lot of people seem to get in trouble, is they apologize but they're unwilling to really apologize and really see the damage that they've done or really get to the root of what's going on because there's that unwillingness to be honest.

Being honest will set you free. And accepting this duality where we are both good and bad, allows you to be honest. Humans are good and bad and that's okay. And you have permission to be honest. And admitting and being honest about this bad part does not take away from the good part and doesn't mean that the good part doesn't exist. There's both.

And the second reason that accepting this duality is so important is so that you can drop the shame and self-pity that allows you to be honest, right? Instead of this, I'm a bad person and there's something wrong with me and I shouldn't have done any bad things. It's like, no, I have both good and bad.

So for example, I'm a bad person for lying about my porn use. Instead, we can recognize that was a bad thing that I did, if we want to use that label. That was a bad thing, that was against my value system, that wasn't good. And there are also good things about me too. So instead of just I have this label of I am a bad person, no, I do good, and I do bad.

And this will be a really beautiful exercise for those of you who are struggling with this and just really have this label of yourself, I am a bad person. It's so fascinating when I coach my clients and this comes up and there's a lot of shame and a lot of discouragement, like, I'm just a bad person. I always ask why. And they’re like, because I'm looking at porn and I can't stop.

So of course, that's one thing that we'll look at, is the and I can't stop. That's not you, that's a lie you're telling yourself. But I'm like, “Okay, because you're looking at porn. Any other reasons?” Maybe they'll come up with a few. And I can't keep up with my homework, or I'm lying about it. Or maybe not, sometimes they're like, “No, I mean, that's the big encompassing one, is because I'm looking at pornography.

The I ask them, “Okay, tell me what are the things that make you a good person.” And as soon as we switch that in our brain and we start looking for evidence in our brain for that, we can find a bunch.

Well, I really love my people. I'm a great employee. I'm trying really hard to quit. I try really hard to do good things. I'm honest, I donate, I stand up for what I believe in. I reach out to my friends. I've been told them a really good friend. I want to make a difference in the world. I'm really successful in my work. I'm good at my job, or I'm trying to be good at my job. I’m trying to make a positive impact on the world. All these things.

There's also this whole list of reasons that you're a good person. And what I see so often is we take this one thing, which is the unwanted porn use, and we make it mean everything. We take that on as our whole identity and we're just bad because of this one thing. What if we could look at both? What if we could give equal airtime and balance it out a little bit?

And even taking it a step further, right? Okay, you're looking at porn? Are you trying to stop? Yes. Did you join this program to help you stop? Yes. Did you make sacrifices to be here? Yes. Are those good or bad things? They're good things.

Okay, so we can look at these mistakes, we can look at the slip ups you've had, and we can make an all-encompassing and mean all these things about you. Or we can know notice that things aren't so black and white. And it's not like you either make good choices or bad choices, but our lives are made up of both.

Our lives are made up of both good and bad choices. And that's okay, that's a beautiful thing. That's a part of this beautiful human experience. Changing this narrative from I'm a bad person to I am a human and humans do both good and bad and I can change. And maybe we can even take it a step further, that most of the things that I do are good. And I'm letting this handful of like “bad” things mean way more than they need to mean about me and my identity.

I just coached a client this morning who was spiraling a little bit and going through a really rough couple of days. And one thing he kept saying was, “I should have quit by now. If I wanted to have quit, I would have quit. I should have quit by now. If I wanted to have quit, I would have quit.” It kept coming up.

And I stopped him, and we talked about in your mind, the best case scenario with your life is that you never made mistakes and that you were perfect. And I just asked him, I said, “Is that true? Is the best case scenario in your life that you were perfect?” And he just started to cry, and he said, “No, no.” He said, “I want to experience the full range of humanity. I'm here to learn and change and experience it all.”

I said, “Yeah, we did not come to earth to just be good all the time. We came to earth to have this beautiful human experience where we mess up and maybe we hurt people. And we change and we go through the process of changing and getting better through hurt. We go through the process of changing and becoming better. But we can't do that if we're perfect. We really can't.”

Sometimes we think what we want is just to be perfect. But if that's you, I really want you to question that. Is that truly what you want? Do you want to look back on your life and just say I was perfect, I did everything right? Or do you want to look back on your life and be like I struggled with this and then I overcame it. And I struggled with this and then I overcame it. And I became more compassionate through all of it.

I became stronger through all of it. I learned how to trust myself, and love myself, and love other people through all of it. I learned how to keep commitments to myself. And I struggled, and I overcame, and I struggled, and I overcame, and I struggled, and I overcame. That's what we want.

That's what we want. And I know that's what we want because that's what all of our movies, and media, and books that we consume are about. We have this inner longing to be humans that struggle and then triumph. That struggle really deeply and triumph.

What's the quote? The greater the struggle, the greater the triumph. Those are the most amazing and beautiful human stories that inspire us. And allowing there to be good and bad in our lives allows us to have that experience. And recognizing it and accepting it allows us to be honest about it, to drop the self-pity and drop the shame so that we can actually make steps forward.

Okay, that would be an awesome place to stop. And I'm really tempted just to stop there. But there is one thing I want to say, one last thing. I want us to be careful that we don't move into justification, okay?

Sometimes when we step out of shame, right, shame is one very extreme end of this continuum, and the other end is justification. And we step into this extreme side of justification like, “Oh, I am bad and so that's okay if I do this. I have bad parts and that's okay. It's okay if I mess up.” And we step into justification energy.

That's common sometimes for people who are getting out of the shame, they don't know where else to go and so they just go straight to justification. But I want you to know that those are two very extremes.

So instead, we can use this concept to stay in the middle, to generate worthiness, to generate compassion, and most of all to generate commitment. Think about how compassionate and worthy and committed it feels to think there is good and bad in me and that's okay. And that's what's allowing me to have this beautiful human experience and to really triumph and overcome.

Can you feel how much commitment we can generate from that? That's what we want to generate, not the justification and not the shame. Instead of, “Oh, I can slip up right now because it's okay if I do bad things,” we can maybe switch that to, “If I slip up, I still can change. If I slip up, I still can be loved, I still will be loved. If I slip up, I have all these things to get me back on track and get me where I want to be. If I slip up, it's just a little barrier. But these barriers are what makes such an amazing experience, such an amazing story and make me stronger and stronger and stronger.”

All right, you guys. Have a great week, and we'll talk to you next week. Bye bye.

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.


Enjoy the Show?


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.