Episode 8: Fact vs Story

This week’s topic is one that can be life-changing in every single area of your life if you stick with me here. So many of us aren’t used to questioning our stories and thoughts about something. We just believe them to be true, and there couldn’t be anything more detrimental, especially in the realm of the porn habit.

You’ve likely had thoughts floating around in your mind about having watched porn “forever,” that you’ll never be able to stop, and what this means about you. Maybe you believe it means you’re not good enough, or not worthy, or that there’s something wrong with you, but these are all just stories that are completely optional.

Tune in this week as I show you the difference between facts and a story, and how your long-held beliefs don’t make something true. This can be a really tricky shift to understand if you’ve never practiced questioning your thoughts, but I’m inviting you to see the power available to you in every single area of your life when you start doing this.

Ready to commit to quitting pornography? I would love to be your coach. Visit this link to work with me.

What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • The difference between fact versus story.
  • How your story about something does not make it a fact.
  • Why your story about something is what’s important.
  • The stories you may be believing as facts about your porn habit.
  • How your long-held beliefs and stories are what cause your emotional experience.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

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

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 8, Fact Versus Story.

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.

Hello everyone, welcome to the podcast episode this week. I’m so glad you're here. I love being here. And I love that you are coming. I'm getting so many messages about how this podcast is helping you so much. Thank you.

Thank you for sending me those messages. And thank you for celebrating the success that you're having with me. And if you're a spouse or a parent too that is celebrating some of those successes, thank you. It's so good for you, for me, for everyone, for the whole world when we celebrate all of our wins.

And so that's what I want to do just really quickly is I want to celebrate a win with you. Help you kind of get in the pattern of noticing when you're doing good and congratulating yourself when you're doing things how you want to be doing. That's how we get more of that in our life.

Celebration is the same energy as gratitude. I might have mentioned that here on this podcast. And I just learned that recently and ever since I learned that I've just been thinking about it all the time and how awesome that is. Celebration is the same energy as gratitude, and when we're grateful for things we have more things to be grateful for. When we celebrate things, we will create more things to celebrate in our lives.

So, with that said I want to share with you what one of my clients sent to me. He said, “This program is working miracles for me, and I don't say that lightly. I'm really starting to believe for the first time in my life that I can live porn free. I've only been working the program for a little over a week, but the changes have been noticeable. My thoughts about myself, others, my happiness, and confidence have all changed for the better. I even notice random strangers smiling at me more. I find myself wanting porn less and less because I'm learning how to change my thoughts about it. I love it.”

I got this a couple weeks ago and, you guys, if you're trying to quit porn, if you're looking for a program and some help to quit porn, you need to come check out my program.

I've created it so that it gives you everything that you need in order to quit pornography and you have lifetime access. You have lifetime access to all of the coaching calls every single week. You have access to a coaching call every single week forever. Access to all of the content, all the support you need in between sessions through boards that you can ask questions through.

It's just the best resource out there for you if you're trying to quit porn. And I'm opening that up this week. So go ahead and come check it out on my website, you can just see it under the work with me tab.

And on that note let's get to it. Let's talk about today's topic, which is fact versus thought. Or fact versus story is how we're talking about it here. So this topic, fact versus story, oh my gosh, it's so important and life changing if you let it be. It can affect every single area of your life.

So everything that happens, everything that happens in life, there are facts and then there's a story, your story about it. So for example 2020. Okay, 2020 is a fact. The year is 2020. Not anymore, now it's 2021 but I’m thinking about last year, 2020. Fact 2020, fact COVID. COVID has been on the earth in 2020.

The fact about COVID is that it's a virus. Maybe facts that you could say about COVID is that one of your state leaders told you to stay home. Maybe a fact is your classes are online or your kid’s classes are online. Those are the facts.

And then you have a story about those facts. That story might be this is the worst year ever. Everything is harder. Now I can't have fun. Now I can't go on dates. Some of our stories are even, it's the end of the world. And it's just a matter of time before we all die.

There's fact, the fact is the virus. You could put fact, number of people who have died. You could put fact, number of people who have had it. But even that, do you see how even that gets a little bit messy? Because we don't necessarily always have the facts on those numbers, right? The numbers have changed just depending on who's talking about it.

So sometimes even the numbers are a story if it's not fact. So we want to get as factual as possible. Fact, COVID virus encouraged us to stay home, and then you have a story about that.

But what's really important about this fact versus story is that the story doesn't equal the fact. So there being a virus, you being encouraged to stay home does not equal the worst year ever, everything is harder, now I can't have fun. Now I can't date, right? Those just aren't true; those are stories you have. You can still date even if you're encouraged to stay home. It might have to be online through a camera.

Everything is harder. That's a story, that's not a fact. The fact is, there's a virus and you're encouraged to stay home and whatever else you would put in the fact. Everything is harder is the way that you're choosing to think about that.

So another example is relationships. If we're talking about relationships maybe the fact is someone said, “I don't want to go out with you.” Now that's a fact. We can prove and record what they say and prove that they said, “I don't want to go out with you.”

Your story about that is what's important. You might have a story about you, “I'm a disappointment. Why can't I find someone to date? There's something wrong with me. I'm not good enough.” And then you probably have a story about this person, “They don't understand. What's wrong with them for saying that? Why are they so picky?”

But that story that you have, is not true. It's not the fact. The fact is someone said, “I don't want to go out with you.” You might be making that mean I'm a disappointment, there’s something wrong with me, I'm not good enough.

So, so many of us, this is this is so important. So many of us are not used to questioning our stories, are not used to questioning our thoughts. And we just believe them. And so if someone says, “I don't want to go out with you.” And you think, “I'm not good enough, I'm a disappointment.” And you just believe it, even though it's not a fact, it's something that you're thinking to yourself.

So much of this process, this coaching work and the process of overcoming pornography is the skill where we learn to stop and think about our thoughts and not believe everything you think. I feel like I need to make that an Instagram post this week is, don't believe everything you think. I’m writing that down; you’re going to see that on my Instagram.

And so of course, we're going to relate this to pornography. Let's talk about some of the facts of pornography. Maybe a fact is that you’ve viewed for 30 years, period. That's the fact, “I viewed for 30 years.” And then you have a story about that. What's your story? Maybe, “I've viewed forever. I've just viewed pornography forever; I'll never be able to quit.”

First off, do you recognize that that story is not true to the fact? I’ve viewed forever is not I've viewed for 30 years. I guarantee you; you haven't viewed forever. It's just your story, your dramatic story about it.

And I'll never be able to quit. That's also a story that you're choosing to think about the fact that you viewed for 30 years. There are people who have viewed for 30 years and been able to quit, absolutely. So I'll never be able to quit is a story that you have about that fact. Make sure to question that story.

Maybe another fact is you're just thinking like, “Hey, I viewed porn yesterday.” Fact, I viewed porn. What's your story about that? Your story might be, “I'm not good enough. I'm not worthy. There's something wrong with me.” Do you see how that story is just a dramatization of the fact? I'm not good enough. I'm not worthy. There's something wrong with me.

Here's the thing, not everyone who views porn thinks that stuff. Not everyone who views porn thinks they're not good enough, thinks they're not worthy, thinks there's something wrong with me. A lot of people view porn and are like, “There's nothing wrong with this.” Which is fine, you can totally think that way.

And I just have to say too, I've been running some Facebook ads. And this is the first time I've run Facebook ads in my couple years of doing this. And I will just tell you, there are tons of people who you talk about stopping viewing pornography, and they get all up in arms. Like, “What's wrong with you? Why would you say that? Why do I need to stop? Stop telling me there's something wrong with me.”

I'm like, “That's not what I'm saying at all. If you listen to my content, if you listen to my podcast, you know that's not my message one bit.” But my point is that not everyone who views pornography thinks I'm not worthy and thinks that there's something wrong with me and thinks I'm not good enough. That's a story that you're making up in your head.

There are even people who are viewing porn and want to stop viewing porn, who do not have the story playing in the background, “I'm not good enough. I'm not worthy. There's something wrong with me.” You can believe that porn is bad without making it mean that you are bad. The story, “I am bad. I am bad. I'm not worthy. I'm not good enough.” That's really, really detrimental.

Another fact might be that you said that you wouldn't and you did. Maybe we can prove it. Maybe you wrote down somewhere, “I'm not going to view porn again.” And then two weeks later or the next day you did. Your story about that is, “I never follow through with myself.”

Do you see how these are different? You said you wouldn’t and you did, period. That's the fact, that's it. Your story is, “I never follow through with myself.” And that's probably not even true, there are probably a lot of things that you follow through with yourself.

You probably go to work when you say you're going to go to work. You probably meet with friends, when you say you're going to meet with them. Or get stuff done for your boss. There are probably other things that you follow through with yourself. You probably shower. You probably go to sleep.

You probably follow through with yourself a lot, but you're making that one fact that you said you wouldn’t and then you did mean this big generalization about you. And I see my clients do this a lot, where they take one fact and they make it mean something about them in every single area of their life. And I want you to notice that and be careful for that.

Another fact when it comes to pornography might be fact, I'm feeling an urge. And the story about that might be I need this to go away. This sucks. I hate this feeling. Oh no, I'm feeling an urge. This is a big deal. This urge is a problem.

Some of you have the story going on, I'm sinning because I'm feeling an urge to view porn. But the only fact here is we felt an urge, period. And you don't need to make it mean all these things that you might be making it mean. Maybe it's not a big deal. Maybe it's not a problem to feel an urge. Maybe feeling an urge is not a sin. Maybe it's a normal part of life to feel sexual urges and it's not a big deal.

Your story makes it much bigger than it needs to be. And this is so important because our facts, the facts in life do not cause emotions. Your stories and your thoughts do. All right, I'm going to repeat that again, facts do not cause emotions, stories and thoughts do.

So you don't feel bad because you're feeling an urge. You feel bad because you're thinking, “I shouldn't be feeling an urge. This is a problem, this is a big deal.”

You're not scared because you're feeling an urge. You're feeling scared because you're like, “This sucks. I'm scared. I hate this. This is a big deal. I can't do this. I need this to go away.”

You're not angry because someone said I don't want to go out with you. You're angry because of the story about that. You're angry because you're thinking, “They should. What's wrong with them?”

You don't feel bad because someone said, “I don't want to go out with you.” You feel bad because of your story about that. “I’m not good enough. I'm a disappointment. There's something wrong with my nose.” Or whatever, right?

You don't feel shame because you viewed porn. You feel shame because you're thinking, “There's something wrong with me.”

You don't feel hopeless because you viewed pornography for 30 years. You feel hopeless because you're thinking, “I've viewed forever and I'll never be able to quit.”

Okay, so your emotions are not caused by the facts. They're caused by the story and the thoughts. And your actions are driven by those emotions that you feel. So the results in your life, what you have in your life is from your stories, not from your facts.

And I'm going to say that again. The results in your life are not from the facts of your life. The results that you have in your life are because of your stories. And then pornography, of course. Whether or not you're able to quit porn has nothing to do with the facts. It has nothing to do with how long you’ve viewed. It has nothing to do with what kind of porn you view. And it has everything to do with the story behind the porn usage.

If your story is, “I'm never going to be able to quit.” Then that's going to become your reality. If you're thinking, “I'm never going to be able to quit.” You will not be able to quit.

If your story is it's too hard and miserable and painful, then it's going to be hard and miserable and painful to quit porn. If your story is I just don't follow through with myself. That's why I can't quit because I just don't stay committed with myself. Then that is what is going to become your reality.

It's your story about yourself and your story about the facts of the pornography that determine what your results are. And the really great news here is that you get to choose how you think about the facts. That's a choice.

And that doesn't mean you want to feel good all the time, either. So if the fact is grandma died, you probably don't want to feel good about that. You probably don't want to feel a lot of positive emotion around that. You probably want to be sad.

Maybe some of you want to be sad about the facts about COVID. Maybe some of you want to be sad about the facts around pornography. And that's fine, but I just want you to notice and take your power back. Take the power back. You have determined the results in your life because of your story about it. You can change that story any time you want to.

People do this work, this story work on all areas of their lives all the time. It's so powerful. One that I'm specifically thinking of is money. Your story about money will determine the kind of money that you make and bring in in the future.

So, maybe think about someone in your life, or maybe you, that you know where the story around money is very scarce. And there's never enough. And it's hard to make, right? Money doesn't grow on trees, it takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of time to make money. The people who believe that and have that story, that's their reality. And money is hard. There never is enough.

If you think about people who are really successful in business or entrepreneurship, they don't think that about money at all. They don't think they have to work harder to make more money. They think that there's always enough. They make investments from a place of abundance and gratitude instead of a place of like, “Oh no, hopefully this is enough.”

Okay, so the story that you tell yourself about the facts matters. And you get to choose how you think and you get to choose your story. You can change your story any time that you want to.

So remember, the story is not truth. And so specifically with pornography, what do you want to make your porn habit or your porn usage mean? Some of you make it mean that you're addicted. Some of you make it mean that there's nothing wrong. Some of you make it mean that there's lots of wrong.

No matter what the facts are with your porn usage, however long it's been, what kind of porn you view, how old you are, you can choose to have a different story. Here some of the options that I would offer to you. I'm an amazing person for wanting to quit. The fact that I want to quit is really honorable. I'm going to be able to help so many people because of this.
This is making me stronger.

Porn makes me weak is a story. Instead, you can believe this porn habit is making me strong. There's so many reasons it's making you strong. And if that's your new story, that this is going to strengthen me, then it will do that.

You can learn so much about yourself. You can learn so much about your emotions. You can learn so much about having a hold on your emotional life through this habit. You can learn so much about accomplishing hard things through this. Absolutely, this is making you stronger.

Maybe you have a story about your age. I'll have clients come to me and say, “Yeah, but I've been struggling with this since I was 11 and I'm 29.” Or whatever, right? You can make that mean, anything you want. It can be like, “I'm only 29. I have so much time left.”

Even if you're 50. “I'm only 50. I still have 50 years.” Or 40 years, or whatever it is you want to believe. It doesn't matter how old you are. You still have a lot of time left. Of course you can quit this, your age means nothing. Nothing. You're just choosing to believe the story that it does.

You can choose to believe there's nothing wrong with me, right? Porn is everywhere, so of course I'm in the habit of viewing porn. I didn't know better. I did the best I could with what I was going through. And now I have a little bit of a porn habit. And now I can quit. There's nothing wrong with me. Porn is everywhere. And there's a lot right with me because I'm trying to do what feels best to me.

And I talk about this in my free masterclass. If you haven't attended one of those be on the lookout for one of those I have a have coming up. But what I talk about there is the fact that your brain wants pornography actually means that your brain is working correctly.

And we talk about how you subconsciously trained your brain to want porn and how it's working exactly how it should be. And then we talk about how you can train it to not want porn anymore. So the fact that you want porn doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. It means that your brain is working correctly.

Your new story can also be I will do everything in my power to quit. Instead of I can't do it, I'm not enough. Flip that, I'm going to do everything that I can. I will never stop. And if I never stop trying, I'm going to figure it out. Now I'm not going to keep trying the same things over and over again. But when I find something new, I'm going to try that.

And I'm going to try, and try, and try until I figure this out. And I'm going to love myself as I'm figuring it out. I'm not going to wait to feel good about myself and to love myself until I quit. No, I'm going to love myself, choose to honor myself, even in the midst of this habit.

Okay, the story that you tell yourself matters. It matters so much less what you do, and so much more what you think. So I want you to journal on this. Here are some questions for you to journal on.

What is the story of you? What are the facts of your life? Maybe specifically your porn habit, but you can just take this broad. What are the facts of your life and what are you making those facts mean? And then ask yourself what do I want to make it mean instead?

You look at the two columns, you've got the column of your facts and the column of your story. And you recognize you cannot change the facts. But that story, you can choose to change that however you want to change it.

All right you guys, have a great week. Please let me know if you do this work. I would love to hear your thoughts, your inspirations. You can come message those to me on Instagram, that's probably the best place to do it. All right, we'll talk to you next week. Bye bye.

If you’re ready to apply what you’re hearing in this podcast and finally overcome pornography for good, I’d love to be your coach. I’ve created a virtual program with the intent to give you everything that you need to quit. Once you join, you have lifetime access to the content and lifetime access to individual support through coaching calls and coaching boards. For more information check out sarabrewer.com/workwithme.

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