Most of you who first come to me are trying to quit the pornography habit from a place of self-loathing and hate. You believe that if you can just learn how to quit, you’ll finally be able to approach yourself with the love and kindness you deserve. But the truth is this never works.
Whether it’s overcoming the porn habit, dealing with the loss of a job, or any life circumstance that you're struggling with, layering on hate and shame does not help. I did this in my own life too, so I know exactly what it feels like. But this leads to isolation, trying to grit our teeth and muster up willpower, and it makes the experience 10 times harder.
Join me this week as I guide you through the one skill that will make overcoming the porn habit 10 times easier. I’m showing you why hating yourself through any challenge only produces more discouragement and confusion, and how to instead get to a place where you can make informed decisions and build beliefs that will spark the change you want.
You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 63, how to make it 10 times easier.
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 hope you guys are having a wonderful week. Spring is officially here. Now, I hope that means that there’s no more snow here in Utah. But jeez, it’s been so nice, I can’t believe how light it is. It’s 7:30 at night and usually it’s dark by now, but it’s still so bright outside. I love it. I love this time of year when things start to come back to life.
I love just the seasons and I love how symbolic they are of our lives. You know, we go through periods of summer, winter, spring, and fall. And we can offer ourselves a lot of grace when we’re in these different periods and always look forward to spring. And always look forward to things coming alive again and things getting better.
Sometimes it’s hard to remind yourself that when you’re going through something, So if that’s you right now, if you’re just going through it and things have just been kind of hard, it will get easier. Eventually it will get easier, it’s just how everything works. How seasons work, how life works. We see that in a lot of examples in nature, things suck and then they get better.
I am pretty sick this week. So hopefully my voice keeps going as I’m doing our podcast episode today. I might have to stop for a lot of water breaks, but let’s jump into it today.
First, before we start the content, which I’m sure you’re just dying to hear, how can I make quitting porn 10 times easier? I’m going to tell you how, I’m going to tell you exactly how. But before, I want to celebrate one of my clients. Celebrate some wins with overcoming pornography.
This client sent in, “I’ve had three wins this week. Number one, I had a great conversation with my family about the program and how these first few weeks have been the most hopeful I’ve been in a very long time. And I don’t feel like I just have to be resigned to dealing with porn for the rest of my life.” I love that. I love reading that.
I love reading that and it makes me sad that that’s so much the narrative we have around pornography, is oh, sorry, this is just something you have to deal with forever, bummer. No, you don’t. You don’t. So awesome win. Awesome win.
“Number two, I had one slip up, but I didn’t fall into my normal bingeing afterwards.” So good. That is such a win. Okay, there’s the two parts of pornography use and of our slip ups, there’s the moment before and there’s the moment after.
So the moment before is what were you thinking? What led you to view the pornography? What justifications did you have? What were you buffering from, right? All this stuff. And the moment after is was I feeling shame? Did I fall into binge cycles? How was I thinking and feeling about myself after I did slip up?
Now, this moment after viewing pornography has so much more power than the moment before, okay? The moment after, what you do, how you talk to yourself, how you handle that, it can turn one slip up into days and days and days of slip ups or binges of slip ups. Or, you know, instead of, oh, we just had this one slip up, it’s now, “Oh, things are horrible, I suck.” Right? It’s so much more powerful than that moment before.
So being able to stop that bingeing pattern and to really fix that after moment is huge, so huge. Great, great work. And then number three they said, “Instead I processed the next few urges to get past that cycle.” I cannot even adequately congratulate you for how big that is.
And those of you who are having similar wins, keep it up. Make sure that you are celebrating your wins and congratulating yourself and building that momentum to keep going.
It’s funny, I was talking to Tina and Kat, who you’re going to meet here in the next couple of weeks, I’m going to have them on the podcast. They are my coaches that work with me in the program. I’ve hired them to come do one on one coaching and they'll occasionally do group coaching, occasionally do workshops. They are incredible, I'm so excited for you to meet them.
But I was talking to them this week and we were talking about how it's so interesting with our clients that even the ones who are making really quick, amazing progress, sometimes they stop, and they don't see that progress, even if it's super clear. Even if it's like, no, I'm not looking at pornography. Our brains just want to go to, well I'm doing these things wrong. Or maybe I'm doing it wrong because I'm not looking at pornography.
It's so funny how often I hear that. Like, no, I'm doing really well. And maybe that means I'm doing something wrong. Maybe that means in the future I'm going to go back to it. Maybe I need to be doing more. No, stop and notice how your brain always wants to tell you that you're doing it wrong. And then redirect it and choose again. Tell yourself, no, look at all these things I'm doing right. I'm choosing to celebrate my wins here. So awesome. Awesome, great work.
So how to make it 10 times easier, let's talk about this. I was talking recently to a friend about how it seems like every five years or so I go through something really heart wrenching and really difficult. And she said, “Oh yeah, that makes sense. And you know, I actually read a book that says that every nine to 18 months we go through something hard and some difficult change.” And I was like, “Oh yeah, I see that. I totally see that.”
And I started thinking, you know, every nine to 12 months, writing down difficult things that I've gone through or difficult things I've done. And I started thinking about and wondering what the difference was between those things I went through and that I accomplished that were difficult. And the things I went through that were like heart wrenching and gut wrenching and extremely difficult, right?
And I found a pattern. I found a pattern. I see myself as someone who has really great ability to overcome difficult things. And a lot of that is due to the coaching skills that I teach you that I've practiced, and that I embody, and that I take time every single day to practice and work on.
But those ones that break me, that are gut wrenching, that are heart wrenching, that are exponentially more difficult than the others are experiences where I'm hating myself for experiencing what I'm experiencing. I'll give you some examples here, but that was the only correlation between these moments.
I'm thinking about these really, really difficult moments in my life. The only correlation between those is that when I'm going through it, I kind of hate myself for going through it. And it's interesting, right? I look at those moments and you wouldn't necessarily be able to say, “Oh yeah, of course that was hard. Of course that one was gut wrenching.” No, they're not obvious. But they were that way because inside, in my brain as I was going through it, I was experiencing a lot of self-loathing.
So for example, my first bouts of depression as a college student were some of the most painful, miserable moments of my life. I don't know if I've told this story here, I think I've mentioned this on the podcast a couple times, but I don't know if I've told this part. I remember I was going to BYU, I was laying on the couch in my first apartment as a newly married BYU student.
And I was just laying on the couch, I would go to a couple classes, I can't get myself to go to one a week, if that. And I ended up withdrawing from a bunch of my classes, I could not physically get myself to go to them and I’d just lay on the couch. And I remember taking a quiz at the BYU CAPS office is what it was called, I don't know if it's still called that, like the counseling services. And it was an evaluation to see if you were depressed or not, I think is what it was.
And so I was answering all the questions, and they're probably the same questions that they ask you if you go to the doctors for medication or antidepressants or something. But just, you know, those questions. And at the end it said, you are severely depressed, come into the CAPS office and let us help you. And I saw that, and I was like, no, that's not true. I'm just lazy and I shut it.
And I continued to lay on my couch for a couple months just beating myself up and feeling horrible. And not just feeling depressed, but beating myself up for being depressed. So that's when that turned from a difficult thing to like an extremely dangerously miserable period in my life, was when I started to hate myself for being depressed.
I hated that I couldn't stop sleeping. I called myself lazy and unmotivated and constantly beat myself up. Part of that was I just lacked the education with what was going on. I didn't have the vocabulary, I didn't have the tools. This is before I found coaching, this is before I found a lot of this.
But that experience was extremely difficult because I was beating myself up for it and hating myself through it. On the outside it might not have looked that bad. If you were looking at my life from an outside perspective, you might not know how difficult that was for me. But it was because on the inside, the part that no one could see, I was hating myself for it.
Another example is when I was younger, quite a bit younger, my sister passed away. And this was really difficult, but it was 10 times worse when I started hating myself for going through the grieving process. So my sister was stillborn, and I told myself I shouldn't be so sad because I never actually met her. And so I really resisted all of the grieving. I really hated myself for struggling so much.
I didn't know what was normal. I didn't think I should be so sad, right? And I hated that I wasn't able to be that and to do that. And again, just lack of empathy for myself, lack of education around what was normal through that process. But I think about those couple of weeks or couple months and how horribly difficult they were. Not just because I was grieving the death of my sister, but because I hated myself for going through that process. I didn't think it was normal, I thought there was something wrong with me.
When I feel self-loathing about my struggles, it increases the intensity of the struggle times 10. So not only is there the depression, but on top of that there's hating myself for the depression, right? Not only is there the grief, but on top of that there's hating myself for grieving, right? This can apply to all sorts of things.
Maybe being single or you have a breakup and that's really difficult. But if you layer hating yourself for going through a breakup or for being single, that’ will make it 10 times harder. Moving, maybe you move apartments or move cities, move out of your home, move to a new neighborhood, there's the difficulty of that. And then there's hating yourself for struggling with moving.
And I understand hating is kind of a strong term here. So you can replace it with whatever feels good to you, like just beating yourself up. The dislike of yourself. Telling yourself that you shouldn't be struggling, right?
Having a new baby, that's a really difficult transition in life and a lot of women that I know go through this period after having a baby where they beat themselves up because they don't think they're doing it good enough. Or they think they should be experiencing it different. Or they think they should be happy and grateful.
And so not only is there the struggle of the new baby, which is a really difficult transition. But then you layer on the self-loathing and the hating yourself for it, that makes it 10 times harder. Finding a new job, maybe you got laid off. Okay, there's the difficulty of being laid off. But if you layer on hating yourself for getting laid off, it makes it 10 times harder, 10 times harder.
And of course, this applies to pornography. There's the porn habit and all the side effects of that. And then if you layer on hating yourself for the porn habit, it will make it 10 times harder. If you can learn this one thing, if you can learn to stop hating yourself for struggling with porn, you will make quitting porn 10 times easier. You'll be able to apply the things that I teach you. You'll be able to apply the mindfulness techniques, you'll be able to apply all these skills you need to learn to quit porn.
But you can't do that if you hate yourself for struggling with it because here's what happens, you feel the self-loathing. When you feel shame or self-loathing, you will probably isolate. Maybe you'll be able to muster up a little bit of willpower for a second, then you'll give up and say it's not worth it, I suck anyways. Most of the time we can't even muster up any willpower when we're feeling self-loathing. Say I'm never going to figure it out, you don't try new things, and you get stuck in discouragement, shame, and confusion.
I want you to think of this self-loathing like sticky mud that you get stuck in. So if you're walking down a path, you're trying to get from point A to point B and every couple feet you fall into some sticky mud. And you have to pull yourself out of that. And a couple feet and you get into sticky mud again and you really have to use a lot of energy and effort to pull yourself out of it right? It's going to take quite a while to get from point A to point B. You can't keep going if you keep falling into these pits, right?
And so this is true with quitting pornography. If we keep falling into these pits of self-loathing it's going to be difficult to get where we want to get. And it's a process, it's okay if you're doing that. We need to be careful here that we don't start hating ourselves for hating ourselves, right?
We start noticing that we're doing that we're like, “Oh, why do I feel so much shame? Why do I feel so bad? Oh, what's wrong with you for feeling so much shame and feeling so bad? You shouldn't be feeling this way.” It can add layers, so you just want to practice a lot of empathy and compassion. And it's okay if you're falling into these pits a little bit, but we can learn to stop doing that. And when we learn to stop doing it, it will make it 10 times easier.
If you can learn to stop hating yourself, like I said, you can do the things that will actually help you quit. And you can do them 10 times faster and 10 times easier. You can process your urges and start to bring down all of that over desire.
Remember, over desire are these consistent urges that we have because we trained our brain to trigger us and to ask for dopamine, to have urges. We can bring all that over desire down, like I've taught you in the podcast, like I help you apply in the program. And you can find true commitment, learn how to do it from a place of I want to, instead of a place of so I can finally be good enough.
It's really difficult to quit porn if your reason for quitting porn is so that I can stop hating myself. A lot of you are trying to quit porn from that place and I promise you that's not going to work. I promise you that's not going to work. You have to learn to stop hating yourself and then you can quit porn. It's not the other way around. It's not I quit porn, so I stop hating myself. It's I stop hating myself and then I can quit porn.
And when you start doing this, you can also start looking at what happened and make informed decisions on what worked, and what didn't work, and what to practice, and what to do next. You can build beliefs that will actually help you change. These are all things that I teach you in Overcome Pornography For Good with the milestone system specifically, all these ways to learn these skills and apply these skills.
I like to talk about the podcast as a place to come and learn and to start to feel change, and to start to feel these mini transformations. And the program is a place to apply and to actually do the work. And to go through the milestones and to do all of the exercises and the daily things that I teach you in the program.
Okay, the truth is, you guys, you can't hate yourself into change. Hating yourself for struggling is very counterproductive. And I know, I know it's so much easier said than done. Some of you might be saying, “Okay, Sara, I get it. I get that I'm not supposed to hate myself for this, but how? How do I stop doing this?”
There are a couple things I want to talk about. Okay, there's what I call online work, and what I call offline work. Now this isn't on your computer or off your computer, or on the internet or off the internet. Online work is work that you can do for yourself when you are in a good headspace. Offline work, like think about if you're offline. I'm offline, I'm triggered, I'm unregulated, that's what offline work is.
So let me get a little bit more specific here. So online work is thought work and belief work. And we talk about this a lot in the podcast, right? Your beliefs about you create self-hatred, or self-loathing, or whatever you want to call it. So we can look at those beliefs, and we can challenge them, and we can practice new ones.
Now you have a story that you've written about yourself. And we can start to change that story just by changing the way we're thinking, changing our beliefs, and doing some mental work. It's like going to the gym and building muscles, we can build those new beliefs. That's online work, you can do that, when you're in a good headspace.
Now, offline work, when you're offline there's not really any reasoning that you can do with your brain. This is typical in trauma responses, or you know, you're just unregulated where you're really emotional, where you can't reason with yourself, and you feel really maybe panicky in your body. You feel unsafe in your body.
So the first thing to do with this offline work, and I'm going to talk about this more in depth in later podcast episodes probably. We're doing a lot of work on it in Overcome Pornography For Good. But the first thing you want to do is you want to create safety in your body. When you're offline, you can't reason with yourself. You're spiraling, you're maybe having physical symptoms, maybe you have a fast heartbeat, you feel shaky.
It's when the thought work isn't helping or really isn't doing anything. So instead, we want to create safety in our bodies. We want to get back online. You can do this through breathing exercises, just focusing on your breathing.
Just very, very simply you can breathe in for four seconds. One, two, three, four. Hold it for four seconds, one, two, three, four. And then let it out for four seconds, one, two, three, four. And you can just practice doing that. In for four seconds, hold for four seconds, out for four seconds. Or even just more simple, you can just breathe in for four seconds and out for four seconds, focusing on your breath.
Meditating, if you're into meditation it can be a great tool for this. Going on a walk, or a run, or something just to regulate and help yourself get back online. Tapping, EFT tapping. This is where you tap specific places in your body and you do a little bit, it's like meditation while tapping. You know, you tap the side of your hand, you tap your chest, you tap under your eye, you tap in between your eyebrows.
If you go on Google and you look up tapping for anxiety, or tapping for depression, or tapping for fear, you can find all sorts of videos that will guide you through that process. This is something new that I discovered about six months ago.
There's also an app called The Tapping Solution. It's awesome, especially if you're not totally into meditation and you don't love meditation. It feels hard, it feels difficult, and it doesn't really feel like it's helping you regulate your nervous system. It feels like it's a little bit more of a practice, tapping can help you do that really quickly.
Grounding into the earth is another thing you can do. Just getting in tune with your senses. So go outside without shoes and say, “What am I feeling on my feet?” Breathing, “What am I noticing? What feelings am I noticing? What sounds am I noticing? What smells am I noticing?”
And of course, repeating phrases like I am safe, I am experiencing these emotions and that doesn't mean they're true. Reminding yourself that you're safe and you're okay, and breathing through your body sensations. Similar to what I've taught you to do to process emotions and sit with emotions.
And after we do this, after we're online, that's when we can change and go to the thought work and start to change how you think about yourself. And you guys, this is a process, right? This is a process and it's so interesting, I tell my clients, you know, when we're doing this work, I'm like this, this work of changing how you think about yourself, this is the real work.
You think, you think that the work is going to be to stop looking at porn, and to not look at porn, and to keep yourself from looking at porn. But the real work is changing how you're thinking about yourself. And as you do that, you will change your porn use. Okay?
Now really hear me on this, as you change how you think about yourself and your beliefs about yourself, that will change your porn use quicker than just focusing on the porn use and just focusing on not looking at porn. And I can help you with this.
So if you want to make it 10 times easier, you've got to come to our weekly coaching calls in Overcome Pornography For Good. You get lifetime access to these, so this is what makes my programs so much different than anything else, right? We're changing from the inside out.
It's not just a don't look at porn program, it's learn how to be your best teammate. Change from the inside out, change how you view yourself, change how you think about yourself, stop using willpower. Here, practice these mindfulness techniques to breathe through these urges.
Change how you think about yourself and then, here, use all these tools to quit porn. And I'm here to walk you through every single step. Lifetime access to the help, lifetime access to the coaching calls. I don't want you to have to feel like you have to do it on your own anymore. And this container that I've created in the program is the best place for you to get help and for you to make your life without pornography, your porn-free life a reality.
So let's get to work. Let's do the real work of learning how to stop feeling the self-loathing on top of your struggle. That'll make it 10 times easier. You can see details if you want to sign up for the program. If you're feeling that call, if when I talk about it, you can feel yourself get excited, listen to that intuition. That's telling you that this is a place that you need to be.
So you can go and look at all the details at sarabrewer.com/work with me. And in the meantime be kind, be kind to yourself. Have compassion, and empathy, and patience. You got this. 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.