So many of us are afraid of our feelings, but emotions are completely harmless - resisting them is harmful. If you are slipping up and struggling to quit using pornography, there is one reason why, and it is linked to your feelings.
In this episode, I’m sharing the #1 key to quitting pornography and showing you how to develop a skill that will allow you to accomplish great things in your life. I’m sharing the importance of feeling your emotions and why learning how to do this will completely change your life.
You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 26, The Number One Key to Quitting Pornography
Welcome to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast, the show that will teach you 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 coach and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Hey everyone, welcome to the podcast episode this week. It is July. How is it already July? Even though June was a long month, it had five weeks in it, it still felt like it just went by so fast. And just yesterday I was thinking, man, pride month came and went without me sharing as much as I wanted to share during pride month and talking much about that here on my platform.
And so I’m sorry and I feel some regret about that. But what I do want to say is hey, to my LGBTQ friends and brothers and sisters. I love you guys and I’m proud of you. And I’m grateful for you and I’m working really hard to make sure that this is a safe place for you and a welcome place for you.
And I support you and I’ve got your back. And I’m just grateful for the hard work that you all are going through to help the rest of us be better and step up a little bit. So that’s really all I want to say there.
Okay, I am so grateful for you guys. Thank you so much for sharing these reviews and ratings for me on my podcast. I had a big month. I just got a message from my podcast guy who helps me take care of my podcast and edit it and upload it. And he sent me a picture of my stats for this last month.
And I went up from 6,000 downloads in the month of May to 8,000 downloads in the month of June. Which is a pretty big jump. And so thank you to you guys for sharing this content and leaving ratings and reviews and helping people find it. I get messages and comments a lot about how this content is just helping so much more than anything else has helped when it comes to pornography.
So thank you and I do just want to shout out one of you who left a review here for me. The title is, warning, this is life changing. And this looks like it’s from a podcast listener and from someone who has joined my program, Overcome Pornography For Good.
They say, “I submitted to the thought that I would have to deal with pornography for my entire life until I found Sara’s content. It’s only been a few weeks since I started working with Sara and my life is completely changed. I believe with all of my heart anyone can overcome a porn habit, especially when someone is helping you along the way.”
Thank you. Thank you, thank you for sharing that with me. Like I said, it just helps get the message out there. I'm grateful for that. And I'm proud of you. I'm so proud of all of you who are making these big leaps and bounds with pornography.
Listen, it's you guys coming and doing the work. It's you being open to trying something new. It's you who are doing the hard work, I'm just talking. So good job and thank you.
And if you haven't left me a rating or a review yet, I would encourage you to do that. It just takes a quick minute there on iTunes. So thank you.
All right, so let's hop into the content for today. Which the title of this episode is The Number One Key to Quitting Porn. So are you curious? Are you curious what that is? Let me tell you. I'm going to tell you straight up.
The key to quitting pornography, keep it so simple. Very, very, very simple. All it is, is being willing to feel your feelings. In order to quit porn all you have to do is be willing to feel your feelings, that's it.
And anytime that you slipped up and viewed porn was just a moment where you weren't willing and able to feel your feelings. Period, that's it. So simple. I'm going to explain that here in this podcast episode. What that means, how to do that, all this good stuff.
So if you remember, many of us use pornography as a buffer. What I mean by buffer, if you haven’t heard me say that before, is it's an activity that we take to get rid of an emotion. Okay, so you feel stressed and you need to get rid of it, so you go and eat ice cream. Eating ice cream is a buffer. It's a buffering activity.
Pornography, many of us feel negative emotion and pornography gets rid of that negative emotion. Just for a minute, but it gets rid of it enough that we find ourselves being pulled and drawn towards it to escape emotions.
Okay, so we use pornography to buffer away from those emotions and we need to feel the feelings of the urge. The urges are a feeling and I've talked about that a lot here in this podcast. But that's really it. When it comes to quitting porn, all you have to do is be willing to feel your feelings.
And so if you're still slipping up and struggling with pornography it's really important that we take a step back and we look at what am I not willing to feel? What am I not good at feeling yet? And how can I get better at that? This is really simple. This concept is really simple, but it's not necessarily easy. If it was easy there would be no need for all of you guys to come in and join my program.
Which by the way, I wanted to mention this too, for those of you that came in and joined Overcome Pornography For Good for the month of July, welcome. And I'm so glad that you're here. And I'm really excited to see where this month takes us. And where the next three months take us, and then where the next six months take us.
I hope that you expect miracles, I want you to expect miracles. So welcome. And like I said, this is simple, not easy. If it was easy, there wouldn't be a need for the extra inner work that so many of you want.
Here's the problem, the problem is that no one taught us how to do this growing up. No one taught us how to feel our feelings growing up. In fact, the message has usually been that negative feelings are a problem. And that we shouldn't feel stressed. And we shouldn't feel overwhelmed. And we shouldn't feel lonely. If you're feeling stressed, or overwhelmed, or lonely, or whatever negative emotion it is, you've got to change something because something's gone wrong.
That's what the message has been and what I want to offer to you is maybe that message isn't true. Maybe that's not how humans work. Maybe we're supposed to feel negative emotion. But when you have this idea, this underlying idea that we shouldn't feel these negative emotions, it causes us to run away from those emotions with false pleasures.
This is where the buffering comes in. We feel stressed and we go get ice cream. We feel sad and we watch Netflix. We feel shame and we view pornography. Or we partake of alcohol, or a lot of video games, or a lot of sugar, all these things, all these false pleasures.
And a false pleasure is something that makes you feel better for a minute. But is kind of a lie because it just creates more negative effects in your life. And it doesn't help you feel better long term. They’re false pleasures.
But so many of us are so engrossed in these false pleasures because we have this idea that I shouldn't feel bad. I shouldn't feel bad, I shouldn't feel negative emotion. And when we do that, we resist these feelings. When we resist them, they make them stronger. When we resist them, they make them more painful.
Not only does this escape not last, but this escape actually usually causes it to be worse, these feelings that we're trying to run away from. So the way to quit porn and the way to quit any of these buffering activities is to feel your emotions. It's to feel the feelings that you're trying to buffer from.
And it's to feel those urges that are coming up that are telling you to view porn. The urge is just the desire, right? Feel the desire, allow it to be there. Feel it instead of answering it, instead of getting into it, and instead of resisting it.
It's like this book, how many of you have read Bear Hunt? It’s, “We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day. We're not scared.” I read it to my kids all the time and I love it. And it goes, “Oh no, mud. Really sticky, gooey mud. We can't go over it. We can't go under it. Oh no, we've got to go through it.” And that's the main message through the whole book is we've got to go through it. We've got to go through it. We've got to go through it.
And it's the same with our emotions. So think about this in a children's book. Oh no, sadness. Can't go over it. Can't go under it. We've got to go through it. Oh no, stress. We can't resist it. We can't avoid it. We've got to go through it. And that's how you get through it. And that's how you get to the other side is by going through it.
And this is true with anything. This is true with any emotions, grief. Are you feeling grief? Maybe someone passed away. You need to go through that. We can't resist it. We can't avoid it. That's going to cause us to go and buffer with a lot of false pleasures that will create more negativity in our life. And it will cause us to resist the emotion and to feel more pain. We need to go through it.
Regret, we have to go through that. We have to feel that. Shame, we can't avoid it. We can't resist it. We've got to go through it. Stress, lonely, worry, can't resist, can't avoid. We have to go through it. And I promise you that learning how to do this will completely change your life.
There are a couple big principles in life coaching that totally changed my life. The first one was that your thoughts create your feelings. That really blew my mind. And I know for some of you, you might think, “Oh, that's really simple.” But maybe some of you haven't heard that before, that your thoughts create your feelings. When I really dove into that, that blew my mind.
And the second thing that just completely changed my life was this idea of feeling and going through your emotions. And allowing your emotions to be there and processing them and feeling them. So let's talk about how. How do we do this?
Okay, we kind of get the principle that we need to do this and that it's helpful. But how? How do we do this? And again, it's simple, but it takes practice and it's not always easy. So how you do it is you just go into your body. You find the sensations and you breathe into them. You want to get out of your head a little bit, out of all the thoughts, and focus and recenter into your body.
This is mindfulness. This is just a practice of mindfulness. And if you see all the studies about pornography and how to quit pornography, the studies show that mindfulness is one of the most effective and best ways. Probably the most effective and the best way to quit viewing pornography.
And it's just this simple skill. This is the simplest way I can describe it to you is feeling your feelings. Going into your body, finding the sensations, and breathing into them.
So this is a really important principle for you. Feelings are completely harmless. So many of us are afraid of our feelings. I don't want to feel lonely. I don't want to feel stressed. I don't want to feel shame. But feelings are completely, completely harmless.
Resisting your feelings is harmful. Resisting your feelings can get you in trouble. Resisting is not willing to feel the feelings. But the feelings themselves are completely harmless. And your brain gets really confused. Your brain thinks that these feelings are a negative thing.
When I ask my clients, “Okay, you were feeling sad, why is that a bad thing?” They’re like, “Well, it just doesn't feel good.” I’m like, “Why is not feeling good a bad thing?” And we dive into it even a little bit more like, what does it feel like? It feels tight, it feels heavy. Why is tight and heavy a bad thing?
Anyways, I don't want to go too much into that and get distracted. But just simply your brain gets confused and interprets feelings as a negative thing. When in reality, that's just an interpretation of your brain. It’s just an interpretation of those feelings by your brain, that these negative feelings are bad.
They're not really, it's just what your brain is thinking about them. Because here's the thing, this is another big principle. Listen up, feelings are just vibrations in your body. That's all a feeling is. It's just a vibration in your body, period.
So think about what it feels like to be happy. Think about what your body feels like to be happy. You might describe it, and everyone's going to describe it a little bit differently, it feels a little bit different to everyone. But you might describe it as lightness. And it feels bouncy in your chest, and it feels open.
And then think about what is the vibration in your body when you feel stressed? For me, when I feel stressed it's in my gut, and it feels a little bit tight. And in my throat, it feels a little bit tight. You can do this with every single feeling. What is the vibration when you feel anger? And here I am with my podcast mic, I'm sitting here and I'm going into my body.
What does anger feel like to me? To me, anger feels super tight.
It feels very heavy. And it feels a little shaky. And I feel it in my hands. And I feel it in my chest. And I feel it in my throat. But that's all. That's all it is.
What does it feel like to be lonely? What does it feel like to be sad? What does it feel like to grieve? All of these emotions are just vibrations in your body, period. That's it. Nothing else.
A feeling is just a vibration in your body. And so if you can learn how to stop and feel those vibrations, just feel them, and breathe into them, and be curious like, “Oh, this is so fascinating. This is what sadness feels like. This is what anger feels like. This is where I'm feeling this in my body.” Instead of avoiding them.
If you can learn how to do that you will be able to quit pornography. It's that simple. The only thing keeping you from quitting pornography is emotions that you aren't willing to feel. Because when you're not willing to feel those emotions, you get rid of them by viewing porn.
Think about this, a lot of you use pornography as a buffer from shame. You're not willing to feel shame, it feels too bad. And so you go and look at pornography to get rid of the shame for a minute. Or stress. How many of you have a really stressful day, you're like, “I just need some relief from the stress.” And so you go look at pornography for a minute. It's because you're not willing to feel the stress.
And this is very different from other ways that you've learned to handle these emotions, right? Other ways that you've learned to handle these emotions, go and exercise and do something to feel better. And I mean, there's a place for that, totally. I'm all about lowering your stress when you can.
But first we need to learn how to feel it, not just make it go away. When we're trying to make it go away that's when we start buffering. That's when we get into trouble. Okay, so again, the only thing keeping you from quitting pornography is emotions that you aren't willing to feel.
Maybe that emotion is desire. Those urges, that desire to view pornography. It gets uncomfortable, and then you're like, “I don't want to feel this anymore. I don't want to feel this urge anymore.” So you go look at porn and it gets rid of the urge.
Or resentment. Some of us look at pornography as a buffer from resentment. You're feeling resentful towards someone and you're just so sick of it. You don't want to feel that anymore. And so you go and look at pornography to get rid of it.
All right, that's it. So you see how simple that is? Do you see how important that is to understand? And here's the thing, a lot of us think we need relief from our emotions. But you don't need relief from your emotions, you need relief from the resistance of your emotions.
Imagine, I think I might have mentioned this on the podcast before but resisting as holding a beach ball underwater. When you're holding a beach ball under water, what happens? There's a lot of pressure, it gets really hard to hold under there. The deeper you hold it, the harder it is to hold it down. And then it just pops up.
That's exactly what it's like when you're resisting your emotions. You don't need relief from the emotions, you need relief from the resistance of your emotions. Your emotion, just like a beach ball, can sit there on the top of the water and just go back and forth, and back and forth. And you can feel it. It’s when you're holding it under and resisting it that it becomes really difficult.
But like I said, a lot of us haven’t practiced doing that. And a lot of us haven't been taught how to do that. That's why it doesn't come super naturally to us yet. It will. It will become very natural for you to do the more you practice.
And in fact, I want to open up your mind to the reality that this isn't just the key to accomplishing quitting pornography. But this is the key to accomplishing anything great in your life. It really is. This willingness to feel your emotions won't just help you quit porn. It will help you do anything great you want to in your life.
In fact, I attribute this skill of feeling my emotions to all the success and growth that I've had in this business. And I've had a lot of success and growth here. And people will ask me, “Well, what did you do? What did you do?” And I can tell them all my strategies. Really my biggest strategy is just give as much value as I can to you guys and give you guys as much goodness as possible. That's really my big strategy.
But behind all of that is my willingness to feel emotion. I'm really good at feeling scared. And instead of just giving into the scared, like following through with what I say I'm going to do. I'm really good at being willing to feel embarrassed. I'm willing to feel embarrassed. And I'm willing to feel rejected. And I'm willing to feel failure. And all of these things that has allowed me to take action in my business to help a lot of people quit viewing pornography.
This is the key to finding a partner. If you're having a hard time finding someone to be with, and you want someone to be with, I want to encourage you to increase your capacity to feel rejected, to feel awkward, to feel the pain from a breakup. The more willing you are to feel those things, the quicker you'll find someone to be with.
The reason we don't put ourselves out there and date and ask someone out is because we don't want to feel rejected, and we don't want to feel awkward. We don't want to feel those emotions. What if you could feel all those emotions and be totally okay?
Yeah, it would suck and it would feel painful and it wouldn’t be fun. But that's how you go about finding someone you want to be with, is you go through all of those emotions. Can't go under it, can't go over it, got to go through it.
It’s the same with any health or fitness goals. You have to be willing to feel the pain and the suffering from following through with your meal plan or following through with your exercise plan. This skill of learning how to feel your emotions will allow you to accomplish great, great things in your life.
And again, that's why I tell my clients all the time, this is about so much more than quitting pornography. This is about learning how to reach your potential in all areas of your life. We're laser focusing in on porn right now, but you're going to be able to take all of this stuff and apply it everywhere else.
And offer yourself a lot of grace as you're learning this. I still find myself trying to avoid my feelings if I'm not paying attention. In fact, this just happened yesterday. After church yesterday I was feeling some negative emotion and some negative feelings. And I said to my husband, “Can you take the kids? I just need to go pray and meditate.”
And meditation is my big thing lately and I love it. And I went and I started praying and meditating with this agenda of getting rid of the negative emotions. And as soon as I started, I felt this inspiration say to me, “Nope, that's not why we're here. We're not trying to pray this feeling away. We're not trying to meditate this feeling away. That's not going to help you. You just need to allow this to pass through you today. You just need to let go. And you just need to feel it.”
And I did and it was so much better than the whole rest of the day when I was trying to avoid it and trying to resist it.
Okay, so if you find yourself wanting to view porn this week, I want you to ask yourself, number one, what am I feeling? Am I feeling an emotion that I'm trying to buffer from? Am I feeling stress? Am I feeling bad about myself? Am I feeling self-conscious? Am I feeling lonely? What am I feeling? Maybe you're just feeling an urge. Am I feeling some desire?
And then number two, am I willing to feel this feeling? Am I willing to feel this feeling without making it go away? And the more often that your answer is yes to that question, yes, I'm willing to feel this without making it go away, the quicker you'll be able to quit pornography for good.
All right you guys, have a great week. Thanks for being here. And 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.