We all have on a particular set of lenses that create our perception of life and the world. Much like actual lenses in the glasses that we wear, they tint everything we see. Life always looks a little different in differently colored ones, as well as when we take them off completely.
Right now, it might feel so true to you that you can’t overcome your pornography habit, that you’re terrible with money, or that you suck at keeping a schedule. But seeing life through this lens is only giving you more evidence of how this is your reality, so what if we tried on different ones?
Join me this week as I introduce you to a mind-blowing concept that will teach you how to see yourself and the world around you differently. You don’t have to believe what your lenses are showing you right now, and you can choose to switch them up if you want, and I’m showing you how.
You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 44, Lenses.
Welcome to the Overcome Pornography For Good podcast where we take a research-based, trauma informed and results focused approach to quitting porn. This approach has been revolutionary and changed thousands and thousands of lives. I’m your host, Sara Brewer.
Hey, you guys, welcome to the podcast episode this week. I am so glad you’re here. I have been recording myself on camera when I’m doing my podcast because I want to create highlight videos for you guys. So make sure you’re following me on Instagram.
By the time this podcast is released we might have one of those up, if not it will be a couple weeks or pretty soon that we’ll have those highlight videos up. And I’m laughing because in this video of me recording my podcast there is a kitten on my shoulder.
My sister fosters kittens, cool, right? And she asked me to watch her new foster kitten for a couple hours. And I said yeah, she can just hang out with me while I work, while I do my podcast, and do some other work. And she just loves my shoulder, she won’t get off my shoulder and she’s just sitting there purring, hanging out on my shoulder and it’s honestly the sweetest thing ever.
So when you’re watching this podcast highlight video, you’ll just see this little kitty hanging out on my shoulder. And you might hear a little bit of meowing. I think there was a little meow when I was introducing the number and the title of this podcast. Honestly, I’m fine with a little meow here or there.
So that’s what we’re doing tonight, we’re recording a podcast with a little kitty on our shoulder. She’s actually so cute, she’s only like eight ounces. Tiny, can barely walk, is just learning how to walk, like stumbling around. So cute. Anyways, so that’s our guest today, is this little kitty.
Before we dive into our topic today which is lenses, I want to talk about our lenses and this idea that can help you in your pornography recovery. I want to share this great review that was left here on the podcast.
It says, “Sara, me and a number of guys have found you through the app, Brainbuddy.” I’m assuming it says Brainbuddy, he spelled it Brianbuddy. Maybe it’s Brianbuddy but it sounds like it’s Brainbuddy. “It brings guys and some girls together who want to quit porn, masturbating, or both.
The app is helpful, but armed with your podcast we feel invincible. Your gentle tone, shame free approach, and honest truths have made breaking this 25 year habit much easier than I thought. Thank you for what you do, it means the world to so many people.”
Thank you so much for this review, I so appreciated that. And I just cracked up and smiled a little thinking you guys listening to my podcast together and sharing and connecting over this app, Brainbuddy. I’ve heard a couple things about it, I’ve heard that it’s a pretty good one. So maybe go check out Brainbuddy if you’re looking for a community of people trying to do the same thing that you’re doing.
You know, and I’m so proud of you guys too, when I read stuff, you know, “Breaking this 25 year habit much easier than I thought” my heart just swells with a little bit of pride like look at you. Look at what you’re doing with your life. Look at you breaking this 25 year habit. That’s not an easy thing and I hope you feel so proud of yourself, and I hope that you really celebrate what an amazing feat that is.
And I hope that you talk about it, I hope that you talk about it with people. I know pornography, sometimes we feel shame around it. But honestly a lot of people are so afraid of it and feel a lot of shame about it and feel like they’re never going to be able to quit because people don’t talk about it when they are able to quit.
There are so many people out there who have quit porn and unfortunately, we just don’t talk about it. So when people get into, they think, “Oh no, I’m never going to be able to quit.” Because all they hear are the stories of people who haven’t been able to quit. So if that resonates with you, if you’re feeling to go and share it with someone somehow, I encourage you to do that.
In fact, that’s been on my mind a lot about the podcast, is inviting some guests, inviting some old clients, inviting some members of the program to come and share their stories. I really need to do that. You know what, I really need to do that, I’m going to put that on my calendar and my list to get on that.
So let’s talk about our topic today which is lenses. So this is just a concept that teaches you how you see the world and how to see the world and how to see the world a little bit differently. We all have these lenses that we look at the world through.
Think about glasses, like the lenses through our glasses. When I work, I wear these blue light protection glasses that help my eyes be protected from the negative effects of blue light. Sunglasses, we’ll wear sunglasses, and we’ll see the world differently when we wear sunglasses.
In Hawaii, when I was in Hawaii in October, I love my sunglasses but every time I took them off, I was just amazed at how much more vibrant and bright the world was. And I was almost like, “Man, I shouldn’t be wearing these sunglasses.” If it didn’t hurt my eyes so much I would have them off all the time.
There are those colored glasses, have you guys seen those? All these different colors and you see everything through these different color tints. So if you put on the red ones, you see everything a little bit red, in a red tint, or a green tint, or a blue tint.
I’ve heard people say it can help with your mood just depending on what mood you want to feel. If you’re trying to feel more tranquility in your life, put on the blue lenses for the day and it helps your mood. I don’t know if that’s true, I haven’t tried them before.
There are all these different lenses, and you see the world differently depending on what lens you have on your face. So this also applies to how we see the world. We all have these lenses on, these beliefs that create our perception of life, and our perception of the world, and our perception of ourselves, and our perception of other people.
So some of us have this lens on that people are evil and the world is a really wicked, scary place. And if you have that lens on, you’re going to see everything through that belief system. You’ll find evidence for it everywhere. Just like if you had blue glasses, you would see everything a little bit blue. Everything that you see happening in the world will be more evidence for this lens that people are evil, and the world is a really horrible place.
If you have the lens that the world is good place and people are mostly good and trying to do the best that they can, you’re going to see everything through that lens. When you watch the news, you’re going to find evidence for that. When you’re on social media you’re going to find evidence for that. When you see tragedies, you’re going to see the tragedy and then you’re going to see all the good people helping the people in this tragedy.
It’s pretty simple idea, but really life changing. I had a client who said, “I’m a failure.” We were coaching because his main belief about himself was I’m a failure. He gave me all these reasons, all these facts. I haven’t quit porn. my wife won’t connect with me. I hate my job. Telling me all these reasons that he’s a failure.
And he listed all these out and I said to him, “Okay, now can you give me any reasons that you are really successful?” And he stopped and I could see this little shift, almost like he was shifting and putting on a different lens. And he gave me some other reasons, well I am a leader in my work, I have a higher position. I provide really well for my family. I’m a great dad. I really love my kids. I wrote a song, I’m pretty creative and I wrote this song that people really like.
Isn’t that just so fascinating that his perception of himself could be altered so quickly as soon as we changed that lens from, I’m a failure to I’m successful. So for you I want you to think about that. Are you looking at your life through the lens of I suck and I’m a failure? Or are you looking at your life through the lens of I’m successful and I’m doing pretty good? You will be able to find evidence for either, I promise you. I promise you.
And it's really fascinating, people who on the outside seem to have very successful lives sometimes will still see their lives through this lens of I am a failure. And even though they have the job, they have the house, they have the family that looks really successful from the outside, in their mind they see themselves as a failure. Because that's the lens that they have on, that's what they're seeing their life through.
It doesn't matter what is going on in your life, you can find evidence for either of those facts, it just depends on what you're looking through. What belief are you looking through? Not only that, but the belief that you're looking through, the lens that you have on creates your reality. Keep that in mind, we'll talk about that a little bit more in depth. But your lens it's not only how you see stuff, but it's also what you create.
So some other lenses that might exists that I've heard before there's the lens of it's really hard to work out. You find all this evidence for why it's so hard to work out. This is one that I've had and that I've been working really hard on.
I've talked about it a little bit on the podcast before, but one thing I'm working through is just a little bit of a nutrition and a fitness journey, some goals I have there. And I've hired a coach and I'm doing a lot of inner work on that.
So there's this lens it's really hard to work out and you see a lot of evidence for that. But also some people have this lens on it's really easy to work out and I really love it, and it's my escape. And working out is an amazing thing instead of working out is a really difficult hard thing.
People have money lenses. This is a huge one, lenses about money. People who are born into higher earners and have a little bit more money growing up, they tend to make that same amount of money or more money as they get older because their belief system around money, because of their lens about money.
Their belief system is yeah, six figures is a pretty average salary, and most people can make that. Because they're seeing evidence for that everywhere, they create that. And it's a lens that they were born into so it's a little bit easier for them.
It’s so fascinating, I love thinking and studying about money and money beliefs. And that was something that really stood out to me when I was studying it is that people who are born into more money usually make more money. Not just because it's given to them, but because their beliefs about it is that it's doable, and they believe money is good, it's easy to make this amount, and then they create that reality.
An example, a personal example for me, when I first started getting into coaching and started learning about this concept, I remember being blown away at how just seeing my lens for what it was. So my lens was, I suck at keeping a schedule. And I thought that and, I found evidence for everywhere, and I just believed that it was true.
I just believed I suck at keeping a schedule. And I was talking to a coach on it, and I was telling her the examples, I was like, “Yeah, I didn't follow through with my homework schedule.” This is back when I was in college. “I didn't work out when I said I was going to.” I gave her all this evidence for why I suck at keeping a schedule. Just these lenses on is all these reasons.
And then she asked me, “Well, is there any evidence that you're good at keeping a schedule?” And then I thought about it. And it was honestly like me taking off those lenses and putting on this lens of I am good at keeping a schedule.
And I saw, I looked through my calendar and I saw I kept at least 80% of all the commitments I make to myself. At least 80% of the things I put on my schedule, I do. And I was just blown away because I was like, “What?” I sincerely, sincerely believed I sucked at keeping a schedule. But when I looked at the actual facts, I was doing 80% or more, that is not sucky. That is like passing B grade.
And that was an example for me where I could switch that lens pretty quickly. It just took that coach showing me how to do that, that I was able to change that pretty quickly. It's not always easy to change these lenses as quickly, but that one switched really quickly for me.
Our brains, they naturally want to put on these more negative lenses. So I want you to be really, really kind to yourself. You'll notice that your brain will naturally go to a place, like these lenses of seeing everything through the lens of something's gone wrong, I suck, I need to be really worried. And the reason for this is it's just our survival instinct in our brains, it's trying to keep us safe.
So be really kind to yourself, as you notice this. Don't beat yourself up for being like, “Oh my gosh, all my lenses are so negative about myself.” There's nothing wrong with you if most of your lenses are negative right now. But I want you just to start to notice and start to be aware of what lenses you're seeing your life through and what lenses you're living through.
Are you living through the lens of I'm a failure? Or are you living through the lens of I'm weak, or I'm not good enough? And then can you start to just see that it's your perception, it's the way you're seeing your life. It's not just a fact.
I have a client of mine who I'm thinking of that this was really, really life changing for. One of the prompts I asked him in one of our sessions, one of the questions I asked him was, what is the story of you? If you were to tell me the story of your life, what would you say?
And he told me his story and everything he said was from the lens of I'm not good enough. I was never enough for my dad. I never got the good enough grades. I didn't get into the school that I wanted to get into. I've always been trying to prove myself. I didn't go on a mission. I've always struggled eating with my whole life. I don't know how to quit porn. He just went on and on and on the story of himself.
And at the end, I showed him this. I was writing it all out on the board and I showed him this and I asked him okay, if you were to write a title for this story, story of me, how would you title this? He's like, I would title this story. I'm not good enough and never will be.
And then we talked about do you see how this is a lens? This is like a lens that you're seeing your life through. And is there a possibility to switch out this lens to try on something different and see your life and see your life story in another way? I asked him what else could be true about your life? What else could be true about your story?
He came up with a brand new story, he kept everything– He didn't make up a new life. He left his life exactly the same, he didn't lie about his life, but he came up with a brand new story. I don't remember exactly what it was, but I can imagine it was something like I try hard. I work hard. I’m able to succeed in the things that are important to me.
If this is you, if you're really resonating with this idea, and if you've seen your life in one of these lenses, I want you to take some time to really journal and ask yourself, how else can I see my life? What do I want the story to be? And what is a more true and what is a more beautiful story than this current story I have about my life?
The thing about lenses is that if you aren't aware of them, you're going to believe them and you're not going to see that you really have a lens on. Sometimes you forget that you're wearing sunglasses for a couple hours, and you forget that you're wearing them. And then you take them off and you're like, “Oh yeah, the world doesn't look a little bit faded. The world looks this bright.” And you're like, “Oh yeah, I totally forgot.” And you forget the world looks like that.
Sometimes with these lenses that we have and these beliefs that we have on, we forget that they're not truth and they're not reality. It's just a way that you're seeing the world. But these lenses are not just pure, raw truth. It's not. I'm not good enough, it's not just truth. I'm a failure, it's not just truth.
You can't go in and prove that in a courtroom to someone. It's not like you can say, “I'm not good enough” And everyone in the world is going to agree with you and believe that. There might be a few people who believe it, but that's because of their lenses that they have on, it's not truth. It’s the way that you're choosing to see things.
That's why just being aware of these lenses can be so life changing. Now you don't have to just take all of your thoughts and beliefs them, but you can start to see how it's just perception instead of just truth. If we connect this to pornography, obviously, your lenses about pornography will create your reality with porn.
So think about what that is. What are your beliefs, what lenses are you seeing your porn habit through? For some of you it's this is too difficult to quit, and people don't really quit this. And this takes a long time to get over. If that's your lens, that's what you're going to create.
And maybe you could switch, maybe there's also a lens that this is absolutely doable. That quitting porn isn't as difficult as you've made it out to be in your mind. And that, of course, you can do it.
It's kind of like the lens it's too hard to work out, it's too hard to eat healthy. Some people totally have that perception. Some people totally have that lens. Other people have the lens that it's an easy thing. And you have to practice, and you have to get good at it, but it's not near as hard as we make it out to be in our minds.
There's the addiction lens. And I've talked about this a lot in my podcast, so if you haven't heard any of those episodes and if this is intriguing to you, I would encourage you to go listen to that. But that's why I don't use the word addiction very often. And I don't really talk about porn addiction very often. And I really challenge it in my clients if I can see that it's negatively impacting their progress.
And like I said, I go into depth in it in those other episodes. But the scientific community hasn't come to a consensus of whether or not you can become addicted to pornography. And I'm not saying there's not problematic use or even compulsive use, of course there is.
But looking at it as an addiction is also a lens that you get to choose whether or not to keep. If it's helpful for you, keep it. If it's keeping you stuck and keeping you feeling hopeless, you can also try on a different lens, a different way to think about your pornography habit.
I like the word habit instead of addiction, it seems to resonate a little bit more truthfully to my clients, calling it a habit rather than an addiction. So that's an option.
And then think about your lenses around sexuality. Your lenses not just around pornography, but around sexuality in general. A lot of people have this lens– And this is what our world has really ingrained into us is that men need X amount of sexual stimuli, and you shouldn't deprive yourself of sexual stimuli. And you shouldn't say no to sexual things because that's not good for our bodies.
When in reality that is a lens, that's not just true. And that creates this belief that okay, if I need this sexual stimuli, and if I'm not getting it from a person, whether that be from my spouse or whether that be because I'm single, then I have to get it from pornography. And that creates a really difficult lens to see through if you're trying to quit porn.
So you can try on a different lens there because what's true, you don't have to have sexual stimuli. Sex and wanting sex is not a shameful thing at all, it's not a bad thing at all. And it's a really good and healthy thing when used in good and healthy ways.
But you also don't have to have it, you don't have to have that stimuli. So it's not either I get this from a person, or I get it from pornography. There's also other options that it's okay not to have it right now.
So let's try to be a little bit more in control and a little bit more aware of the lens that we want to see our world through. You get to choose any lens that you want to see through. And this is what's so fun about it, you guys. Honestly, no one can tell you what you can believe, and no one can tell you what you can't believe.
If you want to start seeing the world through a crazy lens like it's easy to be super successful and people love me. And I'm able to create a lot of wealth. And I'm able to create amazing friendships. And I'm able to have everything that I want in life. You have permission to go and believe that and to start to see your world through that lens.
If you decide you want to put on the lens, I am a very successful person and I was born to be successful in every endeavor I take on. You get to do that. No one can tell you you can't look through that lens.
I once heard this teenage boy say– He was talking about high school, and he was talking about learning how to not be so self-conscious in high school. He said, “One day I just realized I could believe that people were thinking amazing things about me.”
He said, “I can choose to believe people are thinking amazing things about me or I can choose to believe that people are thinking negative things about me. Either way, I'm making it up in my head, and so I might as well just choose to believe that they're thinking amazing things about me.” What an awesome lens that is to live from.
You get to live from any lens that you want. I really want that to sink in for you. And you have nothing to lose from trying on some different lenses. So let me give you just four steps to change your lens. Some of you are like, “Okay, I know that I want to change my lens. How do I do it?” Here's four steps.
Number one is notice your current lens and call it out. So whether that be I'm living from a place of I'm not good enough or I'm a failure, I'm living from a place of porn is too hard to quit, call it out and just notice it.
Number two, find evidence that it's not just true. So you can do that just by flipping it on its head. So how is it true– If your lens is I'm not successful, like how is it true that I am successful? If it's I'm not good enough, how is it true that I am good enough? Is it that porn is too hard to quit, how is it true that porn is really easy to quit? And just play with that in your mind a little bit.
Number three is decide a better helpful lens. Decide what lens you actually want to live from. And then number four is to put it on. Just like you put on glasses, just like you put on sunglasses. Put it on and practice wearing this lens. Practice finding evidence to believe this new lens.
If you're a visual person like I am, it helps to even visualize, “Okay, for the next 10 minutes I'm putting on this different lens and I'm going to try to see everything through this lens.” Or for the rest of the day I'm going to try to see things through this lens. And you practice, practice, practice, practice. And the more you practice, the better you get at it, the easier it becomes.
One last thing I want to say about this is that in order to change your reality, you have to change the lens first. The first step in changing anything in your life is changing how you see it and changing how you see yourself.
So for example, this business, this coaching business that I have where I get to coach a lot of clients on quitting pornography, and I get to do a lot of work around this and creating content. This business that I love and that has become really successful for me, I first had to start wearing this lens and really practice believing that I could create this. And that I was a perfect person to help people quit porn.
And it took a lot of effort there in the beginning, especially, you know, I would get comments about how I'm young and how I'm a girl. And I still get just some really sexist comments on a lot of my ads and just sent to me. And it took work for me to– Instead of seeing that myself for a while, right, I did. I had that lens on where I'm either too young, or I'm the wrong gender to do this.
And then I was creating that reality for myself. So I had to switch my lens to I am the perfect person to do this, and people really want to hear from me. And after I put that lens on, then I was able to create it. And so it will be the same for you. You have to change your lens first before you create the new reality.
So many of you are trying to create something new so that you can believe in yourself. You're trying to quit porn so that you can finally feel good about yourself. Or you're trying to quit porn and as soon as you quit porn, then you'll really believe that you could do it. What I'm telling you is it's the opposite.
You have to practice believing that you can do it and then you'll create the reality of what you want. You have to believe that you can quit porn. You have to believe that it's something that you can do. And then you will create it. It can't work the other way; it never works the other way.
All right, you guys, I love you so much. Have a great week and we'll talk 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.