You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 33, The Power of Pain.
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. I'm so glad you're here. If you are new, I want to make sure that you are aware that there is a free training available for you. It's called How to Quit Viewing Pornography Even if You've Tried in the Past.
If you haven't listened to that training yet, if you haven't signed up for that, make sure you go and do that. It's awesome. You can find it on my website, just click on the top, it says free training. Go to sarabrewer.com, just click up there where it says free training and you can sign up.
What we talk about is, number one, how to stop relying 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.
That's something I hear often is, “Hey, I've been trying this for like 20 years, how do I know that I'm not just going to continue this cycle of quitting and then going back to it, and quitting and going back to it?” So we cover that.
And then number three, how to feel good about yourself while becoming someone who doesn't struggle with pornography. So again, go sign up for that if you haven't yet. sarabrewer.com/masterclass. Or just go to my website and click at the top where it says free training.
Today I want to talk about the beauty and the power of pain. And I've been thinking about this a lot because I have been going through a lot of pain. Just like inner turmoil and emotional pain. And I've been jokingly blaming it on the moon for a few months with my friends. Telling my friends that I'm struggling and I'm like, “Something's going on with the moon.”
I'm not into astrology, but I'm sure that people who are into astrology would say that the moon is in Sagittarius or something that makes it mean that we're just struggling. And it's funny because you know, so many people I've been talking to too, are just going through a lot of emotional turmoil, a lot of mental turmoil. And so we keep blaming it on the moon.
But it has been a pretty painful couple months for me. And I just hired a coach and I have an amazing coach. And we're processing so much emotion together, and it's so good. And it's so hard. And it's so painful. And it's also a little bit scary.
So I say this, you know, if you're struggling, you're not alone. All of the stuff that I teach you guys and that we work on in the program together, I really do it. I really, really practice what I preach, because it has helped me so much.
So, I'm thinking about this pain and this stuff that I'm going through. And I'm remembering a message that I got from a client recently. My client said, “I just hit 30 days without viewing pornography. And this is especially significant to me because those 30 days were some of the most painful and emotional days of my life. But because of this program I've been able to process those emotions and not buffer them. It hasn't been easy, and I've experienced some pretty miserable times, but I see my character changing.”
This client, he was going through a lot in his personal life. And whenever he came on the coaching calls, he would say, “I feel so bad. How do I stop feeling bad?” And my answer was always you don't. You don't stop feeling bad. You feel it, you let it be there. Because pain and learning how to feel pain is one of the most empowering and beautiful things that you could ever, ever, ever do.
And he saw this, before in his life he would feel that pain and then try to get rid of that pain by looking at pornography. And he's learned to stop doing that and it hasn't made it easier. But it's made it so much more empowering and really cleansing.
There's a difference between clean pain and dirty pain. So the pain that my client here was feeling was clean pain. That's why I told him, “Yeah, go and feel it. Don't try to make it go away.” If it was dirty pain, we would have tried to clean that up.
Now, clean pain is a healing kind of pain. It's pain that needs to be gone through. Feelings that need to be explored, feelings that need to be felt. Maybe grief, or loneliness, sometimes anger. I think of rain, clean pain is really refreshing, and restorative, and healing.
Dirty pain is self-destruction and self-sabotage pain. Sometimes when we think of someone who's in a lot of pain, we think of them as indulging and spending all their money, and watching tons of porn, and eating until they're sick. Right? This is dirty pain. And this dirty pain is actually you not feeling your pain, but it's you running away from your pain.
So it's the pain from running away from the clean pain. So you're feeling inadequate, and instead of feeling that inadequacy you run away from it by viewing pornography. You're feeling lonely, you're feeling bad, and you run away from that pain by viewing pornography. And it just adds more pain of the porn viewing, it's dirty pain.
Remember, this is called buffering. If you're new to the podcast, this is called buffering. Buffering is any activity that you use to avoid pain that creates more pain. So it's different for everyone. For some people, it's food for some people, it's over Netflixing or over shopping.
I'm not going to tell you everyone who over shops is buffering. The idea is if you're doing it to escape negative emotion, and if it's creating more dirty pain for you, then it's a buffer. And it's something we want to look at and get a handle on.
So many people get confused here and they think that their pornography habit is about their sexual appetites. Either I'm not getting enough sexually, or my sex drive is out of control. It's not though. It's really not. It's about emotional management. It's not about quenching your sexuality. You look at pornography because you're escaping emotion.
So you feel some kind of negative emotion, maybe stress and you go to porn. Maybe lonely and you go to porn. Maybe anxious and you go to porn. But the important thing to notice here is that it creates more pain, it creates more negativity. Now you're feeling stress and the negative effects from the porn use. Now you're feeling lonely and the negative effects from the porn use.
So that's what dirty pain is. And this dirty pain, this buffering pain isn't what I'm talking about. That beautiful life changing pain isn't buffering pain. This beautiful life changing clean pain is pain that comes from just being a human, and having human experiences, and a human brain.
Have you guys heard that term toxic masculinity? I'd be surprised if you haven't heard that. It's kind of a big word right now, toxic masculinity. It's this cultural pressure for men to behave in a certain way. So toxic masculinity encourages aggressiveness, dominance.
One message that you get with this toxic masculinity is that real men are stronger than their pain. Real men don't give into pain, maybe real men don't feel pain. How many of you were taught that? Maybe not directly, but how many of you kind of gathered that belief that real men don't feel pain and shouldn't be emotional?
That’s one of these ideas from toxic masculinity that's really harmful to men and harmful to society. Real men are stronger than their pain. This belief that real men, or women, are stronger than their pain will keep you from quitting pornography. It will keep you from actually feeling that pain so that you run away from it with pornography.
The key to quitting porn is to be willing to feel your emotions and it's simple, but not necessarily easy. It's so transformative and so beautiful, but it's not easy. And that toxic masculinity message that real men are stronger than their pain keeps you avoiding that pain.
So instead, I want you to be open to the truth that healthy individuals feel pain and use it to become stronger. Strong people feel pain, strong people use pain, strong people feel all of that emotion. Not strong people are stronger than their pain. Strong people are really intimate with their pain.
I want to introduce you guys to my new favorite song by Andy Grammer called Wish You Pain. It's so good. I'm obsessed with Andy Grammer, I've always loved him. But if you haven't listened to this song I really, really want you to pause the podcast right now. Seriously, pause it and I'll wait and go look up Andy Grammer Wish You Pain. Ask Siri to turn it on.
Maybe if I say it into my mic. Hey Siri, turn on Andy Grammer, Wish You Pain. See, it's turning on my Siri, maybe it turned on your Siri too. But seriously, take a minute, pause it, and go listen to that song. It's so good.
Okay, hopefully you've listened that song. If not, go listen to it after this podcast. I would play it here in the podcast, but I'm pretty sure that's breaking some of the rules, I'd probably get in trouble for doing that.
But this song, I'm not sure who it's written to. It sounds like it's written to like maybe a child or just someone that he really cares about. And here are some of the lyrics that he says in the song.
He says, “I hope you cry, and tears come streaming down your face. I hope this life traps you in more than you thought that you could ever take. I hope the help that you want never comes and that you do it on your own, because I love you more than you could know. And your heart, it grows every time it breaks. I know that it might sound strange, but I wish you pain. I love you more than you could even know. I've been here before and I just want to see you grow.”
Isn't that so beautiful? Pain is so beautiful. Pain is what makes us strong. Pain is what makes us human. So many of us think that what we want in life is just to be happy, right? How often have you heard that? I just want to be happy. I just want to be happy. And I really wonder if that's true. I wonder if we just want to be happy. Or I wonder if we just want to be human.
Because the more I think about it, the more I realize I don't want to just be happy. I want to be sad when it's time to be sad. I want to go through grief and inner turmoil to figure out my values, to figure out what I really believe in. I want to feel discipline and resistance, those are not happy emotions. Discipline and resistance are kind of painful, but that's what you need to feel in order to do hard, great things.
I don't want to just be happy. I want to be human and feel sad when it's time to feel sad. And feel grief when it's time to feel grief. I want you to think about all those stories that you love. You know, the really great stories, the really great movies. Think about your favorite movie or your favorite book.
I love the movie Warrior. Have you guys seen that one? If you haven't, you should go watch it. It's about the two brothers who end up boxing each other at the end of the movie. And what makes this story so beautiful – Seriously the first time I watched it, I think I just like sobbed for an hour afterwards. I loved it. It was such a feeling movie.
And what made that movie so amazing was all of the pain that they went through. It was pain, you know, with some of them battling substance abuse and pain from some of them battling family, relationships, and father relationship pain. And pain in their career fulfillment, and pain around money, and pain with this strained relationship with each other and with their brother. That's what makes this story so beautiful, is the pain.
And it's the same with your life. What will make your story so beautiful and your story so impactful, and your story so fulfilling is how you respond to your pain. So stop running from that pain with pornography. Stop running from that pain with overeating or over Netflixing or whatever it is. Stop running from it any use your pain, use it for your good.
Emotional pain is good. It helps you grow, and it can be so, so healing. Just like that pain from working out your muscles is so good and so good for you. It's the same with your emotional pain too.
And one other way I want you to try to think about this is ask yourself, what is my pain making possible for me? I recently did a meditation with Thomas McConkie, it's on his podcast. And that was the theme of the meditation was what is pain making possible for you?
And so if you question that for yourself – I love this question because it's not saying you have to love this pain, or you don't even have to be grateful for the pain yet. You don't have to like it, but you can be grateful for what the pain is making possible for you.
For example, the pain of not listening to your urges. That pain from wanting pornography and not giving it to yourself, that's painful. To feel that urge is painful, it doesn't feel good. And you don't have to love it and be grateful like, “Oh, I'm so glad that I'm feeling this pain. I'm so glad that I'm feeling this urge.” But you can ask yourself what is this pain making possible for me?
So that pain of not giving in to the urge is allowing you to develop more discipline and self-trust. It's allowing you to build your relationship with yourself. It’s allowing you to build your relationship with your spouse or allowing you to find a relationship that you want to be in long term.
And this is a question for you to really ponder on. So if you want to do this with me, I want you to go into your body right now. Ask yourself, what
pain are you feeling the most in your life right now? You can find where it's at.
Maybe it's stress. Maybe it's loneliness. Maybe it's fear. Okay, where are you feeling that pain right now in your body? And then ask yourself, what is that pain making possible for me? And just breathe into it. And sit with that question for a minute.
What is this pain making possible for me? If it's loneliness, maybe it's making possible for you to be more vulnerable, to find deeper connections. If it's fear, maybe that pain of the fear is telling you something that you need to know or telling you where you need to go or what you need to do. Or the pain of anger, maybe that's showing you your boundaries, giving you an opportunity to keep those boundaries or change those boundaries.
I had an experience with my coach last week where I just cry. I'm just a crier. And I was crying probably like most of the session. And I said to her at the end, I said, “I'm just going to cry and heal. And then cry and heal a little bit more. And cry and get a little bit better each time. And probably just cry a lot.” And she just said to me, she said, “Yes, and that is so beautiful.” And I was like, “It is. It is so beautiful.” This is so beautiful.
Everything about this process is so beautiful. And I know I've used that word so much in this podcast, it’s beautiful. But please, please be open to feeling that clean pain in your life. Please embrace that clean pain. And don't indulge in the dirty pain of running away from that. It will completely change your life.
All right you guys, thanks for being here. Have a great week, and we'll talk to you next week.
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.