Episode 106: Self-Love is Not Indulgence

Uncategorized Jan 23, 2023

Something that comes up a lot in the coaching we do over here is people mistaking self-love for indulgence. Self-love is super important when you’re working on your thoughts and feelings, but people sometimes think that operating from self-love means you can do whatever you want and cut yourself some slack. So, it’s time to talk about the difference between self-love and indulgence.

The truth is, self-love is not indulgence. Sure, cut yourself some slack when you need it, but indulgence is actually the opposite of self-love. Indulgence looks like hiding and avoiding because you’re not showing up for yourself with true self-love. So, where can you show yourself more love and less indulgence?

Tune in this week to discover where you’re choosing indulgence over self-love and the important differences between the two. I’m sharing how our brains find it so difficult to show ourselves compassion and some thoughts you can try to show up with more self-love when you need it most.

If you’re ready to do this work and start practicing unconditional commitment toward quitting your porn habit, sign up to work with me! 


What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why so many people get self-love and indulgence confused.
  • A story that models the difference between self-love and indulgence.
  • How our brains are naturally geared towards indulgence, not self-love.
  • Why self-love is the key to getting out of shame and judgment in a productive way.
  • How to start showing up with self-love when you need it most.


Featured on the Show:


Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 106, Self-Love is Not Indulgence.

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 this week. How’s everyone doing? I am feeling weird this morning. I might go on a little bit of a rant. I woke up and was just kind of pissy, and grumpy, and antsy. And a few things happened, just smaller things, but they just set me off. Just a few emails that I got, a few messages, a few just like little things that typically don’t bother me. But for some reason, this morning, I’m just a little pissed off.

And when I started my morning, I was like, oh crap, I need to feel better. I need to get out of this headspace so I can have a really great work day. And I tried for a moment. I did my journaling exercises. I did the model. Those of you who are in the program, you know the thought download, the models that I teach you. I do that. I practice what I preach. And I was doing that and what really came to me was like, you don’t need to feel better, okay? You don’t need to feel better.

I took a breath, and I was like, what does my body need? I really listened. Does it need more rest? Why am I so angry? What’s going on? Sitting here thinking, I was like, okay, well, I need to eat breakfast. I need to have a good breakfast. So I did take some time, took a little break, got some good breakfast, listening to my body, and there wasn’t really anything else that was coming up that it needed. Just needed to be kind of pissed off and angry.

And I was like, you know what? You know that feeling when you’re trying to make yourself feel better, but then you actually feel worse because you’re filling all the resistance and you’re trying to feel better, but it’s not working. It feels maybe a little toxic, like toxic positivity. You’re like, I just feel like crap. That’s where I got to this morning.

I was like, I just feel like garbage, and that’s okay. And I guess I’m just going to do my work. I’m just going to follow through with my calendar while I’m feeling a little bit pissed off. And so I turned on, there’s like some Spotify podcast, like some effing angry Spotify podcast that I turned on, and it’s just like kind of in the background. I’m just like letting myself feel these emotions that are coming up while I’m doing my work.

And interestingly, and really not that interesting, especially if you’ve been listening to me and you understand these tools and these concepts. But as I’m doing this, the anger, the pissed off, it’s still there. But it’s not as strong as it was when I was trying to resist it and trying to make it go away.

What I’m doing is I’m processing this emotion while I’m getting my work done. Processing isn’t trying to make it go away. Processing is letting it be there, listening to my body, looking at my mind, and seeing if there’s anything that’s coming up that I need to work through. Sometimes there is, and sometimes there’s not. Sometimes it’s just I just need to feel this way today. I just need to feel this way for a few hours.

And when something does come up, we’ll look at it and we’ll work through it. But I just need to sit down, and I need to do my work while I’m a little bit pissed off today. And while I’m a little bit antsy and I don’t really want to and what I want to do is, you know, there’s that part of me that just wants to go lay in bed and bury under the sheets and just ignore everything for the rest of the day.

Now, sometimes that is the answer for what I really do need. Today though, I can tell by listening to my body and this skill that I’ve had and that I’ve developed, I know that me just going and laying in my bed is hiding, running away, and it’s not actually going to help me feel better. What’s going to help me is getting my work done and following through with my plan.

At the beginning of the week, I made a plan for what I was going to do every day. So thank goodness I did that, so I don’t need to try to make this plan when I’m feeling this way. I’ve already made those decisions. Now it’s just sitting down, following through with it while I’m feeling like garbage.

How I do this is I breathe into it. I stop and I notice it, and I call it out, hey pissy feeling, hey anger, hey antsiness, I’m feeling you today. Yeah, I’m angry because of this and this and this and this and this. Breathe. You’re there, all right, let’s get to work.

And what I’m finding that’s really interesting is I can use this energy to get work done. When I am feeling antsy and anxious and a little bit angry, there’s a lot of energy there. And I don’t want to push it away. I want to use it in ways that are going to help me.

So what that means is I’m actually being pretty productive. And I’m walking on my treadmill, and I’m listening to some angry music and punching the air as I need to. And then just getting work done, getting shit done because I’m using this energy instead of pushing it away. And I’m processing it instead of pushing it away, okay?

I think it’s really fun that I get to record this podcast while I’m going through this so that I can, you know, there are lots of questions that come up about processing emotions and processing urges. This is something that I have been practicing for years and years and years and years, so it feels a lot more natural to me than it did when I was first starting.

I’m a lot better at listening to that intuition, listening to that body, than I was a while ago. It’s something that you really need to practice. But I just want to share that example with you before we get into the topic today. You know, this really could have been the topic today, but there’s something I want to talk about a little bit more.

So from this space, I want to talk about the topic of self-love is not indulgence, okay? As I’m thinking about this, this is a really good topic that relates a lot to how I’m experiencing my day today. So self-love versus indulgence. Self-love is not indulgence.

And this comes up in coaching a lot. Me and my coaches, so I have four coaches who work for me, and we have a meeting every week, and we talk through clients, and I do any training that I need to do, and we do like all the behind the scenes stuff. And then we make sure that we’re doing the best things for our client as possible.

Anyway, so one thing that came up in our meeting last week is one of my coaches said sometimes people really mistake self-love for indulgence. And when they hear us talk about you really need to make sure that you’re having self-love and that you’re operating your model out of self-love or a similar emotion, they think what we’re saying is do whatever you want and cut yourself some slack.

That’s not what we’re saying. And, I mean, cut yourself some slack. Yeah, maybe do that when it’s helpful and useful. But self-love is not doing whatever you want, indulging in whatever you want. Just be kind to yourself and do all the things. If you want all the ice cream, go eat a gallon of ice cream, and that’s fine. Just love yourself.

We’re not talking about indulgence here, okay? No, no, no. Self-love is not indulgence. In fact, indulgence is the opposite of self-love. It’s usually hiding and avoiding. And you’re hiding and avoiding because you don’t like yourself. You’re not doing things that are good for yourself. You’re not really experiencing this true self-love.

The example that I want to share is my kids. I love my kids more than anything in this freaking world. They are so important to me. I want the best for them. I’m trying to be the best parent. I’m trying to study as much as I can. I’m trying to regulate my emotions the best I can.

I try to live my life in a way that models to them what a beautiful life looks like so they know they can have it, especially for my daughter. I want her to know that she can do anything that she wants and that she can have a beautiful life. And that having a family does not mean that your life ends. That’s so important for me to model to her. I think that’s one of the most beautiful things I can give to her. Anyways, rant.

But because I love my kids, I do not let them do whatever they want to do. Because I love my kids, I’m not going to let them play in the road, even if they want to play in the road, okay? Because I love my kids, I’m not going to let them go over to someone’s house that I don’t know. If I don’t know those people, if I don’t feel safe with them, if I don’t trust them to have my kids at their house, I’m not going to let them go over there.

Because I love my kids, I’m going to teach them healthy outlets for sexuality, not pornography. I do not want my kids viewing pornography because of the damaging effects it can have on their self-esteem and their development while they’re growing up. And the way that they view sex and their ideas of sex, I don’t want them to learn about sex from pornography.

So even if they become teenagers and that’s what they want, I’m going to teach them other healthy outlets, and I’m going to have some stuff on my devices to help protect them as they’re under my home. And then I’m going to use all these tools that I teach you guys, and I’m going to teach them, okay?

Because I love my kids, I’m not going to let them watch TV all day even though they want to. Trust me, they beg for TV all day. Now, I do let them watch some TV. I’m not super strict on it. I don’t want to create this deprivation mindset in them where they feel like they never get TV, and so then they just binge TV when they do get the chance.

I’m not going to do that. But I also know when I don’t limit screen time. They are grumpy, they feel icky, and they just don’t feel good. And so because I love them, I want to help them learn how to listen to their bodies. And their bodies don’t want TV all day.

Because I love my kids, I’m not going to just let them eat candy for dinner. I will offer them some candy with dinner. I will offer them a little bit of dessert, but I’m not just going to give them a plate full of candy, even though that’s what they want. I’ll give them a little piece and then I’ll also give them chicken and vegetables and teach them about listening to their body and what their body wants and how to best take care of their bodies, okay?

Self-love is not indulgence. Self-love is not indulgence. There are two parts of our brain. There’s our lower brain and our higher brain. That lower brain is that part of the brain that I think my kids experience a lot as they’re growing, right?

Responding to urges, looking for pleasure, seeking pleasure, and avoiding pain. That’s its only job is to seek as much pleasure and avoid as much pain as it can. It responds to the urges. It looks for dopamine. And so that lower part of your brain is the part of your brain that wants to watch TV all day and view all the pornography and eat all the junk.

The higher brain is the adult human brain. It’s the thinking ahead. It’s the planning. It’s the rationalizing and conceptualizing. True self-love is coming from the higher brain, not from the lower brain, okay? True self-love is coming from this part of you, this human brain that can think ahead and plan and rationalize and conceptualize. It’s not coming from this lower brain that is only trying to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Self-love is not indulgence.

Now, here’s where we get into trouble. We get into trouble when our higher brain is responding out of a lot of shame and judgment and guilt. So when we’re really judging that part of ourselves that wants to seek pleasure, when we slip up and we fall into shame spirals because we’re so angry at ourselves and judging ourselves and full of shame. And when we’re beating ourselves up, and you might think –

This is what I see a lot in sessions and group calls and with clients, is people are like, I don’t have a ton of shame. Like I’m not sitting here thinking that I’m the worst ever. But there are a lot of small ways that the shame and the guilt and the judgment comes up that’s keeping them from really experiencing self-love.

And so it’s really useful, those of you that are in the program, come and get coached on this and really look into it. Don’t just be like, “Oh, I don’t experience that.” Because you probably do a little bit, and we want to help you really get out of that.

So example of today, for me, I wake up, and I’m feeling a little pissed off, I’m feeling antsy. Self-love would not look like me saying screw it, eff it all. I’m going and laying in my bed and watching TV all day, okay? Some days it might look like that.

One example I can think of was last year. Last year I had a really difficult year. I was experiencing a lot of trauma responses that I’d never expected. You know, maybe someday I’ll do a whole podcast episode on sharing the story. I think I’m maybe finally in a place where I can share it and talk about it.

But it was really, really a difficult year for me. And it’s actually what led me to work with Lindsay and then go through her trauma certification for coaches. It’s made me such a better coach. It’s helped me so much. Looking back, I can see how I needed to go through all this trauma because it taught me so much. And it’s helped me really get better at being a coach and healing and helping other people, which is my life mission.

Anyway, so last year, I was really going through it, and it was like I couldn’t sleep at night. Lots of anxiety attacks, not being able to breathe, and so some days I would wake up, and I just felt very like I wasn’t going to be able to function. And even though I had my plan for the day, I would listen to my body and like my body needs to just do nothing today, and I just need to go rest, and I need to turn everything off and just focus on regulating and breathing and give myself a break because I didn’t sleep at all last night.

Okay, so sometimes that is self-love. For today I could tell by listening to my body that it was a different experience. It was something different that was going on. Going and laying in bed was not going to be what I needed. So I really want to make sure that you understand that sometimes it is what you need.

Really, I think that’s very important that we be very kind and open and we listen to our bodies, but just out of indulgence and not out of healing, that’s when we get into trouble, okay? So that wouldn’t have helped me today.

It also wouldn’t have helped me to think, what is wrong with me? Why am I so angry? This is not a big deal. This is just some small messages. I don’t need to be pissed off about this. I haven’t been pissed off about this stuff in a long time. Like, just get over it. Get over it, Sara. Come on. You’re better than this. Don’t be angry. Just be happy, right? That is also not self-love. That is shame. That’s shame, and that’s ignoring your emotions and ignoring the human experience.

So instead, what I’m doing is I’m honoring those feelings. I’m noticing them. I’m breathing into them. I’m providing a little bit of an outlet for them by listening to some music that’s angry music, letting them be there. I’m not making any, like I’m not going to respond to those messages in this place. I’m going to get into a better headspace. But I’m also not trying to push those feelings away so that I can hurry and respond to them. I’m letting them be here, and I’m following through with my plan because that’s how I show myself love today.

I show myself love by honoring my emotions and then following through with what I say I’m going to do. This is very similar to what I teach with pornography, right? We feel the urges, and we really want it. That lower brain part is screaming, you need it, you need it, you need it, you need it, you need it, you want it, you want it, you want it, you want it. And we can honor that, and we can look at it.

We’re not going to try to push it away. We’re not going to say shut up. What is wrong with you? You’re so gross. We’re going to just notice it, breathe into it, and okay, I made the decision I’m not going to look at porn today. So I’m just going to feel this antsiness, feel this urge, breathe into it, and go on with my day. And it’s going to be a little bit uncomfortable.

So today, I would prefer to feel light and happy than to feel a little bit antsy and pissed off. But that’s just not the reality of my day. The reality of my day is I’m just going to feel a little pissed off and a little bit antsy. And so even though it’s a little bit more uncomfortable, I’m still going to go ahead and get my stuff done while feeling this discomfort.

When we get into trouble is when we start thinking that life is you’re supposed to feel good all the time. Okay? You’re not supposed to have urges. You’re not supposed to feel any negative emotion. The truth is, and I’ve done a whole podcast episode on this in the past, the truth is that life is 50/50. 50% positive and 50% negative.

And so when you have days that are crappy, instead of thinking, “Oh no, what’s wrong? I need to fix this, I need to fix this,” just let yourself have the crappy day, and you’re going to get through it so much quicker than if you were trying to change it, okay? 50/50. Life is 50/50. If you really grasp this, understand this, and live into this, your life will become so much easier, I promise.

So some days, we just have days where we feel urges. Some moments we have moments where we feel urges. We do not need to give in to them in the name of self-love. That is not self-love. That is indulgence. Self-love is recognizing, breathing, honoring that feeling, not shaming that feeling, and following through with what you really want.

One of the most beautiful questions and ways to think about this is to ask yourself, in 20 years, what am I going to be thanking myself for now? So thinking about yourself 20 years from now, that future version of yourself is going to be saying thank you to you right now for doing what you say you’re going to do, doing the hard things.

Here’s what I mean, right now I look back at myself three years ago, and I say to her, “Thank you so much, Sara three years ago, for doing stuff when you didn’t want to do it, following through with your goals, investing in yourself. Thank you for doing the scary, hard thing, talking about porn when you were scared of how people were going to look at you.

Thank you for doing all of that because you have this incredible life now because of what you were willing to do and the discomfort you were willing to go through back then.” That is self-love. That is self-love, going through discomfort to get where you want to be so that your future self will look back and say thank you so much for going through that discomfort so that we can be where we are today.

This is key, that is self-love. Self-love is looking forward, making that future self-proud, loving your future self more than you love that lower brain part that just wants the quick dopamine fix, right? And in the process, never ever, ever beat yourself up.

So one thing that I look back and I’m like, oh, I’m so grateful, younger self, thank you for doing this. One thing that I’m so grateful to her for doing is refusing to beat herself up for any mistakes or shortcomings. You can make that promise to yourself right now. True self-love is refusing to beat myself up for any mistakes and shortcomings. And true self-love is prioritizing that future self over the self right now that just wants the quick dopamine fix. That is self-love. Self-love is not indulgence.

All right, you guys. Have a great week. We’ll talk to you next week. Bye-bye.

I want to invite you to come and listen to my free class, How To Overcome Pornography For Good Without Using Willpower. We talk about how to stop giving in to urges without pure willpower or relying on phone filters so that you can actually stop wanting pornography.


We talk about how to stop giving up after a few weeks or months. And spoiler alert, the answer isn’t have more willpower. And then lastly, we talk about how to make a life without porn easily sustainable and permanent.


If you’re trying to quit porn, this class is a game changer. So you can go and sign up at Sarabrewer.com/masterclass, and it is totally free.

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