When I discovered the work of coaching, everything I heard blew my mind. But one of the biggest lessons that completely changed my life is around how to really feel your feelings. Understanding this allowed me to change my life, and it’s going to help you overcome pornography for good.
As humans, we’re wired to do anything we can to avoid feeling our emotions, and this is exactly how a porn habit thrives. But if you listen closely this week and take action to stop fearing your feelings and instead be willing to truly feel them, the work of quitting porn becomes so much easier, and we’re taking a deep dive into how you can start this work right now.
Join me on the podcast this week as I share the seven steps I take my clients through to help them stop fearing their feelings and start feeling them instead. I’m sharing how our emotions play out when we resist them, how to gain awareness of those moments when you’re resisting, and why it’s impossible to quit porn if you’re afraid of experiencing the emotions that go along with this process.
You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 29, How to Stop Fearing Feelings.
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 guys, welcome to the episode this week. I'm so glad that you're here. This is a really big and fun week for me. I've just added some new members to my team. One of these new members is another coach to come and help me coach in Overcome Pornography for Good.
She's amazing and I want you guys to meet her. So I'll have to plan a time to get her here on the podcast episode. She has a lot of great insight around pornography and helping people quit pornography. She has some amazing training, some amazing background, great experience in mind body connection.
Which all ties into the mindfulness, how we're trying to quit porn using mindfulness and by being aware of our thoughts and just all of this great stuff. I'm really excited for you guys to meet her. That is what is happening in my world, is I am working on getting her all onboarded and working in the program. So that's pretty cool. Pretty fun over here.
Also, I don't know how many of you live in Utah, but I think anyone on the west coast, is it crazy how smoky the skies are? How smoky the skies have been for a long time? I mean, I'm assuming it's smoke. I guess I haven't really looked that much into except for Google. And Google is telling me that the skies are so kind of yucky from smoke from wildfires.
I don't remember it being this bad. I mean, we've had bad wildfires but I don't remember it being this bad for this long. So that's also happening this week. Yeah, weird. So if anyone has any more information for me on why the skies are so yucky, DM me on Instagram and let me know.
So today, the topic is how to stop fearing your feelings. And I really want to talk specifically on how to feel your feelings. How to feel your feelings. Now, when I first started getting into life coaching, I've told you guys that it was completely life changing.
And I would listen to these podcast episodes of people who are life coaches who I really look up to, Jody Moore, Brooke Castillo. And I would listen to these episodes and I would be driving somewhere and my mind would just be blown every single day. Like, “What? That makes so much sense.” It was like light bulb, light bulb, light bulb.
And the two biggest concepts that I learned through life coaching that completely changed my life, the first one is that your thoughts cause your feelings. Okay, and I feel bad because I'm just going to kind of skip over this. And I've dived into this in my podcast before, in the episode thoughts versus facts, and it comes up often.
But just this idea that your thoughts cause your feelings. I used to think that I felt really bad about myself and felt really bad about my life because I wasn't doing enough. That was my big thing, “I'm not doing enough, I'm not doing enough.” I feel bad because I'm not doing enough. And if I could just do more, I would feel better. If I could just accomplish more, I'd feel better.
And then I learned, and I saw it so clearly that I don't feel bad because I'm not doing enough. I feel bad because of what I'm thinking. Always, every single emotion that I have comes from my thoughts. That was so eye opening.
And like I said, we're not going to dive into that here. Even though I could talk about it forever, and how important it is, and what a cool concept it is. And how it's bettered my life in every single aspect, spiritually, mentally, physically. But I'm not going to dive into that right now.
So that's number one. That's the first big concept that changed my life, is that your thoughts cause your feelings. And the second is how to feel your feelings. How to feel your feelings. And why this was so life changing for me is because I used to be very afraid of feelings, especially big feelings.
And I would do anything to avoid negative feelings. I would do anything to avoid not feeling good enough. And that's where my perfection tendencies came in. And that's when I spent way too much time and energy trying to be perfect and trying to do it right. Because I didn't want to feel inadequate.
Or I would avoid being disliked. I didn't want to feel that feeling of being disliked so it caused me to be a people pleaser. And to not really live my life in the way that I really wanted to. And not to go after things that I really wanted to because I was afraid of that feeling.
And you know what I used to say? Maybe some of you relate to this, but people would ask me like, “What are you the most afraid of?” And my answer was always failure.
What is your biggest fear? And I would always say failure. And I mean, that's a whole other topic for another time. But that fear of failure caused me to live my life small, smaller than I could have. And it wasn't helpful.
I almost thought it was kind of a cool thing. Yeah, I'm not afraid of anything but failure, I just want to succeed in my life. But looking back I just get icky feelings. I am so not afraid of failure now and my life is so much better.
So I was always just afraid of emotions. I was afraid of feeling emotions. And this actually came up, I recently did an interview for Reach10, which is a local nonprofit about pornography. And the interviewer asked me, they said, “Well, what about when you're really afraid of feeling emotions?” Like some emotions are scary, and people say, “I'm afraid of feeling emotions.”
And so that's what I want to address today. Because you guys know I talk about often in the podcast that the only reason that you view pornography is because you're not willing to feel an emotion. And so I hope we're starting to understand that concept.
But what might be coming up for you is like, “Okay, yeah, I'm not willing to feel this emotion and I don't know how to be willing to feel this emotion. And I'm still afraid of feeling this emotion.” Whether that's an emotion, or an urge, or the desire to view pornography.
Okay, so that's what I want to dive into today. And here's the thing, emotions are not dangerous or harmful. I talked about this in depth in Episode 4, Stop Fearing Your Urges, which is similar. Emotions and urges, remember an urge is just that desire to go look at pornography. That feeling, that urge to go and look at porn.
Emotions, whether that be loneliness, stress, shame, whatever, emotions are not dangerous or harmful. An emotion is just a vibration in your body. So if I was going to define an emotion the first thing that comes to mind, this is the first thing I was taught and it was really drilled into me in all my training, is that an emotion is just a vibration in your body.
So I want you to think about this. Think about different vibrations that you have in your body when you have different emotions. Think about the vibration in your body when you feel happy. Now you all will describe it a little bit different, but I might describe that vibration as light and bouncy.
Okay, think about the vibration in your body when you feel the emotion of sadness. That emotion, that vibration might feel heavy and deep. Okay, that's all an emotion is, is a vibration in your body. Bad things do not happen when we feel these vibrations. These vibrations are not going to hurt us and nothing bad is going to happen to us when we feel these vibrations.
Bad things tend to happen when we resist these vibrations. When we resist them, which means that we're pushing them away or we're trying not to feel them. You know, it's like holding that beach ball underwater. When we're trying to get rid of the feeling, when we're trying to resist them, when we don't feel them, it's like holding that beach ball under water.
What happens when you hold the beach ball under water? It just wants to pop up and it just always pops up and explodes a little bit. That's what happens when we resist our vibrations, when we resist our feelings. Not when we feel our feelings. When we resist it, when we hold it under the water, that's when we buffer.
Remember, buffer means that's when we do an activity to escape that emotion. That's when we look at pornography. Pornography is a buffer. That's when we people please and when we stop living authentically, is when we're resisting these vibrations. That's when we do anything to escape these emotions.
The emotions become a little bit scary or they can have negative effects when we're resisting them, not when we're just feeling them. So the question that comes up next is, how? How can we just feel that feeling?
All right, we know that holding the beach ball under the water, holding our emotions under the water, resisting them isn't working. So how do we just feel them? These are the seven steps that I teach my clients on how to feel a feeling, so listen up.
Step number one to feeling a feeling is, name it. You have to give it a name to bring it awareness into your body. So one word, what would you call this emotion? Is it disappointed? Is it self-loathing? Is it loneliness? Is it stress? Is it blame? Is it pity? Name it one word. For this example, I'll say disappointed.
Step number two is find it in your body. Find it in your body, so go into your body and find it. And we've talked about this in the podcast before. So, disappointed, where do you feel disappointed in your body? For this example, let's say I feel disappointed in my throat and in my chest. Okay, so we named it and we found it in our body.
Step number three is relax into it. So often when we have negative emotion that we're resisting your hands are clenched, and your shoulders are up, and your body just looks tense. If your body is looking tense and if you're noticing, tenseness or clenching, your jaw clenching, that's a sign that you're resisting this emotion.
So step number three is relax into it. Relax your shoulders, relax your jaw, relax your fists. Relax into this feeling of disappointed in your throat and in your chest.
Step number four, ask yourself, what does this feel like? How would I describe this feeling with adjectives? Disappointed in my throat and chest, maybe I'll use the words, you know, I'm feeling it. What does this feel like? It feels heavy and it feels tight.
Okay, step number five is picture it. What does it look like? If you were to give this feeling a color, what color would you give it? Disappointed, maybe I'll say it's gray. Okay, what else? What else does it look like? Does it look like a rock? Does it look like a cloud? Does it look goopy? Does it look misty?
Just try to picture it. I know it sounds a little bit funny. But it really helps you get into your body and become really aware of this feeling in your body. So if you were to picture it, what would it look like?
Okay, and then step number six is repeat to yourself, “This is all coming from sentences in my brain.” This is coming from sentences in my brain. Now you don't have to go and change those sentences to try to feel better yet. But the reason that I'm feeling this disappointment is coming from a sentence in my brain.
That's it. That's all it's coming from. It's not coming from any facts outside of you. It's not coming from what someone said or what someone did. It's coming because of a sentence in your brain.
And then step number seven is allow it until it subsides. I get a question often, you know, okay, well, how long do I do this for? And my answer is always just do it until it goes away. And that might be a long time. And it might be a day. It might be a couple days. It might just be a few minutes. It might be an hour, I don't know. Just the idea here is allow it to be there until it subsides.
And that doesn't mean that you just have to sit in your room going through these seven steps for hours and hours and hours. No, you can do it the first time, the first couple times get the hang of it. And then just allow it to be there with you while you're going throughout your day.
So just kind of this idea of this is disappointment. I'm feeling it in my throat and my chest. It feels heavy and tight. I'm relaxing into it. It looks like a gray rock that's just sitting in my chest. And this is just following me around today. So this is with me today as I'm doing my work. This is with me today as I'm doing the dishes. And you allow it to be there until it goes away.
All right, so again, those are the seven steps, let me say them again. Step number one is name it. Step number two is find it in your body. Step number three is relax into it. Step number four is ask yourself what does this feel like? Step number five is picture it, what does this look like? Step number six is repeat to yourself, “This is coming from sentences in my brain.” And step number seven is allow it until it subsides.
And I can imagine some of you saying, “Okay, yeah, but what if it gets to be too much? What if this feeling just gets to be too much, and I just can't handle it anymore?” And whenever clients come and say that to me, I always take them through this exercise pretending that I am an alien.
So if this is you, and you're like, “Okay, but this emotion, what if this gets to be too much?” I want you to pretend that I'm an alien and I've never felt an emotion before. I've never felt an emotion before and you're telling me about this goal that you have to quit viewing pornography. But this emotion, this feeling, loneliness, let's say it's loneliness keeps coming up and keeps leading you to view pornography.
And so I'm like, “Oh, that's so fascinating. What's loneliness? What is this thing that's keeping you from reaching your goals? Why is loneliness keeping you from quitting pornography?” You're like, “Well, it's a feeling.” And me, the alien, I'm like, “Okay, well, what is a feeling?” You say, “Well, I feel this vibration in my chest and it feels horrible.”
And I'm like, “There's something in your chest?” You say, “No, no, no, there's nothing in my chest. It just feels bad. It just feels heavy and sharp.” And me, the alien, I'm like, “There's something sharp in your chest?” You say, “No, no, no, there's nothing sharp in my chest. It just feels that way.”
I’m like, “Okay, tell me more. I'm trying to understand what is it about this that's making you go and view pornography when you're telling me that you don't want to be pornography.” You say, “Well, it makes it kind of hard to breathe.” I’m like, “Loneliness makes you stop breathing?” You’re like, “No, emotions don't do that. It just makes it hard to breathe. It just makes it feel kind of hard to breathe. I can breathe okay.”
I’m like, “Okay, you can breathe, okay. and nothing is actually hurting you. Nothing is really sharp, pointing sharp through your chest.” You’re like, “No.” “So if I understand right, this emotion that is too much, it's something that feels heavy, but it isn't heavy. It's something that feels sharp, but it isn't actually sharp. And it's something that makes it feel hard to breathe, but you can actually breathe just fine. And that's what's keeping you viewing pornography, right?”
When we can really take these emotions. And strip them down to their core, what they really are, what this vibration in your body really is, we can start to see how manageable they are. And how they really are never too much.
They're never too much because we can sit, we can sit with a little bit of sharp pain in our chest. It doesn't feel good, it's not fun. But it's also not dangerous. We can sit with a little heaviness in our chest. Absolutely, absolutely we can do that. We can sit with any of these vibrations in our body.
And that doesn't mean that it's easy, or really fun. But it's also never something that you need to get rid of, all right? And this is also just a skill, something that we need to practice and learn. And I promise you, the more that you practice these seven steps and the more that you practice sitting with these emotions and these feelings, the better you get at it. And it will become so much easier to quit viewing pornography. So, so, so much easier to quit being pornography.
I had a client who reached out to me this month, and he's made some amazing strides in his porn habit. I mean, I think this whole month he hasn't had any slip ups. And what he said is, “This has been one of the hardest months of my life because of certain things that have happened, that are triggering emotions.” He's feeling a lot of sadness and some grief of some stuff that happened in his life.
But he's been able to feel those feelings instead of run away from them with pornography. And he's telling me just how he can't believe how empowered he feels and how much more equipped he feels to handle anything that life throws at him. Why this is so mind blowing is that this skill, you guys, is the key to living a really amazing life and being able to accomplish anything that you want to accomplish.
The only thing that keeps you from accomplishing things is your unwillingness to feel emotions. Maybe you're unwilling to feel failure, or you're unwilling to feel embarrassed. You're unwilling to go for things because you don't want to feel rejected. How many of us keep ourselves from asking that person out because we don't want to feel the feeling of rejected?
But what if feeling rejected wasn't a problem, and it was really simple, and you were really good at feeling it? You could do so many things. You could ask out that girl. You could ask out that guy. You could go after whatever it is that you want to go after in your life if you're willing to feel any emotions in your life. And you could quit pornography if you're willing to feel the emotions that come up that make you want to escape and run away from those emotions.
All right you guys, that's my message for you today. Let's stop fearing our feelings, okay, let's dive into them, figure out what they really are, breathe into them and really practice this skill. You'll be amazed at what you can do. You'll be amazed at what you can do once you learn this skill. All right you guys, 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.