I have heard many users of pornography, masturbation, prostitutions, and extramarital affairs talk about “giving up” their vices. This is a dangerous mindset to have.
There are reasons why this is destructive
- It is backward thinking
- It is negative thinking
- It is true, but it isn’t helpful
It’s backward thinking
True success happens in the present, not the past. When we are thinking about what we are giving up we are looking backward. Without consciously doing it our mind will soak in the past of what we are giving up. Unfortunately that will include all of the appealing things that existed in the past as well as the negatives.
A lot of men talk about how they don’t even want to look at pornography anymore. I challenge that thinking. If you really didn’t want to look you wouldn’t. Do you watch cat videos all day? Some of you may, and we don’t judge you if you do. For those that don’t, why not? Because you don’t want to.
Own that you want to, so that you can change it. When you say, “I am giving this up for good”, you will remember all the seemingly good things that have to go out the door with it. This thinking will lead to justifications and rationalizations for relapse.
It’s negative thinking
Thinking in terms of loss is negative thinking. Negative thinking is a crutch in recovery. It can work for sometime, but it will never lead to true healing. Some of you may find that considering the negative effects of your actions can help prevent relapse, but as this is negative thinking it will only take you so far.
Forward thinking is positive thinking.
We will discuss how to correct this at the end of the article.
It is true, but it isn’t helpful
Pornography is arousing. Orgasm feels good. Masturbation won’t kill me. These are true statements, but they aren’t helpful.
When you decide never to engage in pornography you are technically giving it up. True, but now helpful.
When you are in recovery, or trying to be in recovery, you only have time for thinking that is both true and helpful.
Give up nothing, gain everything
You must reframe your thinking to consider all the things you are gaining, instead of the things you are giving up.
What does one gain when he decided to no longer engage in sexually perverse behaviors?
Here are a few things we gain: freedom, peace, joy, the ability to emotionally connect, a chance at true intimacy, respect, self-respect, to express true love to others, self-confidence.
When a man can shift his thinking from, “I am giving up pornography” to, “I am on a quest for freedom and peace” can’t you feel the difference.
There are a few reasons why this is important. When one gives something up there comes a moment when the individual believes the battle is over. “I have given this up for good”, they say to themselves. Then what can happen? Complacency, the man then stops doing the things that helped him find success in the first place.
In other words, when we think in terms of giving things up we are saying there is an end.
When we think, “I am on a quest for freedom and peace” there is no destination. It becomes a journey. Men who have used pornography, masturbation, prostitution, extramarital affairs’, etc. need to understand that there is no destination. This is a journey of a lifetime. It can be the best journey you ever take if you do it right.
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