Episode 239 - Breaking Free from Resistance: Navigating Change in the Fight to Overcome Pornography

Apr 01, 2024


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Episode 239

[00:00:00] Hey everybody, welcome to Thrive Beyond Pornography, happy Easter, I hope that your Sunday was amazing and full of joy and full of family.

[00:00:06] Today I want to talk about why we resist change.

[00:00:08] A lot of us live in this paradox where we feel stuck by our current reality and where we desire to be, right? So where am I right now? Where do I want to be in the future? Where do I think I should be now? And the sense that we can't change that.

[00:00:24] Imagine standing at the pool's edge you're ready to jump in, but you're finding yourself kind of immobilized. This episode is for anyone trapped in a cycle of wanting to change and encountering resistance from their own mind, from their own self sabotage, from the setbacks that they're dealt and trying to make those changes.

[00:00:44] Especially relevant to you who are listening to this, this scenario often plays out in our struggles with porn.

[00:00:50] So let's explore why we resist change and how we can synchronize our desires with our actions to truly move forward.

[00:00:57] So think about yourself, think about your life and think about yourself dreaming of a different job, maybe a healthier lifestyle, maybe bigger muscles, perhaps a more fulfilling relationship.

[00:01:07] Yet day after day, you find yourself stuck in the same old patterns. This feeling commonly referred to as being stuck can affect various aspects of our lives, leaving us feeling frustrated and powerless. At its core, this stagnation stems from a complex web of psychological factors. One primary factor within that is fear of the unknown.

[00:01:26] Change introduces uncertainty. And our brains are wired to prefer known outcomes. Even if they're less than ideal. Even if they go against our values, actually.

[00:01:34] Think about that. Our brains are wired to turn to pornography, turn to a known, because it's familiar to us, even when the outcome isn't what we want or goes against our values. Instead of sitting in the unknown.

[00:01:48] Another factor in this is our desire for comfort. We like to be comfortable. I like to be comfortable. I live in a nice house and I have a comfortable bed. Comfort and its familiarity keep us tethered to our current state, creating a safety net that's hard to leave behind. Additionally, we experience cognitive dissonance, which is a psychological discomfort that arises when our actions don't align with our desires.

[00:02:12] This dissonance is at the heart of this paradox of wanting to change without being willing to take the necessary steps to facilitate it. Understanding this psychological backdrop is really crucial for addressing the root causes of our inertia or of the inertia that you might be dealing with to quit porn.

[00:02:29] This is what keeps us from taking that next step, from trying something new, from trying something that probably will work, but we don't know because we don't, we haven't done it yet.

[00:02:36] Think about my client, Alex, who acknowledges pornography is negative toll on his relationship, his own self esteem and his productivity.

[00:02:44] Each morning, Alex commits to keeping away from porn, watching for triggers, being highly vigilant. Recognizing there are benefits to doing this, such as enhanced mental health, deeper connections with his spouse. So he's not saying, Hey, you know, I'm doing this thing and her rejection from that.

[00:03:01] Yet faced with daily stressors like work, loneliness, boredom, his old habits resurface as a relief mechanism. This cycle that Alex is dealing with induces profound cognitive dissonance. There's this desire to quit fueled by aspirations of being the person others believe him to be. The person he shows himself to be when he's around others and who he wishes to be. That's in conflict with the reflex To feel comfortable, to go through what is known rather than go into what is unknown, and ignore his cognitive dissonance.

[00:03:33] This internal battle is a clash between conscious intent and subconscious resistance. And it's not merely about willpower, it's rooted in the brain's preference for the known over the uncertain.

[00:03:43] And that's exacerbated by the guilt and the shame that follows each lapse of his values. Paradoxically, this actually drives Alex back to the behavior that he's aiming to escape. Which can be tough, and that's why I recommend people go through this process with somebody who can guide them through it.

[00:04:02] Now another one of our clients, Linda and Jake.

[00:04:04] Linda stumbles on her husband's browsing history. While Jake is committing to change, Linda is now grappling with this tornado of emotions, betrayal, inadequacy, confusion. She doesn't know who he is because he said he was someone and now he's not that person. And she's yearning. She's just deeply desiring trust and intimacy that she once thought that they had, but she finds herself instinctively bracing for more hurt. And she's creating this emotional standoff that stifles the genuine healing and the connection that she's looking for, the actual intimacy that she's looking for. This scenario highlights cognitive dissonance that Linda's experiencing wanting to support Jake's journey toward change while wrestling with her own hurt and the fear of being vulnerable again.

[00:04:52] Navigating emotional turmoil is another common challenge and I want to tell you about Darcy's client Sarah, she's feeling increasingly isolated as she tries to reconcile her love for her partner with her pain over his pornography use. She desires a deeper connection and understanding but finds herself pulling away to protect her heart.

[00:05:11] A clear example of desiring change, yet subconsciously resisting the steps that might facilitate actual healing, like openness, intimacy, connection, understanding, and seeking that support together. Addressing these challenges is not just about stopping porn. It's about confronting the underlying issues, prompting it, prompting its use, prompting us to engage with it when it goes against our values. This entails recognizing discomfort, identifying triggers, and gradually adopting healthier coping mechanisms

[00:05:44] It's a journey of realigning actions and desires and transitioning from dissonance.

[00:05:49] this is why Darcy and I offer our membership as Lifetime Access. Because This isn't something that just happens in five minutes.

[00:05:56] You can quit porn in 30 days. The data on that's pretty clear, but this process of moving forward, growing up, recognizing, and then resolving these dissonances, resolving this discomfort. Resolving the issue of trying to always be comfortable, resolving all of that, that takes a little bit more time.

[00:06:16] It takes a little bit of guidance. It takes sometimes someone pointing out exactly what's going on for you so that you can deal with it on a regular basis over a period of time.

[00:06:25] and this subconscious resistance that we deal with, it acts as an invisible barrier that directs us away from this discomfort.

[00:06:32] And back into those more familiar routines. This is why lot of times people have a period of time where they go without viewing porn, and then they go back to viewing porn for a period of time.

[00:06:43] Because we haven't resolved the underlying issues, this resistance takes a lot of different forms, including procrastination, especially perfectionism. And the avoidance of regular old daily discomforts. All of these favor immediate pleasure over long term benefits. So understanding them, working through them, and dealing with them up front allows your brain to actually stop offering you porn.

[00:07:04] Your brain doesn't need to offer you porn if you can deal with these things instead of avoiding them. If you can, Manage them directly instead of suppressing them.

[00:07:12] For instance, facing an urge to view porn or merely feeling bored might lead anyone to mindlessly browsing the internet, what I call doom scrolling. In the case of setbacks perfectionism can derail us entirely, you know, it's like, oh, I did it one time. And now I'm just not going to tell anybody and I'm not going to deal with this. And, you know, there's a six month stretch where I choose porn. Any sort of minor deviation from our path shouldn't prompt a complete reversal of direction.

[00:07:37] Think of it like missing a turn while driving. Instead of heeding the GPS's corrective guidance. When this is happening, we stop listening to the GPS telling us, "Hey, take the next right." And then we just start to aimlessly drive. We don't have a place we're going.

[00:07:53] Instead, if we get back on track, the immediate adherence to that GPS after a wrong turn ensures a quicker arrival at your destination than ignoring it for an extended period of time.

[00:08:03] So let's not let the quest for perfection deactivate our navigational signals.

[00:08:07] Let's get back on track quickly and efficiently by dealing with the underlying issue at hand. And acknowledging these patterns is really crucial for breaking free from resistance and realigning our desires with our actions.

[00:08:21] How do we start dealing with our subconscious resistance based on our conscious desires?

[00:08:25] Well, the process begins with small, achievable changes. Last week, I talked to you guys about the detour cycle. This is a very, very simple process that if you can start to see it, you're going to start to be able to implement it.

[00:08:38] And if you can start to implement it, those changes will start to take effect. Celebrate those minor successes, build a little bit of momentum, propel yourself forward. Be clear that there are going to be speed bumps in the way that things are not going to go completely smoothly the entire time. Work with somebody who can help you through this process and stay psychologically flexible.

[00:09:00] This is the capacity to adjust based on reality rather than beat ourselves up and say we're unworthy and just fall into that despair that a lot of us do when we make one mistake. Be present, be open, be committed to those life changing actions. That's really key. The work that Darcy and I do, a lot of it is mindfulness and acceptance.

[00:09:21] Mindfulness enables us to observe our resistance without judgment and accept our current state. So this isn't accepting that I'm a porn user. It's accepting the reality of what's happening so that I can deal with that directly rather than trying to circumvent it, trying to suppress it.

[00:09:37] This is not resignation. It's an acknowledgement of our reality, choosing to advance despite how we feel, despite what's going on. These strategies are practical. They're not just theoretical. This is what I do. This is what has helped so many of my clients. And I've worked with so many people in Thrive Beyond Pornography to eliminate the struggle of pornography.

[00:09:59] And then when you do that, when you get good at it, when it becomes automatic and habitual, you can dismantle resistance barriers, laying the groundwork for meaningful change in your life. That's the work that you need to be doing.

[00:10:10] That's why learning how to stop resisting change is essential because when you can see your brain more clearly, you can work with your brain and its natural capacities to improve your life. Alright my friends, I hope that's helpful.

[00:10:22] Go to and sign up for a free consult, I would love to meet with you.


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