Urges and customer service

Some time ago I was speaking with a client over the phone. We'll call him Jim. Jim was upset and frustrated and was unloading his frustration on me.

He was angry about something that I had no control over whatsoever. There was nothing I could do about it.

As Jim was angrily going on about his frustration, I of course had the strong inclination to say to him, "Look, I know you're frustrated, but don't unload this on me. There's nothing I can do about it!"

What would have happened if I had responded to his anger and frustration like this? How would it go if I had pushed back and essentially said, "Please just stop. I can't do anything about it, it's not my fault. I don't need to hear your angry rant and I'm not going to listen to it."

You know exactly what would happen. It would pour gasoline on the fire.

If I had pushed back against Jim and his feelings, it would just escalate his anger and frustration. As a result (and here's the ironic thing): it would just take longer to resolve it.

It's true: what you resist, persists.

Thankfully I knew from experience that resisting and pushing back against Jim would not be the most helpful response for either of us.

So what did I do?

I let Jim vent.

I acknowledged his frustration. I gave him space to get out his anger. I said things like, "I would feel the same way." And, "Definitely. That makes sense."

Did I agree with everything he was saying? Absolutely not. Do I think he was right in what he was saying? No. I knew that some of the things he was saying were completely irrational. I couldn't do anything about his complaints and we both knew that. He just needed someone to listen. A place for him to express those feelings.

Was it an enjoyable experience to be on the receiving end of his anger and frustration? No way. It was unpleasant. Painful even.

Some things helped me bear through it, though, like taking deep breaths. Also, reminding myself that he is simply expressing his feelings and I don't have to agree with them or believe they are right.

But what happened after I listened and he was able to express those feelings? He was fine. He felt better. His mind was clearer. He even thanked me for letting him vent.

Now, remember: this is exactly how it works with the urge to watch porn.

When that intense feeling arises, it may seem that the obvious choice is to try and fight against it. To push it away. To resist it.

But just like with Jim, this tends to fuel the flame.

It turns out, the best way to alleviate the intense desire to watch porn is by acknowledging it. Turning towards that intense feeling. Rather than trying to silence it or push it away, give it permission to be there. This is the best way to help it leave.

So remember: what you resist, persists. And, what you allow, alleviates.

So how do you actually do this? Here are the clear, straightforward steps for helping an urge leave: P.A.T.H. Plan

You got this!


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