What does it mean to be brave? And how can understanding this increase your chances of experiencing true freedom from porn? Keep reading to find out!
We all want to be brave. It's something we admire in others and want more of for ourselves. But what is it exactly?
For the longest time I thought being brave meant not feeling afraid of something others might find scary. In other words, if you had to do something most other people would think is scary, and you didn't feel scared to do it, you were brave.
Many people are scared of heights. If you can climb up a very tall ladder and not feel any fear at all, by this definition, you would be brave. You don't feel any scared feelings doing something "scary."
My definition of this has changed in the recent past. One specific instance was partly responsible for the change.
Not long ago, a dear extended family member passed away. I flew to another state to be with family and attend the funeral.
When we got there, we were told that if anyone wanted to share some memories or stories, there would be a chance during the service to do so.
When I heard this, my heart rate felt like it doubled. And I didn't get butterflies in my stomach. It felt more like a herd of wildebeest.
I knew immediately that I wanted to share a few things about this family member that recently passed away. There were some meaningful memories that I felt a desire to share. But I definitely felt intense scared feelings.
Now, I have some experience public speaking, but this was different. I would be sharing some highly emotional memories in front of family that I love very much and don't see very often. It just felt overwhelming.
But I also knew I wanted to do it. I knew if I didn't, I would regret it. I had to do it.
And I did.
When the invitation came during the service for anyone to come up in front of everyone and share a memory, I stood up, walked to the front, looked out over everyone, and shared the memories that I knew I wanted to share.
Here's the thing though: each step of the way, I felt scared. Terrified even.
From the moment I decided I wanted to share, to waiting for the invitation to come up to the front, to standing up and walking to the podium, to actually sharing in front of everyone, I felt scared.
Everything in my body was intensely screaming,
"This is wrong!"
"You shouldn't do this!"
"This is dangerous!"
I felt intense feelings of fear.
But I did it anyway. I did the thing I felt scared to do.
I started to realize that bravery isn't a lack of fear. It's doing something you want to do even though you feel scared to do it.
So then, being brave is a decision and resolve to do something in the midst of the fear.
If this is what it means to be brave, then there's something very interesting to consider:
You can't be brave without feeling scared first.
Or another way to say it, you have to experience feelings of fear first in order to get the opportunity to be brave. That scared feeling is the prerequisite for being brave.
Feeling afraid is not fun. It's not an enjoyable feeling. It's uncomfortable, and unpleasant. But it's the only doorway leading to bravery.
When you feel scared to do something you know you want to do, you can almost be grateful. Because it provides the opportunity to practice the skill of bravery.
Here's how this important principle relates to freedom from porn.
What is freedom? Is it never feeling that urge to look at porn again?
As we've discovered together, true freedom is developing the skill to handle that intense urge in an effective, healthy way WHEN it arises.
How do you learn the skill of handling and processing that intense urge? You learn it by following the P.A.T.H. Plan, step by step, when the urge comes.
And each time you do this, you will get better at it. It's a step towards freedom. It's a skill you learn with practice.
So here's the thing: Similar to the fact that you can't be brave unless you feel afraid, you can process the feeling until you feel the urge.
To get better at being brave, you have to feel afraid first. To get better at the skill of handling the urge, you have to feel that urge first!
Just like feeling scared, that urge is not a pleasant feeling. It's an intense desire screaming at you.
But it's the prerequisite for learning the essential skill of processing that urge.
If you start seeing the urge as the prerequisite for learning the skill that you want and need, you begin to see things a bit differently.
Instead of dreading those moments when that intense urge hits you, you start to almost welcome it. You don't view it as an enemy coming to attack you. You see it as an opportunity to practice the skill.
You start to realize that urges are actually the stepping stones on your path to freedom.
As you start to think about the urge in this way, you'll notice some positive side effects. It takes the edge off the struggle a little. Your sense of fear and dread decreases. Your confidence goes up, because you know exactly what to do when the urge arises.
So, consider how you think about that urge when it arises in you:
Do you see it as a foe coming to attack you?
Do you dread the next time it arises?
Do you see it as the next opportunity to practice the P.A.T.H. Plan?
Do you view it as your next stepping stone on the path to freedom?
How do YOU view that urge to watch porn? Seriously, I'm curious! Feel free to reply to this email with your thoughts and questions. I'd love to hear from you!