I still remember the day in 1990 that I went to see the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
I loved the cartoon TV show, and I was pumped to see the live action movie in theaters. When I walked out of the theater that day, I was punching and kicking everything in sight, and constantly recreating scenes from the movie with my older brother.
In the movie, the four teenage turtle brothers, Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael, are led and mentored by the wise, sage-like giant rat named Splinter.
Raphael was a bit different from his brothers, or as Splinter put it, "unique." Really, Raphael was a bit of a problem child. He regularly caused discord among the team, he was often angry, and he would venture off by himself frequently (which was a dangerous thing for a giant turtle to be doing in New York City!).
In one scene, when Raphael is returning from another one of his late night wanderings, Splinter is there, waiting up for him like a typical parent. What was Splinter's response, this wise and experienced master? Did he push Raphael away? Did he use force or shame to get him back in line?
No. He turned toward Raphael. He treated him like a beloved son. Raphael was one of the four brothers. Splinter didn't treat him differently or with harshness, despite his behavior.
On the contrary, Splinter showed Raphael love and acceptance just like the other brothers. And even more so.
If you can be like Splinter, you can be free from porn.
Let me explain.
We all have what are called "core emotions." Anger, sadness, fear, joy.
What do we know about emotions? When you are feeling sad or angry, for example, is it a good long-term solution to try and ignore the feeling? To avoid it, push it away, stuff it down?
No! We know, not only intuitively, but from all the studies that have been done on emotions, what you resist persists. If you try to resist, and push away feelings like sadness, or anger, the feeling doesn't really go away. It just gets "stuffed down," only to resurface later, and probably in a more intense and problematic form.
Rather, we know that when you acknowledge and name your emotions, when you have compassion for yourself for feeling those feelings, when you turn your attention towards those feelings with curiosity, this not only reduces the intensity of the emotion in the moment, but it helps process the feeling. It helps the feeling resolve. And ultimately, you are able to release the feeling.
So to sum it up, when it comes to core emotions, resisting and avoiding them is ineffective. Turning towards, acknowledging, and having compassion is effective.
This is just how feelings work.
Okay, so, do you know what else is a core emotion? Sexual excitement.
That's right. Core emotions include fear, anger, sadness, disgust, and, yes, sexual excitement. It is actually one of these emotion "brothers."
So that surge of adrenaline, that jolt of desire and craving to watch porn: that's a core emotion!
Sometimes, we tend to see that desire as our "Raphael." It can seem like the problem child of the emotions. It just causes discord, pain, and a host of other major problems in our lives. Because of this, we often treat it as the black sheep. We resist it, avoid it, try and push it away.
But what did we just conclude about emotions? What is the effective way to deal with core emotions? Turn towards it, name it, have curiosity and compassion.
Just like Splinter did with Raphael.
The conclusion? When it comes to that urge to watch porn, let's be like Splinter.
The very next time that intense desire to watch porn floods you, take a breath, acknowledge it, turn towards it with compassion and curiosity, and implement the P.A.T.H. Plan to effectively handle and resolve that feeling.
Lastly, here are two pieces of amazing news for you:
1. Effectively processing and resolving the feeling of desire to watch porn is a skill that anyone can learn. And it doesn't take as long as you might think.
2. You don't have to figure out HOW to process and resolve the next urge when it hits you. It's right here: The P.A.T.H. Plan
So from this point forward, you are not one of the majority that thinks you just have to white-knuckle it when you feel the urge to watch porn. You now know that white-knuckling, battling, resisting that desire is a futile strategy. Because that desire is just an emotion, like anger, or sadness.
You have the knowledge and the plan at your fingertips to effectively handle and process that desire the very next time you feel it. And the more you practice the P.A.T.H. Plan, the better you'll get at it, the easier it will become, and that's when you'll start saying to yourself:
"Whoa, so this is what freedom feels like."