I have a confession to make. I love Disney Pixar movies.
Some of my favorite movies are Disney Pixar movies. Wall-E, A Bug's Life, The Incredibles, Ratatouille. I just really enjoy them, what can I say?
Another of these movies that gets me every time is Inside Out.
Inside Out is about a girl, Riley, who moves with her parents from Minnesota to California (being from Minnesota myself and living in another state, maybe that's part of the reason why I resonate with this movie!).
In addition to Riley, the main characters of the movie are actually her emotions living inside of her.
Some of her core emotions, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust, are actually little animated characters.
In the movie we get a glimpse of what it's like for these emotions to navigate through this huge change that Riley is going through: a new home, a new school, new friends, and the hard things that come with it.
And it's interesting to note that the producers of the movie had psychologists and neuroscientists assisting in its development.
There are a few things that you notice very quickly about Riley's emotions:
1. They care very deeply about Riley and her well-being.
Each of the emotions just wants the best for Riley.
You can hear it in the way that they talk about her. She's "their girl." They just want her to do well, to be okay. Her emotions want to do everything in their power to help her.
They sincerely have her best interest in their hearts.
2. Riley's emotions tend to be quite misguided.
Because each of them is entrenched in its own perspective and view on things, Riley's emotions can be quite misguided when it comes to HOW to help her.
Fear, for example, is just trying to keep Riley safe, but he tends to overdo it and gets freaked out by some very insignificant things. Anger, of course, just wants to rage and rant about everything.
And as helpful as it may sound, Joy just wants Riley to be happy all the time, and tries to put a positive spin on everything. However, towards the end of the movie, allowing Sadness to have a voice actually turns out to be one of the most helpful things for Riley.
So, Riley's emotions want the best for her. They want so badly to help her. But they also tend to be a bit narrow-minded in the way they try to help.
As we explored recently, another core emotion is the feeling of sexual desire. In other words, that intense craving to watch porn is also a "character" inside you, like Anger, or Fear.
Think about the two characteristics above that we see about the other emotions. They tend to be misguided, but they are just trying to help. Your emotions sincerely care about your well-being.
That means that when you feel that urge to watch porn, it's like that little character inside you taking the controls and trying to drive you towards what it thinks will help you most in that moment.
It's not thinking about the consequences afterwards: the shame, the guilt, the fear, the relational tumult. It's just trying to push you towards what it thinks will help right now.
And who can blame it? Giving in to watching porn is indeed a short-term solution. Otherwise we wouldn't keep coming back to it!
As we know, and maybe as you have experienced, the consequences afterward are unbearably heavy and painful.
But like the emotions in the Inside Out movie, that urge to watch porn is sincerely trying to help you.
Take a second to stop and take this in. Your feelings inside you, including the urge to watch porn, have your best interest at heart, and want to help.
It's like having little friends inside you. They don't always push you in the direction that is best for you.
But they always, always have your best interest at heart.
Why does this matter, and what does this have to do with being free from porn?
Because seeing that intense desire to watch porn as a friend, rather than a foe, puts you in the best position to effectively handle that desire rather than give into it.
When you feel that urge to watch porn and you see it as an enemy to resist, it persists. When you try to fight it and push it away, it becomes more intense. This is just how feelings work.
But when you can pause, turn towards it as a friend, and even thank it, not only does the craving itself become less intense, but it puts you in the best mental space to process and resolve that desire.
So, I invite you to consider this, and start thinking about that urge to watch porn as your inner friend. It's a feeling that is quite naive and misguided, but it is always wanting the best for you.
This may seem difficult to picture at first, but give it a shot, and keep coming back to it.
This is a pivot that will pave your way towards real, lasting freedom.