The Three Uncommonly Used Freedoms that Give You Power Over Pornography Temptations
July 4 is the day the United States celebrates its independence. On this day, we celebrate not only our independence but also our freedom to create the life we want to live. What better way to celebrate this freedom than to employ three uncommonly used levels of choice to become free or remain free from the grip of pornography.
First, what are the three uncommonly used freedoms to choose?
- Choose consequences: Don’t’ choose actions, choose consequences.
- Always choose. Reject “have to” and “must.” Make every action a choice and always choose.
- Choose every time. Don’t choose forever. Choose for this instance and this moment only. Retain your freedom to choose differently at the next instance.
Let’s briefly explore each one and how to apply them in an uncommon manner to give us freedom and power over viewing temptations.
Choose Consequences. Making choices is like planting seeds. When we plant an apple seed, we can’t see the apples right away. When we choose actions, the consequences of those actions can seem far away and unclear. But as Alfred a Montapert said, “Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.”
We can improve our chances of making wise choices by changing the way we choose. Instead of choosing to plant the seed, choose a harvest of delicious apples. When tempted to view porn, answer and accept the temptation (These are earlier steps in overcoming pornography temptation—if you’re new to Power over Pornography, find out more about these steps in the book. You can order it at Amazon, Power Over Pornography or just pay shipping and handling to get a free copy, https://freebook.poweroverpornography.com) by shouting out loud in your mind, “I want to view and do and it’s OK to want to view and do.”
Now, exercise your freedom to choose consequences by stating, “I choose to love deeply and have great self-confidence (just two of the many positive consequences of living a loving life, or a life without porn. Choose from many other consequences that you already know or from the list at https://poweroverpornography.com/consequences).”
Why does this work? Consequences are always in a state of fading to the back recesses of our minds unless we take steps to bring them back to the front. Choosing consequences instead of choosing their associated actions brings those consequences to the front of our minds so we can properly weigh them.
Always choose. Gretchen Rubin, in her book The Four Tendencies, states, “We prefer to be asked rather than ordered to do something, and if our feeling of being controlled by others becomes too strong, it can trigger “reactance,” a resistance to something that’s experienced as a threat to our freedom or our ability to choose.” Not only does reactance emerge when we feel controlled by others, it emerges when we use self-talk that threatens our ability to choose.
If you’ve read my book, Power Over Pornography, you know the antidote to choice-threatening language. Here it is. When you catch yourself (catch yourself every time) saying “I must not view” or “I have to not view,” then take the first two letters of must and the first two letter of have and laugh the Mu-ha laugh (Mu-ha-ha-ha-ha). The laugh reminds you that you don’t have to do anything. When you tell yourself, you must, or you have to, the laugh reminds you that it’s a lie. You always have a choice. Even prisoners have choices. Their choices have more dire consequences, but they can always choose.
Why always choose and make sure every action is a choice? If you let your own choice-threatening language stand unchallenged and unchanged, then your inner rebel’s reactance will increase your chances of relapse. Instead, after you laugh the Mu-ha laugh, use this language before choosing consequences, “And I can always choose” or “the choice is up to me.”
Choose for this instance only. Our freedom to choose is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. When we make a choice that lasts forever, we deny all future points of choice. When we deny our own ability to choose in the future, we naturally rebel. Our rebellion manifests itself with feelings of deprivation. The feelings of deprivation lead to a desire to act out or to feeling like a victim, which leads to acting out. Either way, we lose.
Why does this work? Choosing for the current temptation only, takes away the need for willpower. Willpower is a finite, unreliable resource. When you know you can choose differently at any time in the future, you don’t use willpower. You use free choice. Some former viewers originally thought choosing every time would make them more vulnerable to relapse. But it has the opposite effect. When they realized they can choose differently when tempted in the future, it eliminated feelings of deprivation and was surprisingly freeing.
How do you implement? Choose for just this temptation and preserve your free choice for future temptations. Do this by adding the phrase, “And for this instance only” or “’and I can choose differently next time” as part of your self-talk. Now, let’s put all these self-talk statements together cohesively to use these three powers of free choice to overcome viewing temptations.
For the next and every viewing temptation you experience, state the following:
“I want to view and do.”
“It’s OK to want to view and do.”
“The choice is up to me and for this instance only—I can choose differently next time—I choose to love deeply and have great self-confidence.”
Now you know how to use three of your uncommonly used freedoms of choice to power through viewing temptations. If you would like to learn the other steps to overcome a pornography habit or addiction, check out the book (Power Over Pornography or https://freebook.poweroverpornography.com) and the website, https://poweroverpornography.com.