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Overcoming Pornography by Practicing the Values We Have
Episode 1093rd October 2021 • Thrive Beyond Pornography (Formerly The Self Mastery Podcast) • Zach Spafford
00:00:00 00:13:34

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Last week we discussed how goals can be problematic when we are working to achieve lifelong behaviors rather than short term events. 

As promised, this week we will be talking about how to decide what your values are. In addition to that we’ll talk about how to more fully live them. 

When you think of your values, this is often where your deepest emotions lie. And as a result this may be an emotional process for you to go through.  

As you think about what your values might be, I find it helpful to use I statements that convey a sense of who you are.  For example, from the last podcast, “I choose sexual experiences that create intimacy.”

Here we have a current position on who we are, who we want to be and how we want to act in the moment. 

When you think about your pornography struggle or any struggle you have.  If your goal is to eliminate a pornography habit, ask yourself, what would achieving this goal show that you stand for or support ( or stand against or oppose)?

As you look at the core values that emerge from that question, you can form them into I statements that can fully express and inhabit your core value.  

So, for instance, if I were answering the question, what would eliminating pornography from my life achieve and show that I stand for or support?  I might say, I stand for living chastely, being open and creating intimacy in my life. 

My I statements would then look something like, “ I live chastely”, “I am open with my spouse about my sexuality, including when or if I view pornography” and our phrase from earlier, “I choose sexual experiences that create intimacy”. 

As you go through the process of doing this you may want to come up with two or three core values statements that are easy to remember and that help you convey to yourself a new sense of who ¥ou are.  

Then, in the process of living those values, it is important to keep in mind what we learned about values last week.  If you havent’ listened to that, go back and get familiar with what values are. 

You;ll want to hold these new values loosely. Meaning, rather than holding so tightly to them that when you fail to live up to them, you beat yourself up and feel like these values are impossible to live by, you hold them like you would a handful of sand. 

If you’ve ever grabbed a handful of sand and squeezed it tightly you’d have noted that most of the sand escapes your grip and you are left with very little of it when you open your hand . 

Rather, when it comes to values, using the sand as an analogy, if we pile the sand on an open palm, we end up being able to hold more than we ever could by squeezing it.  

This analogy also allows us to prioritize which sand, and how much of each type of sand we will hold at given times in our lives. 

When we prioritize our values properly, we find that we are no longer trying to hold on to ever decreasing amounts of capacity in our hands, but allowing, at times, some values to take a back seat to our current needs while still maintaining a small focus on values that are still important but not urgent.  

So as you hold your values lightly, prioritizing them as you do, you’ll find that you’ll need to practice your values for yourself and in your interactions with others.  

You’ll also recognize that as you focus in on a priority value, that your other values are still relevant to your life and who you want to be. 

One key to living your values more fully is being aware of what they actually are, which is what we’ve just done. 

The next key to living your values more fully is practicing them whenever you can. 

Think of scenarios where you have not lived up to your values in the past and role play what you would do if you had lived up to your values.  

You could even go into safe situations where you previously had not practiced your values and practice them.  For instance, if you have not been truthful with your spouse and one of your values is that “I am open and honest” then you might take a few minutes each day and openly convey to your spouse what your real feelings are.  You can do this is in a non-threatening and simple way.  for instance, you can come to them and ask them to just listen to you for one minute.  Ask them to not try to fix or even respond to what you say, but that you are going to open up and tell them what is going on for you.  

Do this regularly for a month and it will become second nature to speak about your life in real terms, rather than hiding from them what you are feeling and struggling with.