Artwork for podcast Thrive Beyond Pornography (Formerly The Self Mastery Podcast)
Empowerment and The Art of Reframing
Episode 2353rd March 2024 • Thrive Beyond Pornography (Formerly The Self Mastery Podcast) • Zach Spafford
00:00:00 00:12:15

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Learning to Thrive Beyond Pornography use was the greatest challenge of our life and marriage. It had rocked my self confidence, tainted all of the most important experiences of my life and become the most impossible challenge I had.

With this podcast or at you'll learn about the struggle, how to overcome pornography use, and where to find additional resources to begin to thrive beyond pornography with your spouse.

At some point I took a step away from all the 12 step meetings and councilors and started to figure out my own brain, to look at my issue as something that I had the answer to and I was going to figure it out. Here I share those lessons and give you the power to start your own journey free. Whether you struggle with unwanted pornography use or are the spouse or partner, whether you feel stuck or just don't know where to start, here I will teach you principles, tools and skills that you can use today to change how you think and, in the end, what you do.

You'll hear interviews with my spouse, with experts on human sexuality and with former and current pornography users on how you can overcome your own struggle with addictive behavior.

The Thrive Beyond Pornography podcast will bring new perspective to your struggle and keep you coming back to improve all aspects of your life. (formerly, The Self Mastery Podcast: Overcome Pornography Forever)


Episode 235


Hey, everybody and welcome to Thrive Beyond Pornography where we dive deep into the tools and strategies that help you lead a more productive, empowered life and start putting pornography behind you. Start living beyond what it is that you have lived. So today we're going to explore two powerful concepts.

Today we're exploring two powerful concepts, empowerment and the art of reframing. How can shifting our perspective change our experience in the world? Let's find out. First, I want to start by understanding what empowerment is. And for the purposes of this conversation, this is really about discovering and embracing your ability to make choices and affect change in your own life.

Empowerment is your capacity to own and be responsible for and choose the way that you want to operate. And it's very much an internal capacity. This is not something that somebody can give you. This is not something that you have to take back from somebody. It's something that you have to grow and create and embrace internally.

And part of that comes from recognizing your own value and your own capabilities. So if you feel like, oh, I don't have value because I choose pornography or I'm not capable because I'm an addict, part of what we have to do is learn how to create value for ourselves. Am I the person that I expect myself to be?

How do I want to create that? And then how do I practice the skills that come along with being able to operate according to the value structure that I want to live? So if I don't know how to put pornography behind me, then there's something I haven't yet learned. And that is part of empowerment. If I learn that skill, and then I practice it regularly so that I can effectuate it in the moment.

So, I talk about game time a lot with my clients. If you've been listening to the podcast, and you've listened to some of the coaching calls that I have in my membership, you'll know that game time is when you need to be able to automatically and habitually respond to the things that are happening to you. And if you don't have an automatic habitual response to your brain, offering you porn, then that's a capability that you need to pick up, learn, and practice. Outside of game time. Game time is when your brain offers it to you. And outside of game time is when we practice just like if you're, you know, if you're playing basketball.

I used to think that I was addicted and that something outside of me determined how I operated. I used to think that I'm broken and I'm powerless and in that framework, I really very much put off onto somebody else, put off onto my wife, you know, she's not having enough sex with me or put off onto my church.

Oh, you know, these are the rules I have to follow. I put off onto other people a lot of my Power. I put off onto other things a lot of my responsibility and When I was able to start taking back that stuff I started to become empowered to choose based on what I wanted not based on what I was supposed to be doing and that's a Really important component of this process of re-empowering ourselves.

The next thing that we need to understand is how to reframe the problems that are coming at us, the difficulties, the struggles, the things that we are often finding are pushing us down, causing us a great deal of pain, creating a great deal of difficulty for us. The more capably we can reframe, and this is not like lie to yourself, this is not turn it into something that it's not.

This is being able to objectively observe what's happening, and then step back from and allow for a different set of ideas to govern the way that we address a particular problem. This is not about denying reality. This is just about adjusting our lens to see possibilities and solutions.

One of the things that a lot of my clients struggle with is thinking that they are bad because they choose to view pornography. And I am not saying that you are good because you view pornography. That's not really a reframing that makes a lot of sense. But what does make sense is thinking about the problem less about bad and good, but about why am I choosing this?

So this isn't about changing the problem from something that is bad to something that is good. This is really about asking questions that help reframe the idea from bad and good to what's actually happening here.

I want to look at this as data. So whenever someone chooses pornography, one of the ways that we reframe that is from I slipped or I broke my promises or I'm no longer worthy or any of those ideas to, "why am I choosing this?" The reframing goes from "This is bad and I'm bad because I'm choosing it," to what is the data telling me about this choice? What is the data going to provide me if I look at it? Why did I choose this?

What happened in the ten minutes before I chose pornography? What was my brain offering me?

I've talked about what I call the detour cycle on the podcast before which is, there's a narrative onset, there's an emotional catalyst, then there's an escape offer, after which we get a rationalized bargaining section, and then finally the value breach, right? So if you take that framework and you reframe this from, I'm bad because I chose pornography to, what was the narrative?

What is the emotional catalyst? Why am I having that emotional catalyst when I have this narrative? What about this narrative is creating this emotional catalyst? And can I address this narrative in a different way? So reframing this story, reframing the problem helps you take it from I'm bad, to this is data can I analyze it?

And there are a lot of benefits to doing this. We're trying to reduce stress. We're trying to increase resilience. The more mindful that you are about your problems, the more resiliently you will address them.

And this isn't about just creating This is about toxic optimism. This is about seeing things for what they are more clearly, rather than the way that I think a lot of us do things, which is we beat ourselves up because we have these problems, because we struggle, we punch ourselves in the face, trying to make it so that we see things more clearly.

And these two components, empowerment and reframing, they're self reinforcing. Meaning, the more we empower ourselves, the more we can reframe, and the more we reframe, the more sense of empowerment we generally tend to have.

So, how do you apply this in your day to day?

First, I want you to identify any thoughts or situations that are causing you distress. Anything that generally would create a negative feeling in your life, I want you to start identifying those things. And if you can't identify the thoughts, because a lot of us don't have that capacity, we haven't exercised that part of our brain, so if we don't know what's causing the thought, you wanna start by saying, okay, where am I feeling bad? And whenever I'm feeling bad, I want to go back three or so minutes and understand what's the narrative going on in my brain?

Then I want you to look at what that narrative is. So, if that narrative is I'm stuck and I really don't want to be doing all this work, which is one of the things that one of my clients has said to me. In that framework, what you want to do is say, well do I have to do this work?

The work there is to get curious. Get curious about what's true in that framework. Get curious about what may not be true, and start asking questions. Start getting the data that says, this is a problem only because, or I am making this a bigger deal than it might actually be, or I'm using this narrative in order to escape or try to escape doing the work that isn't really fun to do.

So, get as curious as you can, start challenging that initial perspective, start addressing that initial perspective.

After you've started to look at that initial perspective, See how you feel when you restate that story.

So, if I have a story that I'm stuck and I'm trapped and I really have all this work to do and if I don't do this, I'm going to be a failure. If that story is coming up and I'm getting curious about it, am I really stuck or do I do this work because it pays well and because it helps me feed my family? Am I really stuck? Or is this work that I'm choosing to do because if I choose not to do it, then I won't be the person that I expect myself to be? Am I really stuck? Right? So once you go through all the curiosity and starting to pick apart the story, restate the story.

I'm stuck because, if I don't do this work, then I'm going to be a failure. Well, that sounds to me so much less true after I've looked at it more objectively. And as you restate that story, see how you feel. And if you don't feel quite as bad, you're doing it right. You're picking at the story in a meaningful way.

And if the story becomes laughable at some point, then anytime your brain offers you that story, you're going to be in a good position to not need to go down that escape hatch, to not need to escape into pornography. These are the things that you want to be looking at.

The way to practice this is Every day, just pull up a story that makes you feel bad and walk through it.

See if it's true. See how it may not be true. See how even if it may be true, it may not be as bad as you think it is, or it may be fine to just feel uncomfortable or unhappy or endure that negative feeling so that I can get to the part of life that I like.

So, just be really clear about what it is that your story is and reframe it, and then re empower yourself to make choices that drive closer to the things that you're looking to achieve.

Just to recap, if you really want to put pornography behind you in a meaningful way, empowering yourself and reframing the problems or reframing the stories that your brain is offering you that make you feel bad are key to creating a self reinforcing cycle that can automatically step in whenever your brain is offering you porn. And we don't always control what our brain offers you, but we always have control and we always have power in how we respond.

And the more we can exercise in that, the more likely it is that we're going to achieve the results that we're looking for.

And feel free to share your experiences with me. I would love to hear from you. You can either share them on social media and tag Thrive Beyond Pornography in that. Or you can just share them with your friends and just be vocal about, Hey, this is how I'm doing this. This is what I'm choosing to do so that I can create the life that I want to live.

And you don't have to talk about porn per se. You can just use these frameworks to talk about how your life is changing. I want to thank you guys for listening. Love you guys.

And if you need help with this. Set up an appointment, go to GeToThrive.Com and set up some time. I would love to meet with you. Darcy and I love helping individuals and couples put pornography behind them so their life is thriving beyond it. All right, my friends, we'll talk to you next week.



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