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Developing Standards in Porn Addiction Recovery

What are some of the standards you live by?

If you aren’t sure what standards are, you’re far from alone. The way I see it is if values and principles are the building blocks of your life, then standards are the final structure you’re working toward. Developing a strong set of standards is crucial if you want to be successful in your reboot. 

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the terms values, principles, and standards. People often think they’re the same thing. While all three are similar and related, there are unique differences that separate them, too.

Values are your long-lasting beliefs on certain issues that are important to you. They are essentially the foundation of your principles. Some examples of values are things like compassion, integrity, generosity, and patience.

Principles, on the other hand, are indisputable, unchanging rules that are based on your values. For instance, principles are things like treating others the way you want to be treated, or not getting involved with women in your workplace.

Standards are actions and behaviors that you expect yourself to live up to based on your values and principles. This includes working hard, being rigorously honest, committing to your physical well-being, supporting your family, and so on. 

I notice that people tend to adopt values, principles, or standards because they sound cool. Maybe a cool influencer or someone you look up to in life said them. However, if that value, principle, or standard doesn’t actually align with your truth, it won’t hold up over time. These things are all very personal and aren’t something you simply pick up from someone else.

Everyone has a different way of thinking and believing. Each person’s value system is shaped by a variety of factors like the area they were born in, the society they were raised in, the family and friends they grew up around, and more.

At first, you inevitably adopt the values, principles, and standards of those around you. But over time, you may start to recognize where those things don’t truly align with your thoughts and beliefs. You develop your own set of values, principles, and standards as you grow up, a set that works for you.

How do values, principles, and standards play a role in ending your out-of-control behavior with pornography and masturbation? Some of these things will have to do with your path in the Porn Addiction Recovery – Reboot system. For example, going to the strip club with your buddies used to not be that big of a deal. But now you’ll likely need to adopt a new standard that eliminates things like this from your life.

Additionally, people who don’t struggle with compulsive sexual behaviors generally have a bit more leeway in their lives. They may be able to push the limits of their adherence to principles without much thought or consequence. But if you find yourself out of alignment with your values, principles, and standards, you’ll also find yourself at a greater risk of slipping or relapsing.

This is the result of living dishonestly. Going against your values, principles, and standards, or adopting them from someone else instead of determining them for yourself, is dishonest. You’re the only one who can decide what path is right for you. If you choose to live by someone else’s standards, you’ll forever live a substandard life.

I want you to keep a few things in mind as you begin to consider the framework within which you want to live your life after you reboot:

  • You must create personal standards that you adhere to at all times. You cannot live a directionless life if you want to reboot successfully. Your standards inform your entire life, from the job you take to the people you spend time with. If you don’t have standards, you’ll be left to the whims of wherever life blows you.
  • You must recognize that standards are not the same thing as goals. Many men mistake standards for goals, but they’re different things. Standards are not ideals to work toward achieving in the future; they are things that drive the course of your life in each moment of every day. You should run every decision through your list of standards before following through with it.
  • Your standards are yours and yours alone, and you cannot impose them on others. Again, values, principles, and standards are all very personal things. You cannot move through life expecting everyone to adhere to your approach. This only sets you up for failure and lasting resentment. Live by your standards and leave others to behave as they see fit.
  • Standards are for personal fulfillment, not for impressing other people. Do not outline standards you think will “look good” to others. This is only another form of dishonesty. Outline standards that leave you feeling personally fulfilled. They should be a framework for living that lets you put your head on the pillow at night knowing you’ve been true to yourself throughout the day.

Ultimately, the most important part of living a successful life is ensuring that your thoughts and actions align with your beliefs. Developing and living by a strong set of standards is the most efficient and effective way to do this. If you want to be successful in the Porn Reboot program, setting these standards now is a crucial part of the process.

 

The Freedom of Forgiveness

What comes to mind when you hear the word “forgiveness”?

Perhaps you recall the religion of your childhood. Maybe you think of a resentment you’re trying to let go of. You might even think of someone you’re hoping will forgive you for something you’ve done.

I believe that forgiveness is a forgotten skill. It empowers you to overcome some of the things that hold you back most in your porn addiction recovery. Holding onto anger keeps you a prisoner of your emotions. But learning to forgive provides the freedom you’ve looked for in many different avenues up to this point.

Are you harboring any grudges over things said or done to you in the past? It’s difficult to reach the later stages of your reboot if you don’t let go of those past harms. However, I understand that it’s challenging to release these things which is why I believe that forgiveness is a skill.

Take a moment to recall some of the worst times of your life. Think of some of the worst things you said and did during your porn addiction. If you’re anything like me, I said and did many things that caused a lot of harm to other people. My words and actions resulted in much emotional, physical, psychological, and financial damage.

I also found that I was holding onto a lot of grudges. I was so angry at others for the way they treated me despite the awful things I did. I was angry at women who rejected me and friends who said things behind my back. It didn’t matter that I’d hurt them, too; I was still furious.

It’s safe to say I had a lot of baggage when I finally decided to end my out-of-control behavior. I had to release some of the weight I was carrying if I wanted to reboot because I was at a point where it was too painful to carry on. While forgiveness was the last thing on my mind, it wasn’t until later that I realized letting go of these things meant I was beginning that process.

Forgiveness begins with you, brother. It starts with forgiving yourself for the harmful behavior you’ve engaged in for so many years. Learning to do this frees you from the heavy load of guilt and shame you’ve carried for so long. As you truly embrace forgiveness for yourself, you’ll find a lightness in the world that you never imagined possible.

Once you forgive yourself, it’s time to start extending that forgiveness to others. Think about all the people you’re carrying grudges against or felt resentment toward. Call each grudge and resentment to mind one at a time. Consider whether it’s worth it to continue carrying it or if it’s time to forgive, let go, and move forward.

Oftentimes people believe that forgiveness is for the other person’s sake. I’m here to tell you, brother, that forgiveness is for you. It’s a process that frees you from the mental strain of carrying all this frustration, rage, and resentment. These things take much more energy to sustain than you may think.

At the same time, this doesn’t absolve you of responsibility for the harm you’ve caused. You must still acknowledge your wrongdoings and make restitution to those you hurt. A simple “sorry” is often not enough; it’s time to make genuine amends.

But this won’t come until you learn to forgive others, which starts with forgiving yourself. It takes time to develop this skill but it’s necessary if you want to be successful in your Porn Addiction Counseling or Porn Reboot Program. You will never overcome your out-of-control behavior if you don’t learn the art of forgiveness. But as you continue working on yourself, your ability to forgive will develop and grow.

Self-Esteem for Porn Addiction Recovery

Self-esteem is something I write and talk a lot about here on the blog and our various other channels.

As men who struggle with a compulsive porn addiction problems, sex, and masturbation, our self-esteem tends to be horribly low when we first decide to quit. We hate ourselves, we’re filled with guilt and shame, we believe we’re weak and pathetic, and more.

Unless you rebuild your self-esteem, you’ll always find yourself struggling to maintain your reboot. You’ll never see yourself as a man who can live a life free of compulsive sexual behavior if you don’t address your self-image and self-esteem. What can you do to work on your poor self-esteem when you first arrive at the porn addiction recovery – reboot program?

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself. It’s based on your self-image and how you view yourself. For example, if you see yourself as a pathetic, porn-addicted man who can’t overcome his behavior, you’ll have poor self-esteem. However, if you recognize that everyone makes mistakes, has the power to overcome them, and know that you’re working to be a better man, you’ll have a strong sense of self-esteem.

There are a few different aspects that make up your self-esteem. Addressing each of these areas will help you build up your sense of self-esteem and strengthen the way you feel about yourself.

Identity

Humans naturally feel a desire and drive to belong to something. Your identity is made up of two parts: identity within a group and identity within yourself. In terms of a group, your identity is defined by the kind of people you surround yourself with. This includes your family, friends, colleagues, and community. In terms of yourself, your identity involves all of your characteristics, both positive and negative. Reaching self-acceptance is important for cultivating self-esteem.

Competence

Competence is having trust in your ability to do or not do something. It involves an understanding of your capabilities, limitations, and desire to learn new things. You won’t feel very great if you believe you aren’t capable of much. On the other hand, if you believe in your abilities, you’ll have a deeper sense of self-esteem. Men who feel highly competent tend to have higher levels of self-esteem than those who feel incompetent. 

Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is the main feeder of your self-esteem. Your sense of security, both personally and with those around you, contributes heavily to how you feel about yourself. Confident men also have high self-esteem. Building up your self-esteem relies primarily on building up your self-confidence.

Self-Esteem in Extremes

There is an important caveat when it comes to building self-esteem. Going to extremes on either end, whether you have far too much self-esteem or far too little, isn’t a healthy place to be. The most effective approach to self-esteem resides somewhere in a balanced middle point.

For example, some men may have very high self-esteem without realizing that it isn’t grounded in anything. They have an overly inflated sense of self but it isn’t built on anything outside of their perception. Then you have men who tear themselves down any chance they get. These men also carry an unrealistic, extreme view of themselves but on the other end of the spectrum.

Something I notice in high-performing men is their tendency to vacillate between these two spaces. Sometimes they puff themselves up and believe they’re better than others around them. Other times they’re overcome with guilt, shame, and remorse, and believe they will never overcome their behavior or amount to anything.

Typically these extremes of self-esteem stem from coping or compensating. Men who struggle with self-acceptance will swing from one extreme to the other without. They struggle to find a middle ground where they can simply be a small part of the greater whole.

Having self-esteem in extremes is not a helpful way to live. It’s not grounded in reality and it’s built on a false sense of self. You’re neither better than everyone else nor worse than everyone else. You reside somewhere in the middle, a human among other humans, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The Importance of Building Self-Esteem

When you develop healthy self-esteem, you know exactly who you are, where you want to be, and what you want to do. This enables you to make better choices in every area of your life. It informs the direction you need to take so you can most efficiently and enjoyably arrive at your intended destination.

Having a clear idea of these three things allows you to make smarter decisions about who you spend time with and which activities you participate in. When you’re operating from a place of healthy self-esteem, you’ll surround yourself with people who understand you and do things that you like doing or will benefit you.

Part of fulfilling these long-term goals involves getting out of your comfort zone. You won’t be able to get out of your comfort zone if your self-esteem is low, though. This is another reason building self-esteem is so important. When you’re comfortable with yourself, you’re more likely to try new things, meet challenges, face your fears, address your insecurities, and more.

A strong sense of self-esteem is also crucial because it increases your resilience to the judgment or rejection of others. You aren’t concerned about what others think of you when you have a strong sense of self and a clear sense of where you’re going.

How to Start Building Self-Esteem

Now that you know why having a strong sense of self-esteem is so important, I’ll leave you with an exercise to practice building it. You might think it sounds silly but I need you to trust me on this one, brother.

Stand in your bedroom or living room, somewhere you can be on your own. Imagine there’s a circle drawn on the ground in front of you. Looking at that circle, call to mind all of the positive things you want to be, the happy feelings you want to feel, the best memories you can think of, and everything you hope for from life. Put the thought and energy of all those great things into that circle that sits on the floor before you.

Then I want you to physically step into that circle and allow the positive energy and image you created to surround you. Feel those incredible feelings and experiences merge with you. When you step into this circle you’re stepping into the new version of yourself. You may not feel it fully yet but you will notice a shift in your mental energy and well-being.

Once you practice this exercise at home you can begin bringing it with you anywhere you go. Imagine that circle is always right in front of you and you can step into it at any time. Then you can step out of it a stronger, more confident version of yourself.

I know, it might sound a bit woo-woo or out there. I want you to try it, though, without judgment. Once you do, head over to the Porn Reboot Facebook group and tell us about your experience with it. Let us know what your experience was and read about some of our other brothers’ experiences with the exercise. It’s a great first step toward building self-esteem as you begin incorporating other aspects of the Porn Reboot program.

Anger and Emotional Reboot Capital

We’re in the middle of a small series on the concept of reboot capital. Just like a business needs capital to grow, your reboot needs capital to be positive and productive. There are five areas of your life where you need to build up reboot capital: 

  • Spiritual
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Social

Today I want to continue last week’s post on emotional reboot capital. Getting in touch with your emotions and learning to identify them is one of the greatest challenges of your early reboot. 

There is one emotion, in particular, that tends to stand out as men start feeling their feelings again: anger.

Anger is one of the most common emotions in men dealing with out-of-control sexual behavior. Oftentimes therapists will teach men to “let out their anger” as long as they again learn to “manage it.” 

Sure, this may be true, but encouraging that early in your reboot is like handing a hand grenade to a child. You have no experience controlling strong emotions. Leaning into an emotion as intense as anger can lead to an explosive and even dangerous outcome.

Anger is a normal experience. You’re not a bad person because you’re walking around feeling angry most of the time. Many men who had no experience with anger issues before find that they feel incredible rage when they first start the reboot process. You’re not to blame for the anger that swells up during the early days of your reboot. 

You are, however, responsible for learning to control it. If you want to be successful in your porn addiction recovery you must not let your anger control you. It’s one of the most powerful relapse triggers, right after fear, shame, and doubt. Controlling your anger begins with understanding the causes of it and how it works.

Most men use porn and masturbation to suppress anger issues early in life. They pushed this emotion down deep instead of allowing it to run its course. Like all suppressed emotions, the anger comes out tenfold when it’s finally given some space. 

Anger is like any other emotion, such as joy. It’s neither good nor bad. What makes anger bad is the poor ways that people tend to handle it. When you use it as an excuse to fly off the handle and end up in a rage, anger is bad. When you add on the internal challenges of guilt, depression, burnout, loneliness, and paranoia, it only adds fuel to the fire.

Some of the main causes of anger include:

  • Fear 
  • Irrational beliefs
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Uncommunicated needs

Every time you have an expectation that goes unmet or a false belief that you seek proof for, it triggers the anger deep within you. As you progress through your reboot you’ll naturally work through each of these areas. You’ll learn to face your fear. You’ll learn to challenge your irrational beliefs. You’ll learn to drop your unrealistic expectations. You’ll learn to speak up about your needs.

In the meantime, though, incorporating some things can help you avoid and work through anger. You spent years anesthetizing your emotions with porn, sex, and masturbation. Now that you no longer have these “tools”, what can you do instead?

I recommend starting with exercise. Regular exercise is an effective way to free yourself of pent-up frustration through the natural release of endorphins. When you feel that anger rise inside, go for a long walk, lift weights at the gym, shoot some hoops at the basketball court. Find a form of exercise that works for you and implement it – it will make more of a difference than you can imagine.

Next, keep a journal of the things that trigger you. What are the events, situations, people, and circumstances that cause the anger? What are some other feelings that come up during these moments? Writing is a crucial tool to use when learning to work through anger and other emotions, not only at the start of your reboot but throughout it.

Mindfulness meditation is another helpful practice to incorporate when you’re starting to work through your anger. The practice of mindfulness involves being present in the moment and paying attention to what’s going on around you. It also involves not sinking into or dwelling in your feelings. Instead, you observe them and then let them pass by.

Anger is a normal part of life, brother, and learning to live with it will make your porn addiction counseling much more successful. These three practices, exercise, journaling, and mindfulness, are each an antidote to your anger. The more often you incorporate each one, the easier it will be to work through anger when it arises. 

However, if you choose not to involve practices to address your anger it will contribute much distress and unhappiness in your life. You leave yourself more at risk of relapse, you’ll treat others poorly, and you’ll continue to struggle. If you want to find freedom from your out-of-control behavior, finding freedom from anger is a vital part of the process.

Emotional Reboot Capital

Last week I mentioned starting a small series on the concept of reboot capital. 

Just like a business needs capital to grow, your reboot needs capital to be positive and productive. There are five areas of your life where you need to build up reboot capital: 

  • Spiritual
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Social

Now that we’ve covered the spiritual and mental aspects of your reboot, emotional wellbeing is the next area to pursue. Building emotional reboot capital requires you to feel and experience life at a deeper level. Your emotional side is the part of you that seeks meaningful contact with others.

A pornography-laden life creates distance between you and those you love. This applies not only in a physical sense because of the time you spend watching it. This also applies in an emotional sense because it dampens your emotions and holds you back from building fulfilling relationships with the people you care about.

Over time, the truth begins to blur as you justify your increasingly harmful behavior. You shut down emotionally to block out the negative feelings that stem from your porn addiction problems and compulsive sexual behavior. The deeper you fall into your addiction, the more you’re forced to numb your emotions.

A successful reboot requires you to reconnect with your emotions so you can once again fully engage with life. At the same time, it also requires learning to keep your emotions from controlling you. This means you need to address your emotional deficiencies and build emotional reboot capital. What does emotional reboot capital entail?

Most men who struggle with out-of-control sexual behavior stunted their emotional growth. They are emotionally immature. If you started watching porn during your childhood or early teenage years, you’re more likely to experience adverse results, cognitive disorders, and social challenges during adulthood.

Emotionally immature men remain stuck in their negative emotions and seem to have no way out of them. For example, you may feel uncomfortable in your skin and find it difficult to deal with the everyday challenges of life. When faced with problems you may become short-tempered or feel unable to cope. Some men even develop learned helplessness, meaning they depend too heavily on others because they don’t believe they have the power to enact change for themselves.

There are many dangers of unaddressed emotional immaturity. These include things like:

  • Loneliness
  • Lack of intimacy
  • Difficulties with interpersonal relationships
  • Struggles with building new friendships
  • Inability to face life on life’s terms
  • Greater risk of slips or relapse

On the other hand, emotionally mature men recognize, understand, and manage their emotions. This enables them to define success for themselves, relate with others, and create the life they desire. Emotionally mature men do not need to numb the intensity of life’s ups and downs; they take each moment as it comes and make the best of it.

Some of the traits of emotionally mature men include:

  • Not a victim of their emotions
  • Easier to live in the moment
  • Able to be of use to others
  • Experience less stress
  • Build stronger, more effective relationships
  • Overall optimism about the future

Working through your emotional immaturity is critical if you want to be successful in your porn addiction recovery. Emotionally immature men do not have a successful porn addiction counseling. They blame others for their problems and refuse to take responsibility. And while you may struggle with emotional immaturity now, you have the power to work through and overcome this serious handicap.

Building emotional reboot capital is a bit more challenging than spiritual and mental capital. These emotional deficiencies plague us our entire lives up to the point where we are today. I’m going to unpack the ways you can build emotional reboot capital over the next few days before we launch into the rest of the series.

 

Mental Reboot Capital

Last week I mentioned starting a small series on the concept of reboot capital. 

Just like a business needs capital to grow, your reboot needs capital to be positive and productive. There are five areas of your life where you need to build up reboot capital: 

  • Spiritual
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Social

Today I’m going to dig into the importance of building up your mental reboot capital. The mental area of your life refers to your cognitive abilities consisting of your thinking and reasoning skills. It also includes your thoughts, beliefs, and values. Your mental wellbeing is the foundation that your porn addiction recovery is built on.

When you live with an out-of-control sexual behavior, your behaviors hijack your mind. Whether you prefer porn, masturbation, sex, chat sites, cam sites, OnlyFans, escorts, your compulsive behavior distorts your thinking capabilities. 

Your out-of-control sexual behavior leads you to develop irrational thinking patterns and severely limits your choices. Couple this with a misaligned set of values and you begin to see the very terrible personal, spiritual, social, and even legal problems that your behavior can cause.

Building mental reboot capital begins with increasing your knowledge about your addictive behavior. You do this by what you’re already doing – reading this blog. You can expand your knowledge by listening to the Porn Reboot podcast, watching videos on our YouTube channel, or engaging with brothers in the free Facebook group.

Further growth comes from challenging your distorted thinking patterns and beliefs. Reestablishing your values is one of the quickest ways to build mental reboot capital. Having a strong values system provides you with a guide for developing every other area of your reboot capital. Knowing the values you prefer to live by clears up any lingering confusion.

You’re going to experience times during your reboot when you feel compelled to relax a bit. You’ll want to let off the gas pedal and set the cruise control. For example, take the holiday season that just passed. Everyone around you is taking it easy and relaxing but you’re still starting your day with a morning routine, getting into the gym, and staying connected with your accountability partners. You wonder why you should have to work so hard while your friends and family check out for the rest of the year.

These are the times your mental reboot capital is most important. If anything, your reboot routine becomes even more crucial during these periods. While there’s nothing wrong with relaxing, taking your foot off the gas pedal is the first way to send yourself into a relapse cycle.

Mental reboot capital helps you remember why you started your reboot in the first place. It reminds you of the importance of building reboot capital in every area of your life. Your mental reboot capital keeps you on the path during the moments you question whether your out-of-control behavior was really “that big of a deal.”

Truth is, brother, you’re not like your friends and family. Sure, you may have plenty of things in common. But if they don’t also have a problem with porn, sex, and masturbation, they don’t have to adhere to the same structure as you. Your pursuit of a porn-free life means you must completely change your perspective and rewire your brain.

There will also be times when you feel challenged and overwhelmed. You’re going to have days where the motivation to move forward simply isn’t there. Building mental reboot capital strengthens you during these days, too. You won’t feel inspired every day but your mental porn addiction counseling program will keep you going when these moments inevitably arise.

Having a deep acceptance of your problem with porn, sex, and masturbation, understanding why it happens, and recognizing how to get out of it are all components of your mental wellbeing. As you work on these aspects of your reboot, your mental reboot capital will grow. Stay committed to the process, brother, and you’ll find yourself able to handle these lulls when they arise!

How To Develop Empathy As A Porn Addict

Empathy is a vital skill that you need to develop as you work through your reboot.

It’s a key emotion to work on as you develop emotional reboot capital. Empathy is something that everyone is capable of cultivating but it works just like a muscle: it atrophies if you don’t use it. However, you can also build it up with consistent training and practice.

What is Empathy?

In a nutshell, empathy is your ability to recognize and embrace another person’s point of view. It’s the practice of putting yourself in their shoes, experiencing what they’re experiencing, and understanding what they’re going through.

There are three different kinds of empathy: cognitive, emotional, and compassionate empathy. Knowing the difference between these three forms of empathy can help you create good responses depending on context. You may not need all of them at every moment but it’s useful to learn which situations require which form of empathy.

Cognitive empathy means knowing what the other person is going through. You’re able to put yourself in their shoes while maintaining some distance. For example, when someone feels hurt or ashamed you intellectually embrace what they’re going through while keeping an appropriate distance, or “staying out of the problem.”

Emotional empathy means sharing another person’s experience with them. Think about the ways people describe physical manifestations of their emotions, like a feeling in their gut or a pain in their chest. In this way, emotions are almost contagious. Emotional empathy occurs when you tap into these deep emotional experiences.

Finally, compassionate empathy is a combination of both cognitive and emotional empathy. It’s a perfectly balanced empathy that allows you to use all available information to relate to another person. It’s the most effective and emotionally intelligent way to empathize with those around you. It limits the emotional distance of cognitive empathy but lessens the intensity of emotional empathy.

Empathy vs. Sympathy

Before you can develop empathy it’s important to distinguish empathy from sympathy. While sympathy sounds like a nice characteristic, it can actually cause a lot of harm. Too many people use sympathy as a way to enable someone’s excuses. It often turns into feeling sorry for the person which keeps them stuck in the perpetual victim state.

No one can grow when they’re sitting in this position. They believe everything is happening to them, not around them. They think the world is out to do them wrong. They insist they have no power or control over the situation they’re in. And sympathizing with this type of person will only make their problems worse.

However, empathy offers a clear perspective on their situation. It allows room for understanding while leaving no room for excuses or stagnant behavior. Empathy accepts and acknowledges a person’s starting point but then holds them accountable for moving forward and taking action to change their circumstances. It shows you want the best for them.

Empathy and Accountability

Empathy is an especially important skill to develop when it comes to accountability partnerships. If you lack empathy while working with an accountability partner you limit your capability to be helpful. If you only have sympathy then you enable your partner’s poor behavior and excuses.

You’re most effective when you develop a strong sense of empathy. You can listen to your accountable partners and relate to their difficulties while still holding them to a higher standard. 

You’re in a unique position to empathize with your brothers in the porn addiction recovery program, too, because you understand exactly what they’re going through. You know how challenging it is to overcome your out-of-control behavior. At the same time, though, you also know it’s possible and can keep your brothers on track.

How Can You Develop Empathy?

Years of porn addiction problems and compulsive sexual behavior likely destroyed your capacity for empathy. You may feel incapable of love, kindness, and understanding. If you’re in this position you’re far from alone. Many brothers share the same struggles when they first arrive at the Porn Reboot program.

Like I said earlier, though, empathy is like a muscle. While it may have atrophied over the years you can begin to build it back up through intentional practice. Developing empathy is possible as you learn to control your behavior and end your pornography addiction.

The best way to begin your practice is to start with yourself. Focus on cultivating compassion and empathy toward yourself before attempting to turn it outward. It’s like every airplane safety video you’ve ever heard: “In the event of an emergency, please affix your oxygen mask before helping others around you.”

I have a simple practice you can use to begin developing empathy. First, think about a problem you’re dealing with right now. Put that problem into words. “I’m really worried about __________. I feel __________.” Learn to identify the feelings you experience as a result of this particular situation.

Now, remind yourself that other people likely experience similar feelings during similar situations. There is always someone who understands and has gone through whatever it is you’re going through. Think about the ways you’re feeling and recognize that someone else feels the same way. Don’t you want to offer them the reassurance you’d like to feel?

Next, call to mind three to five people in your life whom you admire and respect. Consider the things they may say to encourage you through this struggle. They might tell you to be kind to yourself, to take care of yourself, to nurture yourself, to love yourself, and so on. Hear these people you care about telling you these things in your mind and begin embracing them.

Another way to develop self-compassion is to see yourself through the eyes of a loving grandparent. They’re somewhat removed from your upbringing and therefore have a more gentle view of you. While your parents deal with your every difficult attribute, your grandparents are less inclined to focus only on the negative. Try to view yourself the way your grandparents may see you.

Reach Out For Help

Developing empathy doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Sure, you may make some progress without leaning on others. But true compassion for yourself and those around you happens when you bring the practice into the real world. 

I suggest joining us in the free Porn Reboot Facebook group and finding some men who are working to cultivate empathy. It’s a bunch of regular guys just like you who struggle with the same exact things. They know what you’re dealing with and can walk you through their own experiences with developing empathy.

It’s not something that happens all at once but I guarantee you it’s worth the effort. The benefits of cultivating empathy expand far outside yourself and your immediate circle; they impact everyone you come in contact with each day of your life.

The Importance of Values To Your Reboot

What are some values that are important to you?

Could you list 5 or 10 clear values that define how you believe it’s important to live?

Whenever I ask a brother what his value system is, I tend to get vague responses. They fumble around and offer general things like being a good guy and doing the right thing. The problem is that being a good guy and doing the right thing looks different to different people. Not everyone has the same idea of what a “good guy” looks like. Those values are empty and meaningless. They don’t offer any real direction or purpose in your life.

I believe that a man must have clearly defined values to fully recover from his porn addiction and change his self-image. This may sound terrifying if you struggled to define clear values but I promise that I can help. Values are of the utmost importance in your reboot and I want to help you understand how to define those which are important to you.

What Are Values?

Values are generalizations that describe things that are important to you. They help you define what is good or bad, right or wrong. Your values have a massive impact on your actions because they drive behavior and provide motivation for all of your actions. 

An easy way to think about values is to see them as buttons that either attract or repel you from things in life. They move you closer towards or further away from an outcome. Values are typically closely connected to your beliefs. These things work together to help you outline how you want to live.

Why Are Values Important?

To put it simply, values are the key to unlocking your mindset. You’re going to feel uncomfortable if you do something that goes against your value system. Understanding your values is a vital part of uncovering mental roadblocks and determining whether you’re moving in the right direction. 

For example, I’m very open about my belief that casual sex is just fine once you’re past a certain point in your reboot. Some men in the Porn Reboot program are Christians, though, and don’t want to engage in casual sex. It goes against their value system and doing so would make them feel bad and maybe even put them at risk of a relapse.

Just because I view casual sex as something that isn’t a big deal doesn’t make my Christian brothers’ value systems any less important or valid. This is why you must get clear on what your personal value system is; no one else can define it for you.

Values Determine Your Priorities

It’s easier to prioritize your life once you’re clear on your values. You can organize your life to fit your needs when you know what is most important to you. Let’s say you’re a man with a wife and kids who absolutely loves his family. Your family is one of your greatest values. Understanding the value of family in your life means you may have to sacrifice time for them but it’s worth it because you value them.

Getting clear on my values is what enables me to do all the things that I do. Brothers in the group often ask me how it is that I can meditate for two hours and get to the gym every day while still having time to meet with men in the porn addiction recovery group and interact with my partner.

I don’t have any more time in a single day than you do, brother. There’s no secret behind my daily routine that adds an extra hour or two. It’s simple. I can do all these things because I value them. I value my mental wellbeing, I value my physical health, I value my work, and I value my partner. Each aspect is important to me so I make sure I dedicate time to each of them every single day.

Dissatisfaction Means Unmet Values

If you’re feeling uncomfortable or unfulfilled it likely means that you’re living out of congruence with your values. Let’s say you believe that you value fitness and health. You know you want to eat whole foods and commit to a regular gym routine. When lunchtime comes, though, you swing through a fast food drive thru and pick up a greasy burger and fries.

The more you engage in actions that are out of alignment with your values, the more dissatisfied you become. There’s nothing wrong with admitting your original values may not be your true values, but trying to force yourself into a value system that isn’t your own will leave you feeling discontent.

On the other hand, you’re going to feel satisfied and at peace when you live in congruence with your values. If you say you value fitness and health then spend your time meal prepping and getting to the gym after work, you will feel much more at ease. Even if the actions required to meet your values are tiring, the results make you feel invigorated.

Get Clear on Your Values

You must get clear on your values if you want to be successful in your reboot. Part of the reboot process is understanding truths about yourself and then taking the action required to align with those truths. You will feel much better when you align your behavior with your value system. But you can’t do that until you understand what your value system is.

If you’re having a hard time determining what your values are, I invite you to join us in the Porn Reboot Facebook group. You can reach out to some brothers who have worked through the process and are willing to share their experience. Surrounding yourself with men who have done the work will make it easier for you to do your own work, too.

Your Self-Talk Superpower

Today I want to dive into what I consider to be a superpower for many men: self-talk.

You may have heard of the term self-talk in different self-improvement circles but I view it a bit differently. I want to help you understand what it is, the important role it plays, and how you can develop it in your life, not only for rebooting but to help you achieve all your goals.

What is Self-Talk?

Self-talk is your intra-personal communication. It is the way you speak to yourself internally and the story you tell yourself, both of which also contribute to the way you communicate with others. Everybody talks to themselves, it’s a normal thing. Some have a more constant inner dialogue than others but everyone experiences it to some degree.

When you pay attention to your inner dialogue you’ll see that it reflects your thoughts and emotions. It provides a running commentary on everything going on around you, on your hopes for the future, your regrets about the past, and more. 

People often think that self-talk is something innate that can’t be changed. It’s part of who you are and is the way that it is. However, I know that’s far from the truth. You have more control over your self-talk than you’d like to admit or believe.

Paying attention to your self-talk helps you get to know yourself in a deeper, more honest way. You discover your thinking patterns and how you react to events outside your control. Once you notice these patterns, it allows you to do something about them.

Dysfunctional vs. Constructive Self-Talk

Some people are programmed for positive self-talk. It doesn’t take much for their headspace to remain upbeat and beneficial as they move through their lives. However, others are prone to negative self-talk. Their inner monologue tends to carry a critical view of the world around them and especially themselves.

This means there are two types of self-talk: constructive and dysfunctional. Dysfunctional self-talk tells a bad story that makes you feel helpless and hopeless. Constructive self-talk makes you feel awesome, like you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

Dysfunctional self-talk is what creates negative feelings. It causes things like anxiety and depression, further instills insecurity, and exacerbates negative emotion. On the other hand, constructive self-talk provides access to all kinds of wonderful emotions. It leaves you feeling happy, confident, and full of optimism. 

Getting your self-talk to this constructive space is when it becomes a superpower that makes you unstoppable.

Why is Self-Talk So Important?

Self-talk has a direct impact on how you feel. Negative self-talk makes you feel terrible while positive self-talk makes you feel incredible. This isn’t the only thing that makes it important, though. The interesting thing about self-talk is that it amplifies your perception of experiences.

For example, if you’re stressed out and overwhelmed with negative thoughts, it makes your stressful situation even more stressful. But if you’re filled with positive thoughts, you’ll have an easier time talking yourself through this moment of difficulty, trusting that it won’t last forever.

Ultimately, your self-talk creates a feedback loop. The positivity or negativity of that loop depends on the way you talk to yourself. If your inner dialogue amplifies both negative and positive things, which would you prefer it amplifies?

Learning to Control Self-Talk

You’re not a victim of your inner dialogue. While you may not know how to control it yet, the good thing is you can learn how to. You can incorporate different practices that help you develop an awareness of how you talk to yourself and then change those negative thought patterns.

The first step to controlling your self-talk is to make a conscious effort to pay attention to your thoughts. Do this as you go through your day. Listen to the way your mind reacts to whatever happens around you. Observe the patterns of thought that happen automatically with little input from your conscious mind.

The more you pay attention, the more you’ll recognize the trend of your thoughts. Are you more prone to positive or negative thinking? If you’re here in the Porn Reboot program and early in your reboot, you’re more likely to err on the side of dysfunctional self-talk.

Next, write down a list of your most common thought patterns. What are the things you regularly tell yourself? Are you encouraging or do you tear yourself down? What specific phrases do you repeat? Write all of these things down on paper so you have them in front of you in black and white.

Read each thought and ask yourself whether there is any truth behind it. It may be difficult at first when you’re still programmed to see yourself negatively. The more you read through this list, though, the more you realize most of the things you tell yourself are far from true. In fact, many of them are probably ridiculous.

Self-Talk and Your Reboot

You’ve spent so many years of your life telling yourself all sorts of terrible things; no wonder you feel so poorly all the time. Learning to control your self-talk is crucial if you want to be successful in your porn addiction recovery

If you tell yourself that you’re a loser every time you slip it will be much harder for you to overcome these setbacks. But if you accept your imperfections, tell yourself that you’re working hard, and that you learn from your mistakes, it will be much easier to avoid these mistakes.

Working on your self-talk is an important part of your reboot. There are tons of men in the free Porn Reboot Facebook group who understand the difficulties of controlling self-talk. If you’re having a hard time with changing your dysfunctional thinking, jump into the group and find some support from your brothers as you work on it!

How to Measure Your Reboot Goals in 2022

Can you believe we’re already in the final week of 2021?

Winter holidays have come and gone and we’re only a few days away from New Year’s. If you haven’t already, now is the time to sit down and outline some goals for yourself during the upcoming year. Take a moment to reflect on 2021 and look forward to what you want to accomplish in 2022.

One critical aspect of setting effective goals is ensuring you can measure your progress. If your goal isn’t measurable, how will you know whether you’re on track to reach it or not? 

Some goals are easy to measure and track. Things like financial numbers or business milestones are straightforward and measurable. You can see precisely how close you are to accomplishing what you’re working toward.

When it comes to your porn addiction recovery, though, setting measurable goals is a bit more difficult. Many brothers are tempted to measure their success by their porn-free time. Sure, counting days is the easiest way to measure but it’s the least effective way to track progress. I’ve always been very vocal about encouraging men in the Porn Reboot program to not count days. I believe that porn-free streaks don’t matter, nor do I believe they are a true measure of your progress.

Counting days means nothing. What is the point of not masturbating if you aren’t going to make any other changes? Why would you not bust a nut for months and months but remain the same cranky, irritable, emotional person you’ve always been? If you remain undisciplined, isolated, and lack determination, then who cares how long your streak is?

There are better ways to measure your reboot goals in 2022.

Measure your improvement by recognizing whether you’re still acting out in ways that lead to slips. Measure your improvement based on your emotions and behavior. Measure your improvement by tracking the coping skills you implement or reboot capital you gain. Measure your improvement using the strength of your relationships.

These are all far more useful indicators of success than the number of days since you last jerked off or watched porn.

The Porn Reboot program is not for men who only want to overcome their pornography addiction. It isn’t for men who are concerned with their porn use or masturbation but not the other areas of their lives that are falling apart. It’s not for men who aren’t willing to make drastic changes in their lives to leave their old ways behind.

Instead, the Porn Reboot program is for men ready to dedicate their time, attention, and energy to becoming the best version of themselves possible. It’s for men who are tired of living directionless, pathetic lives that center around watching porn and masturbating. The program is a pathway to help you not only overcome your compulsive sexual behavior but to enhance your entire life.

If you want an easy way to measure your porn addiction recovery goals in 2022, I encourage you to sign up for our free “Best Year Ever” training program. It’s my gift to you for being part of the Porn Reboot community. Whether you’re new to the blog or you’ve been reading for a while, I want to offer this free blueprint that will help you start the year strong as a way to thank you for joining us here.

Once you sign up, I invite you to join us in the free Porn Reboot Facebook group if you haven’t already. We’re a group of hardworking, high-performing men dedicated to helping every man who wants to overcome his behavior with porn and reframe his life. If that sounds like you, sign up for the free program, join the group, and let us know that you’re starting 2022 strong with us. 

Looking forward to seeing you, brother.

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