I’ve had something on my mind lately. How many experiences are you holding yourself back from in life?
What beliefs do you carry with you that keep you from engaging in certain things you’ve wanted to try?
Too many people hold onto false beliefs that keep them from trying things they want to try. Whether it’s something their parents told them when they were young, the religion they grew up in, or societal expectations in general, people hold themselves back from experiences in life.
When I was younger, my mom raised my siblings and me to believe we needed to build simple lives for ourselves. She insisted we didn’t need to chase after big things. A good spouse, some kids, and a little house were all we needed to have a good life in her mind.
The religion I was raised in insisted that we shouldn’t have sex with multiple people. Women who have sex with too many men and men who have sex with too many women are committing a sin and immoral in the mind of God.
Society taught me that the same applied to amassing wealth. The more material things I gained, the more I’d grow attached to them, and the more unhappy I’d become as a result. I’m not supposed to want material things in life because it’s going to lead me down a path of misery.
Material Things Won’t Make You Happy
How are you currently trying to achieve happiness? What are you doing that you think will lead you to feel happy? Are you basing your happiness on when/then ideas?
“When I’m in a relationship, then I’ll be happy.”
“When I’m financially stable, then I’ll be happy.”
“When I build a family, then I’ll be happy.”
“When I gain control over my urges, then I’ll be happy.”
You make these agreements with yourself that you’ll feel happy once you accomplish these things, but there are two problems with that way of thinking.
- You’re left feeling unhappy until you get there.
- There’s no guarantee that you’ll feel happy once you arrive.
Happiness is a byproduct of experiences, not a destination to reach. It’s like those sayings you hear about life being all about the journey, not about the destination. You might think it’s cheesy but it’s true. If you don’t stop to enjoy the process you’re going to miss the entire point of your life.
Life is still going on as you pursue your goals whether you’re paying attention or not. Every day you’re alive presents an opportunity to be very grateful. There are precious little moments in your everyday existence that you overlook too often, distracted by your long-term pursuits.
I believe that you can achieve happiness and have optimal mental health without having all the material things you’re chasing after. You don’t need to have a bunch of sex, a nice car, a nice house, a full family, or whatever it is you think you want. You can’t buy or sleep or date your way to happiness. You can be happy before ever achieving any of those things.
At the same time, that doesn’t mean the pursuit of these material things is wrong. There’s nothing bad about sleeping with different women, working to make money, or trying to build a family. All of these experiences add joy and depth to your life. But you can’t base your happiness around any of these things because, again, nothing is guaranteed.
Denying Yourself Leads To Misery, Too
You also can’t neglect material things as a result of your false beliefs. Making yourself a martyr and denying yourself pleasures in life is only going to make you miserable, too. It’s not an all-or-nothing thing.
For example, I speak with men who had strong urges to sleep with different women when they were younger. Various things keep them from acting on these desires, from religion to family to society. So they don’t follow through on it but that doesn’t mean the urges go away, either.
Once they’ve grown older and their sex drive drops off, the desires are still there. They had these urges they never acted on and now have to come to terms with the opportunities they missed. These men tried pushing their urges away but now he’s left feeling unfulfilled and in pain as he processes that truth.
I did the same thing, too. I was the same type of man when I started my reboot. As my brain rewired, though, I examined certain beliefs and realized they weren’t my own. I knew I adopted them early in life and carried them up to that point. So I made the decision to go out and act on these urges I had, to “get it out of my system” in a way.
I spent a two-year period going out there and fulfilling most of my desires, all the things I thought I wanted from pornography. The interesting thing was I quickly discerned fantasy from reality as a result of my own experience rather than what someone told me. I learned it’s much different when I’m doing something for myself rather than relying on the experiences of others.
I certainly had my share of negative learning experiences along the way, don’t get me wrong. But what it did for me was allow me to come to terms with what my true urges and desires are, and it gave me a realistic view of them. I found it easier to do those things myself and then go back and draw my conclusions from my experiences.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
Don’t take my word for it, go out and experience it yourself. There’s no better teacher than your own experiences, after all. And this doesn’t only apply to sexual desires and urges. I applied the same practices to my beliefs about finances and relationships, too.
The most important thing is that you don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t allow false beliefs about happiness to get in the way of you trying things for yourself. You don’t want to be in your 60s or 70s wishing you had done things differently while you still had time.
Realize that there’s plenty out there waiting for you to go and experience it. The things you deny yourself when you’re young become your prison when you’re older. Don’t automatically adopt the beliefs of others. Sit with yourself and question the things you consider to be true. Take responsibility for your life as you start to reboot and don’t leave yourself with regrets later in life!