Today I want to summarize an interview I recently had with Milan, our Neural Reprogramming Coach here at Porn Reboot. He is an expert at understanding how the brain works, how psychology plays into your reboot, and how to best work with your brain so you can overcome your porn addiction and compulsive sexual behavior.
We talked about the power of perception, specifically perceptual positions. I wasn’t very familiar with this topic before our discussion and I walked away with a ton of new information and insight. Our conversation was so eye-opening that I wanted to bring it here to the blog for you.
Research shows that you receive an average of 11 million pieces of information at a time from all 5 of your senses. However, your active mind is only capable of perceiving around 124 of these different aspects of your environment at once. It then uses your values, beliefs, and other filters to create a manageable understanding of what’s happening around you.
This singular and biased understanding of the world leads you to act and behave in certain ways. Since you’re only interpreting a minuscule amount of all that’s taking place, though, it’s clear you need to make a serious effort to broaden your perspective.
This is where perceptual positions come into play.
Considering different perceptual positions is important because we don’t perceive reality as it is. Sure, we recognize and decipher incoming information but we can only view it through the first-person perspective. Until you realize and understand there are perspectives outside of your own, you’ll continue operating in a very one-dimensional view of the world.
Perceptual positions free us from this single dimension. They open up different ways of looking at things. This helps you develop a deeper sense of empathy for other people in your life as well as in the world at large. What exactly are perceptual positions and how can they help you in your reboot?
Understanding Perceptual Positions
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.” That understanding of the world is exactly what perceptual positions refer to. They’re about understanding someone else’s experience as well as your own experience from a different angle. It’s about your ability to change camera angles or tune in to a different radio station if you will.
There are three main perspectives you can view the world from.
The first is through your own eyes at how things are happening right now at this moment, fully experiencing life as you see it.
The second is through the position of “other”, or observing things from someone or something else’s perspective, looking for additional information about the situation or event you may not see from where you’re standing.
The third is through a combination of these two perspectives, taking a sort of “bird’s eye view” of what’s going on and considering a combination of both the first and second person perception.
Each perspective is useful for different reasons during different circumstances and situations. For example, spending most of your time in the first person is necessary for you to live life effectively. But when you find yourself running up against obstacles or feeling stuck, shifting to the second or third forms of perspective will offer deeper insight into what’s going on.
Drawbacks of a Singular Perspective
Living in a single perceptual position puts you at a serious disadvantage. You hold yourself back from so much in the world when you refuse to open yourself to alternative perspectives. Whether it’s the first, second, or third perspective, living in only one of them keeps you from fully engaging with life.
When you operate from the first perspective, you’re only thinking about yourself. People who live only in the first person come across as selfish, have a limited understanding of how others feel, and often lack awareness about the consequences of their actions.
When you operate from the second perspective, you’re thinking too much about other people. Those who live here give away their autonomy. They place too much emphasis on the opinions of others and allow everyone else to dictate and control their lives.
When you operate from the third perspective, you’re too far removed from the world. Some may think that a blended view of the world should be what you strive for at all times, but it keeps you separated from your personal experience of life.
How Perceptual Positions Help Your Reboot
Perceptual positions are useful for everyone. Broadening your worldview is never a bad idea. But perceptual positions are especially useful for men who struggle with porn, sex, and masturbation. How are they useful for you in your reboot?
Spending years of your life trapped in a compulsive cycle of porn addiction tends to be a very isolating experience. Most men arrive at the Porn Reboot program defeated and hiding from the people in their lives. They’ve driven themselves fully into one of the three main perspectives and used it to survive up to this point.
But a successful porn addiction recovery program requires you to reframe every aspect of your life, including the perspectives through which you view the world. If you’re stuck in your perception, you likely can’t see the damage you’re doing to others. If you’re stuck in the second perception, you probably don’t realize how much you’ve hurt yourself. If you’re stuck in the third perception, you have all but detached from your circumstances and are just trying to get by.
You must consider each perspective if you want to fully recover from your compulsive behavior. Looking at the situation from each of the three main perspectives provides more clarity than any one of them can offer. Once you have a full picture and understanding of the reality of your behavior you can begin the process of overcoming it.
Exercise to Practice Perceptual Positions
Milan offered a useful exercise for you to practice opening yourself to different perceptual positions. First, start by developing an awareness of the main ways you interact with those around you. Recognize where you operate from primarily. Do you spend most of the time thinking about yourself, about how they view you, or detached from the interaction in some sort of third-person experience?
Now, regardless of which is your primary perspective, notice things from the first person. Sit with yourself and notice what you’re seeing, feeling, hearing, and thinking. What is going on around you? How are you interpreting the experiences in your immediate surroundings?
Gather as much information as you can while sitting in the first person.
Then, shift into the second person. Embody someone or something around you and look at your surroundings from this new perspective. Consider how things look from an outside perspective. How are the things you see, feel, and hear different when you’re experiencing them in the second person?
Finally, detach from both the first and second person and instead combine them. Look at all sides of the situation and try to observe them objectively. Ask questions about the circumstances. Notice patterns that exist in each perspective, the beliefs that drive the way you and others interact with the world around you.
This third perspective is where you receive the most knowledge about the truth of a situation. It isn’t biased toward either yourself or others; it looks at situations objectively and draws the most logical conclusions as free from bias as possible.
Incorporating this practice into your daily life will widen your perspective and the lens through which you view the world. It will make you more useful, deepen your sense of empathy, and broaden your understanding of how you interact with people and how they interact with you. Perceptual positions are a powerful way to connect with the world around you!