Last week I was writing in my recovery journal and one of the questions asked, “What behaviors or weaknesses do you want to change?” My initial response was, I’ve found my freedom from pornography, I’m good. But a few minutes later I remembered that I still struggle with viewing women as objects instead of people. If I’m not careful, when I first see a woman my brain tends to see her as her physical attributes instead of as a human with thoughts, feelings, personality, etc. I would like to change that and see all women as who they truly are — a human being, a person, a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, etc. They are someone. They are not a collection of objects to be lusted after.
I thought I would record the entire process for you in case you’re curious how I go about solving these types of scenarios. The interesting thing is the solution is in the future. I don’t know what it is yet. I don’t know how I’ll get there. It feels very real to me in terms of a bit of fear of the unknown (what if I don’t find an answer, what if it’s harder than I assume, what if I fail?) combined with nervous energy from having an audience as I go through something fairly private. You are my audience, but I want you to benefit from my experience and so I’m going to share. I hope it means something and is helpful.
[Update 1: 5/9/2016 – I met with my counselor and he gave me some great advice and a few things to practice. I will record my practice and report back on it in 30 days.]
I’ll quickly bring you up to speed on the first few things I’ve thought of or done. Then we’ll all be on the same page and I’ll add updated entries as I discover new things along the way.
To start with I prayed and let God know that this was something I was interested in turning from a weakness into a strength. One of my favorite scriptures is:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” Ether 12:27 (Book of Mormon)
For those of you who do not believe in God or feel that God has abandoned you (both very real scenarios and I have friends in both categories), I’ve been told as well as read, it is helpful to let your higher power be something that is more tangible to you. For a lot of people that higher power is their “group consciousness” (e.g. if they attend a support group like a 12 step program, it is the combined thoughtfulness of the men in the group). Find whatever works for you and feel free to replace it wherever I use “God”.
Essentially I went to God to let Him know that I could not do this by myself. That I had a weakness that I would like to turn into a strength and that I was prepared to let Him guide me down a path to do just that. I am willing to be patient — this could take weeks, months, even years. I don’t care, I will do whatever it takes.
Immediately I had an impression that I should reach out to my counselor again. I haven’t met with him since last December as I felt that I had run out of things to discuss and felt comfortable with the things we had been working on. I plan to send him an email outlining what I’d like to discuss and what I’m trying to accomplish. If that is something that he can assist me with I’ll setup an appointment.
This weekend is the semi-annual general conference of our church where the leaders of our church speak to us on various topics. We are often advised that if there is anything we are struggling with or need answers to, we should prepare mentally and spiritually to listen with an open mind, heart, and spirit. If we are prepared and listen intently, then the answers will be shown to us. I’ve already had several personal revelations since this morning, that I believe will be helpful based on what I’ve heard. After tomorrow’s sessions are over I’ll compile my notes and write about them and what they mean to me. I expect my answers will be of the “try this, go this direction, study this” variety rather than, “Just do this and voila, problem solved!” It has been my experience that personal growth does not work that way — on purpose.
Finally, I shared this with my wife. It was an interesting conversation because she is very thoughtful and brought up a few questions I hadn’t thought of. The biggest one was, “What if how you’re reacting is a natural component of being a heterosexual male?” She has a very good point. I remember in one of my early meetings with my counselor that he pointed out that “seeing women as beautiful is a natural and good aspect of being a heterosexual male. That was how God designed you and it was for a good purpose. Be careful to not see that as a ‘bad’ thing.” Somewhat deep and something I’ll definitely need to keep in mind and ponder as I work through this part of the journey.
I’m sure there are books to read, scriptures to search, talks to ponder, things to practice, etc. I’m just barely scratching the surface here, but it is a beginning.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” — Lao Tzu
My name is Mike.