There are times when our emotions can feel unmanagable.
For example, we may be feeling intensely anxious about a date we have planned for that night, or we may even be feeling trapped and under the pressure to perform well at school or in our jobs.
All situations which pique our urge to masturbate or watch porn, to a point where we can’t help but feel as if we have no choice but to give in.
Ultimately, when we lose control over our emotions, we lose control over our ability to act effectively and it’s these situations where we can begin to spiral down the path of relapse and helplessness.
All situations where we collapse because we decide to give into our emotions and take them personally.
And this really signifies the importance of why we shouldn’t take our emotions personally.
Not only in order to be effective with our emotions, however also because these situations are inevitably going to arise in the early stages of our recovery.
Therefore, shouldn’t be used as an excuse or perceived barrier to our recovery, when it’s something literally everyone goes through.
For many of us, being unable to effectively manage our emotions forms part of the reason why we’re still addicted to porn.
In fact, learning to be able to effectively manage our emotions is usually the first hurdle most of us face when it comes to addressing our porn addiction.
We have a craving, we hesitate, we attempt to postpone it (usually unsuccessfully), and then we eventually give in.
It's where many of us are stuck mentally, and that's why I'm here to help.
I want to start off by saying that learning not to take your emotions personally is actually a super simple process once you understand the dynamics of how we take things personally.
Certainly, the first thing to understand about taking something personally is that it’s often a subconscious response.
Which is to say that it usually manifests itself as an instant emotional reaction, rather than as part of an informed decision we’ve made prior to the emotion reaction.
Otherwise we simply wouldn’t bother with the drama, and we’d avoid wasting all our energy getting worked up.
Yet because we’re largely not aware of our own behaviours which cause us to reach this point, we end up going down a dangerous path where we lose control over our emotions.
Often because we’ve simply never been taught otherwise.
So what typically happens when we feel uncomfortable with our emotions, is that we try to assume control over them.
Mentally on some level we think:
“If I can force guilt or negativity onto myself, then I might be able to push myself to react differently.”
“If I try really hard to distract myself, then I’ll forget about these feelings and they won’t be able to affect me.”
Essentially, we attempt to manipulate ourselves in the hope that it will help us achieve a positive end result.
A common example of this (in the case of anxiety, for example) is to talk ourselves up as a form of motivation.
“I can do it! There’s no reason to feel sad at all!”
We tell ourselves that we’re smart, confident and in control - even though deep-down inside, our feelings are telling us otherwise.
And so rather than making us feel better, it ends up making us feel worse about ourselves.
In other cases, this can even manifest from anger and frustration:
“Screw you PMO! I will conquer you!”
And the funny thing, is that none of these strategies work. In the end, it merely exhausts us as deep-down inside it’s not what we actually believe about ourselves.
So here’s what we’re going to do.
Instead, we're going to refrain entirely.
And refraining from our emotions is the simplest way we can learn not take our emotions personally.
I’m sure it’s not the million dollar answer you were looking forward, however it is the correct approach in terms of learning to develop control over our minds.
Ultimately, there are no cheap hacks.
There are good practices and your commitment to them through practice and consistency.
So to reiterate, the easiest way to deal with your emotions is to refrain from interacting with them.
Now, where a lot of confusion comes from is this idea of what “refraining” truly means.
For example, some people misconstrue it for meaning “distraction”.
So in the case of being anxious, going and watching a calming YouTube video to cope with your difficult emotions.
Now it’s important that we really think about this.
Because going and watching a calming YouTube video is actually a form of reaction.
It’s you reacting to your anxiety by indirectly finding an activity to preoccupy you from thinking about it.
This directly contradicts this idea of refraining, which instead means to remain calm and relaxed in the face of these emotions.
Which often means sitting there and choosing to consciously relax and engage in meditation, rather than find something to do to change what you’re currently feeling.
In layman’s terms, refraining from taking your emotions personally is a bit like saying, “Thank you, but no thank you.” to your emotions.
It’s a form of acknowledgement where you recognise that you’re in control, without allow them to have power over you.
Because when you react, you actually give that train of thought power.
When you react what you’re mentally communicating is.
"Yes, these feelings are valid and now I am going to address them and respond to them".
Which is the opposite what we’re trying to achieve with refraining from reaction at all.
Now, while we’ve covered a lot of theory in regards to refraining and why we shouldn’t take things personally, actually practicing this is a different story.
Essentially, in order to refrain effectively we must develop our skills of conscious awareness.
The reason why this is important is that it will allow us to identify situations where we take our emotions personally, and instead learn to change those behaviours.
And the only way we can develop our conscious awareness is by practicing awareness on a daily basis.
We provide a variety of awareness exercises via the NeverFap Deluxe Practices section.
Then, you’l have a much easier time learning not to take your own emotions personally.
As well as remain calm in the face of emotional uncertainty.