To be quite honest, the five principles are quite arbitrary.
Which is to say that they’re meaningless until you develop a personal understanding of how they apply to your own life.
While my article The Five Fundamental Principles of NeverFap is a good introduction into what they are, today I want to talk about what they actually mean in my own everyday life.
Because theory is one thing, however you may derive additional benefit from understanding how this theory applies to everyday situations.
Hopefully you can relate.
Choice over mind reminds me that I’m always in control of myself.
It reminds me that I have the ability to control how I feel, control what I do, as well as control my reaction to life itself.
Essentially, it’s a principle which gives me confidence over my porn addiction.
It gives me the confidence to understand that no matter what, I ultimately decide what my relationship with porn is.
I understand that if I struggle with porn, it’s not because I’ve lost control (in part because it’s not possible to lose control, as opposed to simply making a bad decision).
But rather, because I’m understanding some aspect of myself, which is causing me to struggle in some way.
In addition, having this understanding helps me not take my relationship with porn personally.
So in summary, Choice over mind helps me maintain that vital “I’ve always got this” mentality.
Balance over reward is perhaps the one principle I struggle with most.
As an entrepeneur of sorts, I’m rather obsessed with getting stuff done. As a result, I tend to overwork myself and even worse, develop mania and obsession in order to maintain this productivity.
In other words, I struggle with bipolar disorder.
And let me tell you, it is almost impossible to overcome something like porn addiction, when your emotions are completely out of whack.
Yet, there is a solution.
Essentially, by embracing balance as a fundamental principle, I’ve been able to avoid getting to a point of complete mania and obsession, and therefore not experience those highs and lows which derail long-term goals such as refraining from porn.
What does this entail?
Obviously, meditation helps significantly in terms of training my mind to be calm.
However I would say the biggest thing that helps is simply realising when I need to stop working.
Previously, I would continue working and writing up until before I had to go to bed, which would result in sleepless nights and would even result in ‘coding nightmares’.
What usually happens now on the other hand, is that I will simply stop doing any work around an hour and a half before bed, and that does a fine job of preventing mania and obsession from fully taking hold.
Sometimes I may still slip into mania if I’ve been working particularly hard up until then, however the hour and a half is enough for me to calm down and switch my mind off.
During that time I usually stretch, meditate and relax (usually by playing video games or watching YouTube videos).
Initially it was really hard to stop myself from working.
In fact, the very idea of forcing myself to play video games and not work was something that I found hilarious, but I also knew that if I didn’t relax, I’d ultimately be doing my mental health a disservice.
Now that I have this balance in my life however, I have much more control over my emotions and my attitude towards productivity has changed.
I now realise that I am more productive by being balanced, and that I have more control over my life as a result.
I love being aware of my feelings and emotions.
It’s like having a super power where you can instantly recognise what is happening within your head at any moment in time.
Awareness helps me with my porn addiction by allowing me to recognise behaviours and trends ahead of time, so I don’t get stuck within them.
What this means for me is recognising what I should be paying attention to in different situations.
In that sense, Awareness is like that big brother which helps keep you together.
That thing which helps ground you and which allows you to default to a healthy coping mechanism, instead of splurging on porn and excess.
It is what allows me to always be in control, as well as remain calm and collected irregardless of what may be happening external to my brain.
For example, If I’m on public transport and there are a lot of pretty women around, I remind myself that I just need to effortlessly relax and focus on myself.
If I’m feeling stressed, I remind myself to time out and go for a walk.
Awareness is like a sedative that makes you more awake.
It is what helps me cope effortlessly when life is difficult, and I simply couldn’t see myself not being a porn addict without it.
Struggle over none is all about understanding that which we misunderstand.
It’s about understanding that we do have choice over what happens in life, and that there’s no reason what-so-ever to take it personally when we feel out of control.
In other words, it’s about having empathy for yourself.
We all have periods where we struggle.
We may be struggling with how to deal with others. We may be struggling with a difficult problem we’ve been tasked to solve at work. We may even be struggling figure out the best way to address our emotions.
During these times, this principle is here to remind you:
“That’s totally fine. There’s no reason to react. I fully accept what I’m feeling as merely a by-product of misunderstanding, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with these negative feelings.”
In contrast, my previous self would usually try to fight back.
I would fail to recognise my struggle as a misunderstanding, and instead I would assume it was because I wasn’t trying hard enough, or because my emotions were becoming unmanagable.
Which would obviously make everything worse, eventually leading to relapse in some form.
When I struggle with my feelings and emotions now, I actually feel rather calm on some level.
I embrace and recognise those emotions as something not to take personally and I relax into them.
I don’t take them personally, and I thank them for explaining to me that I’m personally doing something incorrect which is causing me to feel this way.
After all, it’s really hard to take something personally and react to it when you accept and acknowledge something for what it is.
This is the principle most porn addicts generally struggle with at first.
Of course, being judgemental is not a problem specific to porn addiction itself, however it is certainly a strong contributor towards it.
In a sense, this principle is sort of the opposite to Awareness over all.
Because what judgements essentially do is take power away from your ability to be aware.
And it’s impossible to observe and be aware of what is taking place in our minds, if your minds are constantly focusing on creating new thoughts and incessantly describing reality.
Certainly, I used to be a very judgemental person, often in ways that I didn’t recognise as even being judgements.
For example, I used to incessantly scan women in public, trying to find attractive ones to obsess over.
Overtime I’ve learnt not to judge at all, simply because I realise is serves no purpose in regards to cultivating my mental health.
Largely through meditation.
Well, I hope that’s helped you gain a better understanding of The Five Fundamental Principles of NeverFap and how they apply to my own life.
If you’d like to learn more, I’d recommend going over my article The Five Fundamental Principles of NeverFap which does into more details from a theoretical perspective.