“So I slipped up and used porn tonight for the first time in seven months. I am so pissed off at myself. I was doing so well and I don’t know what triggered it, but I didn’t even stop myself even though I kept saying in my head to turn away, to stop it. I want to hide and pretend like I didn’t just do it and act like everything is fine.” -text from a friend
My dearest friend,
shame. guilt. fear. failure. not good enough. etc.
All the feelings. I get it.
It would be so nice if we could just pretend failures didn’t exist. If only silence made them disappear.
In today’s society, there’s a desire for perfection. I thrive for the definition of perfection with a type A personality. I have a tendency to start over if I make a mistake to make my track record appear perfect. Make sense? Ugh, it’s the worst.
For my birthday this year, I received one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever been given. I call it my victory jar. It is just a simple jar that my friend painted for me. Each day that I do not look at pornography, I put a coin in the jar. I love the simple visual and the progress it shows. It doesn’t mean the temptation is gone, but it serves as a reminder to me. I have over one hundred coins in that jar, which blows my mind to this day. I never thought I would be in this spot. *Cue excitement!*
But, being the perfectionist I am, I think about what happens if I stumble and end up watching pornography in a moment of weakness. Your text made me think.
I am not perfect (shhh, don’t let anyone else know), so if I looked then was I going to empty the jar and start over?
At first yes, but then I changed my mind. The amount of negativity and fear that was associated with the thought of staring at an empty jar made my stomach churn. The pure thought of it made me feel like a failure. The fear made me not want to look instead of being proud of my progress. Fear does not motivate, I promise.
It made me think about the way we approach the process of healing. I think we need to change the way the conversations and the focus of healing. It needs to become about the journey and the steps taken instead of a clean record. People seem to have forgotten that victory and strength come from time and practice. Mistakes are a part of that journey and thank goodness.
Add a coin to your jar every day that you are porn free.
You earned today.
Don’t empty your jar when there is one bad day.
You don’t have to start from the beginning.
You don’t need to hide.
Show your progress and be proud of where you have come from because you are one step further today than you were yesterday.
I am proud of you, you should be too.
With all my love, Han