Our society provides many ways we can avoid our feelings addictively. Many people today are addicted to being on the Internet as one way of avoiding feeling an underlying pain that they believe they cannot manage feeling.
“Hello Dr. Paul and thank you so much for Inner Bonding! Any insights on what I can do to recover faster when I collapse into internet addiction (no porn!) and self-abandonment? I used to work all the time and considered myself a very disciplined person and it seems that failing a bit makes it very hard for me to really like myself and wanting to spend any time caring about me sometimes. There have been times when I would initially spend let’s say one hour watching something on YouTube instead of working [something that it was actually quite meaningful and I enjoyed but my initial intention was to work instead] and I ended spending 12 hours watching anything, even real garbage, non-stop, feeling dead inside and as if I had no choice. I feel guilty because I feel I should be working all the time and this makes it harder for me to work at all these days.”
Cheryl, the very first thing you need to practice doing is to move into compassion for yourself – for the wounded part of you who uses the Internet to avoid some deeper painful feelings. Without kindness toward yourself, you cannot learn and understand what is behind your Internet addiction.
Let’s start with compassion for the bit of failure. It sounds like your wounded self is judging you for some failure, rather than being open to learning about what failure can teach you. Are you telling yourself that it is not okay to fail and that if you fail you are not worth loving? Are you defining yourself by your achievements rather than by your loving intrinsic soul self? These are some of the questions to ponder.
When you judge yourself for any failure, you create an emptiness inside that then wants to get filled. Watching YouTube is a way your wounded self has learned to go dead and avoid the emptiness created by the self-judgment. Then, instead of being open to learning about what you are avoiding feeling, you judge yourself again for spend 12 hours watching YouTube, which is what creates the feeling of guilt.
What you need to be doing is embracing all your feelings with an intent to learn, rather than being devoted to avoiding them. Embrace the emptiness, the aloneness and the guilt, with an intent to learn about what you are believing that is creating these feelings. Notice your self-judgments and how they make you feel empty, alone and guilty. Explore your false beliefs about judging yourself. Do you believe that judging yourself will get you to work harder and to never fail? If this is what you believe, explore were you got this false belief and notice what actually happens when you judge yourself.
Self-judgment, as well the avoidance of painful feelings, is often what is causing addictions. So become aware of your self-judgments, and of the feelings you are trying to avoid.
All feelings hold vital information for us. There are no wrong or bad feelings. Our feelings are one way our inner Guidance lets us know if we are being loving or unloving to ourselves, or if others are being loving or unloving. Learning to compassionately embrace all feelings, with an intent to learn about what they are telling you, is the way out of your Internet addiction.
You will recover faster when you consistently practice the Six Steps of Inner Bonding, so that you will be able to turn to them when you are stuck in your wounded self. The quicker you move into a compassionate intent to learn, the faster you will move out of your stuck place.