Craig shares a deeply personal story when his 13 year-old son collapsed – lying lifeless in his body, Craig asked himself, “Where’s the gift?” And saw the gift was love – for the deep pain wouldn’t exist but for love. Listen how this traumatic event dramatically shifted Craig’s perspective and how you can use perspective to stay focused and to counterbalance the inevitable negative that we all experience.
Perspective Learned by Holding My Son’s Lifeless Body
One of the most traumatic events in my life happened in May 2017.
If you asked me how I was doing on Monday night around 10pm, I would have complained about a lot of things. I would have complained about my neck hurting. I would have complained about the technical problems we are having with the partner empowerment product. I would have complained about this and about that. I had a list of things in my bitchy mood that I would have complained about.
About ten minutes later, my daughter comes screaming into my room, waking me up from my slumber.
“Trey is not moving! Trey is not moving!”
I jump out of bed and run into my son’s bedroom where I see my son lying on the floor.
My wife is hysterical.
My daughter’s hysterical.
He is not moving.
He is lifeless.
I bend down and pull him to my chest, holding him. I don’t know what’s going on. I was so scared; so afraid.
I was so afraid that this was going to be the last time I was holding my son because he wasn’t moving.
He was all stiff for a minute. It felt like an hour and then he went limp.
In that moment, so many things happened. So many thoughts raced through my mind.
Those problems that I was complaining about disappeared.
I only had one problem. All that stuff meant nothing.
My perspective instantly changed.
In that moment, I had a punch in the face around what is most important. I was holding him and I’m looking down at him, “Please wake up, please wake up.” I asked myself a question that I’ve asked many of you – a question that I have posed to many of my clients when they share with me something terrible that they’ve experienced or a mistake that they’ve made.
I ask, “Where’s the gift?”
I say that all the time. You’ve heard me, right? Memento Mori. Remember death.
But I was talking about mine.
I didn’t mean my son.
I asked myself what that gift was.
What could be the gift in something so horrific.
In that moment, I saw a stark reality of two choices:
Towards love or away from love.
In that moment, I chose love.
If this was to be my son’s last day, I decided that I’m going to love my daughter as best as humanly possible. I’m going to love my wife as best as I possibly can. I’m going to be the best coach that I possibly can be for my clients. I’m going to have an appreciation for time with those I love like I’ve never had before.
Just then, he took a big gasp, a big breath and I’m holding him and he’s starting to slowly stir, to slowly come back. Mumbling then talking.
We had, in the meantime, called the ambulance. By the time we got downstairs to put him in the ambulance he started to wake up. He started to show personality traits – he was really pissed off. And he was scared.
He looked at me and said, “Daddy, I’m scared.” I said, “Son, you’re going to be okay. Your mother’s going to ride with you in the ambulance and I’m going to follow you with your sister.”
We got to the hospital and I held his hand so tight. I was so grateful. It was such a wonderful day because I got to take my boy home. I get to take him home and play golf with him and play video games with him I get to teach him how to be a man.
I have this awakening, this epiphany, and this moment where I had the opportunity to choose love – or to numb, cope, and escape. I saw in that moment a powerful choice – a choice that you have too.
That choice is whether we move towards love or away from it.
To move toward love means to endure the pain and lower those walls that you have built up around you like I had or you can love yourself and give that gift to others because you can’t give what you don’t have. Moving away from love means numbing, coping, escaping from pain by using sex and porn.
I know what I chose.
What is your decision?
How can we use perspective? How can we use perspective to counterbalance the biologically hardwired triggers? The decades of programming around your thought process? That negative voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough, that you don’t deserve love? That you should just numb, cope and escape and act out?
One way to do it is to create contextual cues that remind us of the important things.
This is why having a WHY is so important.
If I didn’t have that WHY, how quickly would I have been able to find the gift in that most terrible event?
Having a why, having a purpose, having a direction is one way to keep your perspective so you keep your eye on the prize and don’t get caught up in the day-to-day bullshit. If you are eating, if you have a roof over your head, if you have air in your lungs, find the gift.
Find the gift because there are people out there who don’t have those things.
There are people out there who are suffering far worse than me.
Use that perspective to see the cup being half full.
Use it to counterbalance the negative echo chamber that exists inside your head.
My son is fine.
He had a seizure.
We didn’t know that at the time. We’re going to get him all the tests he needs and get him all the help that he needs.
Use this experience to reflect on times in your own life when you’ve had a reminder of the things that really matter. Let that perspective shift inspire you to keeping running toward the creation of a great life.
In this post, I interview Bill Herring, a clinical social worker with a private psychotherapy practice in Atlanta. In addition to providing general psychotherapy services, Bill is a specialist in treating noncriminal problematic sexual behaviors. He’s a former board...
In this episode of "Sex Addictions and Porn Afflictions," Craig Perra, certified professional coach and Founder of the "Mindful Habit to End Compulsive Behavior," walks you through the process of confronting and talking to that voice in your head -- your addict...
Highlights Craig reflects on news about Donald Trump’s payout to a porn star and a close friend’s arrest How low can our compulsive sexual behavior take us? What risks are we creating in our lives by continuing in our behavior? The Arrogance of the Sex Addict: Donald...
Highlight Craig interviews Joshua Shea, author of The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About Joshua was arrested for texting an underage girl and or possession of underage porn Unhealthy sexuality will take us to darker places than we ever imagine Busted for Sexting a Minor...
Highlights Sexual harassers come across as cocky and powerful. The principle of subpersonalities can help us see and understand the part of the harasser that acts in inappropriate ways. These different subpersonality of the sexual harasser usually feels insignificant...
Highlights The allegations against Harvey Weinstein include multiple accounts of sexual harassment, even sexual assault. Craig reflects on ways he has acted like Harvey Weinstein. This situation should force all men to look at our own behavior How have we violated...
Highlights Craig interviews Alison, a partner who left her sex-addicted husband. Describes her experience of being gaslighted by her husband. Through research, Alison found help with The Mindful Habit. Ultimately, she made the decision to leave her husband and is now...
Highlights We need labels that help us move beyond “sex addiction” and “porn addiction.” Other labels are important because “addiction” is limiting. Two important issues are intimacy and authenticity. Acknowledging the nature of your behavior is as important step...
Highlights Sex is not a topic of conversation in most modern homes, which leads to a great amount of guilt and shame around unhealthy sexuality Online porn can get its hooks in us and it’s hard to break free Mindfulness can help you regain control of your life and...
Highlights What’s the difference between addiction and relationship problem? When does compulsive porn use become an addiction? Two examples help illustrate why the ‘porn addiction’ label is not helpful Am I Addicted or Do I Have A Relationship Problem? This is an...