For tough moments in this fight, we explore different kinds of practices to help ground yourself, let urges pass and get back up again. In some cases, however, something even simpler may be all you need—you can learn to simply turn away.

You heard us right! When something triggering comes into our line of sight—especially out of the blue—what about getting good at that ninja skill of turning away—or what some people call “bouncing the eyes.”   

In Greek mythology, monsters like Medusa were feared because their powers paralyzed and petrified anyone who gazed upon them directly. In spite of Medusa’s reputation, people were so awestruck by her appearance that they said, “Oh, well I’ll be alright if I just look at her …a little bit.”

In a similar way, people seeking freedom often allow themselves a gray zone where they flirt with just-a-little sexualized material in magazines, or on TV, or different general websites.

Setting Some Guidelines

This isn’t about getting fearful or beating on ourselves when we’re not perfect.  But it is about setting our sights higher and adopting a zero-tolerance mindset. This means getting serious about learning to bounce your eyes.

What does that mean? Well, you know all those small moments, when something “technically non-pornographic” comes up? Instead of letting the eyes linger, what if we learned to literally bounce our eyes away from what we don’t want to see?

As simple as it sounds, this skill can be honed, polished and refined as a killer move powerful enough to cut porn off at the pass.

Practice Makes Perfect

For most people, this does take some real practice.  Sometimes it can be helpful to say something out loud, like “Nope, not gonna happen” or “Not what I want”. Or, you can choose a physical gesture that is an outward reminder of what you really want— like putting your hand up, moving your head, or closing your eyes— anything to help reaffirm your resolve to turn away.

Try thinking of your mind like a stage. There can only one main act at a time, and you’re the director, off stage, running the show.  You may not always get to decide what thoughts and images go up on stage at first, but if you don’t like it, you don’t have to sit back and watch. You decide what you’ll entertain and what you’ll applaud on the stage of your mind— and what gets booed off in a hurry!

There’s a Chinese Proverb that says, “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head but you don’t have to let it build a nest in your hair!” It’s the difference between having a thought or image that comes up in the mind (which is not a choice) and focusing and dwelling on it— which is a choice!

So give it a try:  Will you get consumed and stew over something, or just let it pass?

It Is Never Too Late To Turn Away

Even if you find yourself moving toward the addiction cycle, remember that you can catch yourself and turn away at multiple choice-points along the way. Even right before using, many people describe a moment where there’s a little space inviting you to go in another direction— a final “turn back” point.  Watch for it, it’s always there!

And when you succeed in really turning away, it’s time to celebrate!  Each time that happens, you’re laying a new pathway in the brain— and a new powerful habit in your life.

So in other words, even one moment of turning away should be seen for what it is:  Big news! You might even track this as part of your progress:  How many times was I able to turn away today, this week, this month?

No Matter What, Don’t Give Up

Rather than feeling nervous or worried about moments like this, maybe it’s time to be confident for the next time you get hit…realizing you really are on the path to learning how to do this!

If turning away feels challenging, it’s helpful to remember that this is also about turning toward what you really want. In other posts, we’ve touched on anchors—people, passions, and purpose—and what you love more than porn.

As you learn the skill of bouncing your eyes and turning away, don’t fall apart in a moment where you mess up.

Learn from it.  And turn back to the life you really want.

Again and again.  Sooner or later, that habit will become stronger than whatever else has been driving you.

We’re rooting for you!