Have you seen the movie Silence of the Lambs starring Anthony Hopkins as serial killer Hannibal Lecter? It is a great movie – scary with lots of suspense. But a movie that teaches us about oogling, porn addiction, and habits? Really?
Yes! A quote from the movie helped me better understand habits in a powerful way and I want to share this lesson with you. I’ve also created an exercise out of what I’ve learned that you can use to bring awareness to your habit of objectifying women and oogeling — and most importantly, give you tools to take ACTION and break your bad habits.
If you haven’t seen the movie, here’s a quick summary of the film from Wiki: “In the film, Clarice Starling, a young U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation trainee, seeks the advice of the imprisoned serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter to apprehend another serial killer, known only as “Buffalo Bill“. Buffalo Bill kidnapped a Senator’s daughter and was going to kill her if she wasn’t found fast.”
Hannibal Lecter played games with Agent Starling – he would give her clues regarding the killers location in exchange for personal information about her that he could manipulate. One of these clues help me understand habits and how to break them.
In one of his clues about the killer’s location, he said “Clarice, you covet what you see.” Something about this quote hit me and it hit me hard. I kept saying it over and over in my head, “you covet what you see, you covet what you see.” What did this mean? And how could I use it to grow stronger and get control of habits that were screwing up my life?
I’ve seen the movie many many times but this time I happened to be deeply entrenched in the study of habits and choice. I was learning how habits can control our lives if we are unaware of them and that most of our day was spent in what I call “habitland.” “One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t the due to decision making, but were habits.” Some scientists have placed this percentage even higher. Think about that for a second.
If you are struggling with compulsive sexual behavior it’s a pretty safe bet that are suffering from the Oogling Affliction. If this is you, read on.
I recalled Hannibal’s words of wisdom, “you covet what you see,” when I went to Six Flags the following weekend with my family.
In the middle of the park I stood there and brought as much conscious awareness to what I “saw.” I carefully “watched” where my eyes went. I tried not to control this in any way. I watched the watcher.
To be blunt (cause that’s just how I am), I quickly realized that my field of vision was breasts and butts. There was women everywhere . . . Moms, Daughters, Aunts, Sisters, and Friends everywhere, and all I saw were breasts and butts. The cool part was that I didn’t think I was oogleing – it was just happening without any conscious awareness. It’s just where my eyes went with zero conscious awareness.
I had thought all my life that I was aware, that I controlled my destiny, that my eyes saw everything in their field of vision. I was wrong. What I “saw” was a product of my programming. It was a habit. Oogling and objectifying women was a habit that I need to break. In that moment, I realized how much of the world I was not seeing. I felt blind. And that’s when the quote came back to me . . . “you covet what you see.”
I then consciously decided to “see” everything else. I made a decision in that moment to bring awareness to everything I wasn’t “seeing.” I saw fathers playing with their sons and daughters. I saw moms talking to each other smiling and laughing as they watched their children have an amazing time. I saw a group of severely disabled children laughing and smiling – the smiles on their faces still touch me when I think of that moment.
I saw trees budding beautiful flowers. I could smell things that I haven’t smelled before. I watch the amazing ride just go round and round and the roller coasters go up and down it was as if I had never been there before. I turned and looked at my beautiful children and felt a deep love and a deep connection to everything that is good. I then caught my amazing wife Mishka out of the corner of my eye. I saw such an amazing beautiful walking big ball of love and awesomeness – someone that gave so much of herself. I mean this woman literally saved my life. And there she was smiling at me.
It was this I wanted to covet. I wanted to covet love and connection. Not tits and ass. So that’s what I needed to see. And that’s what you need to see!
When you are spiraling in your porn and sex addiction cycle … and all you see is tits and ass (this is a crass subject and I speak bluntly – if that offends you sorry) then that is all you are going to want. Body parts … not people and relationships and connection. Just sexual body parts and there is so much more to the world!! So see something else and you will covet something else.
I have never forgotten that powerful lesson that I learned. I can control or my eyes go if I am aware of where they are going by default. If I am aware of the habit. If I could awaken to what my eyes were programmed to sing, then I could program them to see other things. I could program them to see the incredible world that I was missing because I was trapped in my porn and sex addiction cycle.You may not realize it right now, but you do have control. Use this exercise to become aware of a critical habit that is subconsciously having a significant impact on your recovery.
Remember to break a habit you have to make a habit. Start making new ones. Good luck!