Have you ever felt stuck doing something you hate yourself for, but you just can't seem to change? That was me for five years.
For half a decade, I wrestled against an internet sex addiction—crossing every boundary I ever created and doing things without any fear of the consequences. I saw myself as, well, not much of anything, as I threw myself upon the mercy of any man who would have me.
Then there was the shame. After it was all over, I would pull my clothes up off the floor and eat french fries by the handful. I was plagued by fear and guilt and shame. The thought that I might never beat this addiction knocked the breath right out of me. It disrupted my life and wounded my soul.
So, after trying therapy, support groups, church, and self-care and not seeing any change, I was desperate for some kind of miracle—for something that could change my story. It wasn't until I started to take the time to get to know myself that I began to find the healing I hungered for.
I started to ask myself questions and developed courage to wait for the answers. I call it dialoguing with the heart. It is a powerful practice that has liberated me from myself. Here's what it looks like:
1. I connect with myself.
I find somewhere I feel safe—cuddled up in a blanket with a journal and a candle or walking by the water with my feet in the sand. I need to be somewhere I feel like I can unravel and connect to my heart. Then, I allow myself to get quiet and listen to the sound of my heart.
2. I ask myself questions.
I craft questions that will reveal the state of my heart. These can be questions like, "What energizes me?" "What is draining my energy?" "What am I really afraid of?"
3. I wait for the answers.Answers come to people differently—some people have a sense, some a word, a picture, a song, or even a memory. Don't judge the responses that come to you. Just receive them. When I first started this practice, I challenged myself to write down everything I heard without judgment. Over time, I realized the things that triggered my addiction, which empowered me to change my responses to something more constructive.
4. I move forward.
Learning to dialogue with your heart is amazing, but the most satisfying part of this practice is when you act on what you've learned. For example, if I felt what I really needed was a long bath, then I would go home and have one.
And this practice works in any area of your life—no matter what fear or obstacle you're facing. This practice has been my greatest transformation in overcoming addiction.
I think I know why it works, too. It works because so often, we're just aching to be heard and to be held—by ourselves even more than by someone else.
My life these days couldn't be more different. I know how to connect to my heart, be a friend to myself, see my value, and make my dreams happen every single day. That's why it's become my vision to empower other women to do the same.
So, go ahead and listen to your heart, would you? I know it has things to say.