Pain or Pain? It's Your Choice.
Why do we turn to the garbage? At the end of the day, what is it that makes us keep going back to it after swearing it off so many times? A big part of it has to do with "Pain". Life can be painful at times. Most humans feel R.I.D (Restlessness, Irritable, Discontent) or H.A.L.T (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) almost every day. And the addiction promises us a relief; a brief moment where we can make something go ourway and actually get something we want. And it's painful to say "No" to ourselves. It's painful to turn away from that juicy "image" walking by in the street. It hurts, so we just give in.
But there's a very important Yesod that if we internalize, would maybe make it a lot easier to finally give it up for good - and remain happy about it.
It is brought down in Sefarim that any "Pain" we are meant to get, we will get in the end - whether we like it or not. The amount of pain we are meant to suffer in our lives is all predetermined from above. So if we accept the pain of doing what's right and turning away, we will save ourselves much greater pain in other areas of our lives. We find this Yesod many times in the Torah, especially in the Tochacha. For example, if we are not willing to work a bit hard and serve Hashem with Simcha, we'll end up working back-breaking labor for our enemies. If we don't bear the yoke of Torah, we will bear the Yoke of hardships and suffering in much worse ways, etc...
To underscore this important Yesod, let me share a personal anecdote that someone sent me yesterday:
While usually I am able to control my eyes Ok, lately I've been a little lax. Chol Hamo'ed has been especially hard, going on outings, shopping and the like. The natural difficulty of being outdoors with the family, coupled with the pain of trying to look away from the "interesting" things all around, was just making me give up...
Until yesterday morning.
We were supposed to have a friend of mine over in our Sukka, together with his family. Right before they came, my wife and I got into a small disagreement, which she blew completely out of proportion. She ended up refusing to come out the room, she refused to cook the meal and was acting totally irrational. All my reasoning fell on deaf ears. This caused me a lot of pain, and would have been terribly embarrassing when the guests arrived.
With only a few minutes left before they were due, I stepped out to pick up some last minute things for the meal. My head was spinning and I didn't know what to do... I felt immense pain and anger... On the short drive though, I remembered having read once from Rav Arush (Garden of Peace) that Hashem speaks to us through our wives. And he also writes there that when we let our eyes stray, our wives can feel it subconsciously and that causes them to get angry at us over "nothing" and blow things completely out of proportion. I realized that Hashem was sending me a clear message, i.e. that if I don't accept the "pain" of Shmiras Ainayim, I will get pain in much worse ways from other places. I spoke to Hashem and told him that I accepted his rebuke. I undertook to try much harder again in my Shmiras Ainayim, and I accepted that no matter how "painful" it might feel to turn away, I was far better off with that pain than other meaningless pain.
When I came home a few moments later, my wife was in the kitchen cooking the meal. The Se'udah was a smashing success, and the whole fight seems to have just disappeared as if it never happened!
It's been a few days since then, and although I've been tested countless times already in Shmiras Ainayim, I have resolved to stay strong, knowing that the small pain I feel of turning away, will save me much more pain from elsewhere. And the most surprising thing is, that once I made this decision and understood Hashem's message, it's become actually EASY to turn away!