Tool 3: Guard Your Eyes
Some Guard Your Eyes Tips
There is a saying: “The first look is on G-d, the second one is on us". In other words, we can't help if we saw something triggering in the street unintentionally. But if we take a second look, we are feeding our addiction. Here are some GYE training tips that might help us get started in learning to guard our eyes on the street.
1) Make it Hurt: We can try to accept upon ourselves (not forever, just for "x" amount of days or weeks, at first) that every time we take that second look at something triggering, we will (either):
- give ourselves a pinch that hurts,
- wear a rubber-band and snap it against our skin,
- give 25 cents to tzedaka,
- give our eyes a "time out" by closing them for 6 seconds.
2) The "Three-Second Rule”: If we see something inappropriate, we can implement the "three-second rule." Doing so involves three steps: alert, avert, and affirm. The first step is to realize that we're seeing something inappropriate. That's the "alert" stage, and it may take a second or two. The second step is to close our eyes or look away. That's the "avert" stage. These two steps should take place within [about] three seconds. The third step is to give yourself a mental "pat on the back" thinking something like, "I saw that by mistake, and I quickly looked away. I'm still clean and, G-d willing, I'm going to build on that, one day at a time." That's the "affirm" stage.
This is crucial, because as addicts, it's often the first slip that does us in ("just as an alcoholic needs to avoid that first sip, a lust addict needs to avoid the first slip").
Many times we feel, "I looked away, but maybe I waited a drop longer than I had to". Then the Yetzer Hara makes us feel guilty when we’ve done nothing wrong at all, and that can lead to further slips and falls. The "three-second rule" recognizes that it may take a second or two to realize that something is amiss, and only then are we expected to look away.
3) Small Goals: Make very small goals at first. For example, we can accept upon ourselves that for the walk from home to shul and back, no matter what, we will absolutely not look anywhere besides at the ground. It may be difficult at first, but after a few times of doing this we will hopefully be able to increase our goals.