Monday, April 6, 2009

Re-sensitization Step 2

I love flying—especially if I have a window seat.

Now, I haven’t flown much, but I have a hard time imagining that I would grow tired of the view from there very soon. It’s simply amazing to me everything that can be seen—the rugged mountain terrain with little roads winding through them; the intertwining streets of a city with all the people scurrying through them; patchwork fields spotted by the shadows of clouds. At glance I can see the lay of the land and how to get from point A to point B. From the air I gain a fresh perspective of the world.

It’s that type of fresh perspective that’s needed when you become mired in desensitization.

Desensitization blinds us to what’s happening and where it’s leading us. So when we open our eyes, acknowledging we have a problem, the landscape will often look unfamiliar, even alien. Therefore, we need to “go up”—get beyond our present problem for a fresh perspective.

How do we do this? It depends on the person, the circumstances, the type of desensitization, and how deep that desensitization goes. But here are a few things I’ve found to help:

If the problem is recent, caught early (stage one or two of desensitization), or result from entering enemy territory (e.g. my reading Twilight for work), a short break of a few days and some counterbalance might all that’s necessary. For example, extra bible study and Wall-e were some of my antidotes for Twilight.

If the problem has resulted from continuous involuntary bombardment (e.g. culture influence) or has progressed to complacency, try a withdrawal for several weeks (three to four at least) from all media that encourages the problem area. Then add a little bit back in and watch your reaction.

If desensitization tries to kick in again, withdraw again and reintroduce later. If you seem stable, keep problem areas to a minimum for several months before re-evaluating for an increase. Realize that a problem area may always be a problem area and will need to be treated as a personal limitation.

If the problem has resulted from voluntary long-term exposure and/or has reached the final stages of desensitization, drastic measures will be required. A complete media fast for at least a month is probably a good idea, with an extended period beyond that avoiding the media of the problem area (consider six months or even a year). Then you can try to reintroduce. But approach with caution! A road traveled once will travel easier the second time.

Ultimately, the key is withdrawal. The amount varies person to person, but pulling back provides perspective and grants us clearer understanding of how to proceed from point A to point B.

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