A child is far more captivated by the food in their lunchbox than they are concerned with how many classmates are attracted to them in a crowded cafeteria. Understandably, at this age cooties is viewed as an incurable illness that should be avoided at all cost, and to be seen with jelly covering one’s face does little to shake a child’s character. To an adolescent, the thought of being in love is both unfamiliar and unappealing.
Yet it isn’t falling in love, but the heartbreak that occasionally follows you see as truly unfathomable. You’re confused why people can’t push through a breakup at the same speed you moved on when your mom didn’t put the correct sandwich in your lunch box.
Why was I not good enough?
This innocent and quite humorous attitude changes as you grow older. You find yourself unexpectedly attracted to someone and the appeal quickly intensifies when you learn they feel the same towards you.
However, the ability to preserve mutual feelings of attraction in a world where people are constantly evolving is challenging. The differences become too noticeable and the dynamic you constructed crashes to the ground in one swift motion. The person you identified as your lifeline is now walking away at alarming speed, taking with them the rope that once kept your head above the surface.
You find yourself struggling to remember it wasn’t solely your doing, but an accumulation of diverse factors that made the relationship fail. Nevertheless, a thought begins to penetrate the barrier of your consciousness until it can no longer be expelled. Why was I not good enough?
1. Do not focus on people who failed to acknowledge your worth
For some reason, no matter how many friends and family members reiterate your worth, you cannot help but focus on the image of this one person walking away.
A psychological term known as Negativity Bias explains that humans have a tendency to allow negative stimuli and information to weigh heavier on them than positive stimuli. The cause of this evolutionary response is attributed to a time period when humans frequently encountered danger. By being highly attuned to any possible negative stimuli entering an individual’s surroundings, humans were far more likely to survive in harsh and competitive conditions.
The Negativity Bias can be compared to the notion that regardless of how people remind you of your importance, you cannot help but intently focus on the few people that failed to acknowledge your worth.
For some individuals a ruthless cycle begins of hasty attempts to patch the last failed relationship with new partners. This is not necessarily curing the pain, just masking it. Others choose to avoid attraction all together, fearful of repeating an identical and equally painful process.
2. Despite the breakup, you can still control your degree of self-worth
No one, not even yourself, can predict the precise moment after breakup when the pain will completely disappear. Nor can anyone foresee how many more breakups and empty promises you will ultimately endure. This is one of the unfortunate aspects of life, regardless to the amount of good you put forth, there is still the potential to receive negativity in return.
You are never going to move on from a breakup at the same speed you forgave your mom for packing the wrong sandwich as a child, the two are simply incomparable. However there is value in noting a child’s ability to splatter jelly everywhere within a five foot radius without a care in the world.The child is not consumed with defining their degree of self-worth by their peers’ attitudes, because their level of satisfaction does not require constant reaffirmation from others. Despite the fact that you’re no longer a child oblivious to any and all social cues, you can still control your degree of self-worth.
Identify the instances when you’re particularly susceptible to the Negativity Bias and remind yourself how many continue to see you in a positive light.
3. Your lifeline does not always have to be another person.
Although your weariness rightfully increases over time, you shouldn’t let your self-esteem plummet just because 1 person out of 7.3 billion couldn’t love you in the way you needed them to. Constantly berating your own character for mistakes and relationships that happened in the past will do nothing to help you move forward.
It is ultimately your voice that dictates whether you deserve more than what you were given, or even what you have been giving to yourself. Having the capacity to love others even after you’ve been hurt isn’t a sign of weakness, rather an indication of resilience.
Your bravery is not marked by how quickly you can replace one individual with another. What truly marks strength is realizing that your lifeline does not always have to be another person. If you allow it, the rope that will save you time and time again can be your own.