You won’t feel this way forever — as long as you do something about it.
While you’re still figuring how to get over a breakup, low self-esteem is inevitable and you can’t help but wonder if you’ll ever learn to love yourself again.
Let’s face it, breakups stink! Getting over someone you loved is difficult.
Right now, you’re probably wondering how long it takes to get over a breakup, and how long your low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence will stick around.
Even if you are the one to initiate the split, you are still likely to experience a complicated range of emotions — sadness, confusion, self-doubt, and anger. You’ll ask yourself, at some point, “How long am I going to feel this way?”
The end of a relationship not only initiates lowered self-esteem but it can also be the onset of depression.
On the positive side, it can also provide a powerful learning experience that may benefit your future relationships.
But while you are waiting to “feel” that great learning opportunity, you are probably more likely to start feeling bad about yourself and wondering how long your low self-esteem will last while you’re going through the heartbreak.
While six to eight weeks is the average length of time spent getting over a breakup and recovering, according to licensed clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., author of Should I Stay or Should I Go? a variety of factors will play a role in just how long it takes for you.
I used to know someone who actually mourned the loss of his wife for over 5 years and still hasn’t recovered. The last two years of their marriage had zero intimacy, and she ended up leaving him. He was too busy blowing thousands of dollars in strip joints every night. He’s an addict and a pathological liar, so she did the right thing to leave this incredible bore. She immediately hooked up with some other guy, got pregnant, and had a baby.
She has a good job and plenty of wealth she’s earned, so good for her. She was smart enough to move forward with her life and get away from this loser. Sadly, her ex is still circling the drain and I assume will soon clog it before going down it sooner than later.
Anyway, let’s move on. 6 to 8 weeks to mourn is plenty.
Researchers at the University of Berkeley say that the brain in love is the same as the brain wired for reward (in this case, interaction with your ex).
Your brain still wants the reward (your ex, not necessarily “love”), so the symptoms of a breakup are essentially the symptoms of withdrawal.
There are 3 major factors that influence how long it takes to get over a breakup:
- What you tell yourself about the breakup
- What you tell yourself about your future
- What you tell yourself about yourself
And what you tell yourself about each and all of these topics will reflect both how you feel about yourself and the speed with which you recover from low self-esteem after a breakup.
Playing the victim will always make getting over your breakup take longer. Instead of indulging all-or-nothing negative thoughts about your ex, take ownership of your own role in the breakup.
It always takes two and healthy relationships don’t just end suddenly. A realistic assessment of your relationship can actually be a source of empowerment for you.
Low self-esteem after a breakup is naturally going to rear its ugly head and tell you that you will never find love or be loved again.
But, you will learn how to get over someone and love yourself again as long as you do something about it.
Instead of believing that you will never find someone (or someone as good as your ex), empower yourself with the belief that you are on a path of learning how to love better.
The wounded, post-breakup heart tends to process painful statements and dynamics from the severed relationship: “The person who I thought knew me best and loved me the most now thinks I’m worthless, so it must be true.”
Self-loathing, however natural, doesn’t help you with building self-esteem again.
The time it takes to heal a lowered self-esteem when you’re learning how to deal with a breakup will be predicated, in large part, on your ability to realize that you are not the negative things your ex said about you or the negative things you think about yourself.
Even if it seems awkward, take time every day to engage in the practice of self-love — meditation, sleep, nutrition, exercise, socializing, getting a change of scenery, having a good cry…and getting off social media!
Take heart in the fact that extreme emotions, both good and bad, don’t linger.
We couldn’t survive if we lived 24/7 in the extreme highs and lows of the emotional gamut.
Instead of focusing on the physical manifestation of your ex, which likely stirs up feelings of negativity and anger, you can choose to focus on the positive feelings you had about them.
While that may seem counterintuitive, this practice will remind you that you had the opportunity to experience your own selflessness and capacity to love.
It will also help you to silence your inner critic and to process your emotions in an appropriate way — two important steps in mending lowered self-esteem and self-worth.
Valuing your own ability to love will empower and strengthen you to move on, low self-esteem after a breakup can disappear by reminding you that you are the only one who gets to define you.
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