ON REALITY, SELF-TALK, AND THE RESISTANCE OF CLOSURE
Welcome to another weekly newsletter, lovingly named the “Beyond The Breakup Newsletter.”
It’s the newsletter that provides you with big ideas on how to grow and improve as a person and build better relationships so you can avoid a future breakup.
sign up and join the adventure!
Along with the fancy weekly newsletter, I’m also going to give you access to 4 exercises that will help you stop obsessing over your ex as soon as you sign up.
Today’s topics are going to be:
- Accepting reality
- Defusing negative self-talk
- Resisting your urge for closure-related answers
So let’s get to it.
1. Accepting reality
When I was still a kid, I came across a peculiar video game called Bioshock. Playing it was like being stuck in heaven. But surprisingly, It wasn’t the crisp graphics that delighted and charmed me or the fun gameplay, or even the unique and groundbreaking storyline.
What really fascinated me was the story behind the game’s story.
You see, the mindset and life of the main villain in Bioshock, Andrew Ryan, is based on the famous philosopher Ayn Rand. In fact, his actions are heavily based on those of the character John Galt from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Interestingly, the whole underwater utopia, or should I say, dystopia, in which the game is set in, is based on a world run under Rand’s objectivist philosophy.
This little game was the sole reason I got into researching philosophy. Yet, I must confess that even though Rand’s ideas were a starting point in my philosophy-exploration journey, I never really agreed with them. I mean, just play Bioshock, and you can see the dark side of living or building a whole city under an objectivist philosophy.
By now, you might be asking yourself: that’s cool and all, but how does a video game help my broken heart?
Well, it’s quite simple. It doesn’t. What I’ve learned from it does.
The video game led me to one of the most improtant quotes I ever witnessed. It’s the quote I repeated every morning when I was going through my breakup to ease the pain. It was a quote that kept me sane when I was grieving, and that reminded me not to do stupid shit, despite my neediness. And it goes like this:
“We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” – Ayn Rand
If I alter this comprehensive life quote to fit your breakup situation, it would read like this:
You can ignore that your relationship didn’t work out, but you can’t ignore those things that happened for several reasons – reasons that, if left unchanged, will bring the same kind of love life results later down the line.
Now that you know that ignoring reality is a no-no, try to accept and even embrace it. Hell, learn from it so that you can minimize the odds of repeating itself in your next relationship.
2. how to defuse negative self-talk
Amid heartbreak, we often get trapped in the habit of talking down to ourselves. We may say things like,
- “I’m a piece of shit for screwing up the relationship.
- “Working on letting go of my ex is pointless. I’ll never be the same again.”
- I’ll probably fuck up my future relationships if I’ll even have any! Who would want to date a loser like me, right?”
Now the worst thing you could do to lessen your negative self-talk is to engage in positive self-talk:
- I’m not a piece of shit. I’m extraordinary beyond measure!
- Working on letting go of my ex is not pointless. It’s easy and necessary. I must change and wholly reinvent myself.
- I’ll never fuck up my relationships again. I will master them, find a 10/10 partner, and create a flawless and lasting one with them.
Contrary to what your good pal Tony Robbins or the rest of the world’s life coaches say, this kind of positive self-talk is just as toxic as its negative equivalent.
Both versions of self-talk, the negative and the positive, have a chance to turn you into a narcissist. In both cases, you view yourself as unique or somehow special.
I went into detail about this topic in my article on building self-esteem. Feel free to check it out here.
Anyhow, since positive self-talk is off the table, what the hell should you do when you begin engaging in any form of self-loathing?
Well, the best bet is to question the negative statements you tell yourself and give them a realistic twist. Here are two examples:
- Negative: “I’m a piece of shit for screwing up the relationship.
- Neutral: “I’m not a piece of shit. I just made some mistakes, as we all do. The fact that my relationship didn’t work doesn’t make me a bad person in any way, shape, or form.”
- Negative: I’ll probably fuck up my future relationships if I’ll even have any. Who would want to date a loser like me…”
- Neutral: ” Considering the number of people in this world, I will probably find one who will like me and vice versa. And yeah, maybe I will fuck up the relationship with them, or perhaps it will be them who screws everything up. Who knows. But ultimately, I shouldn’t let one failed relationship determine the outcome and my mindset regarding all of my future ones. It’s just not a realistic view of my life.
Note: For best results, write down your negative thoughts and their neutral counterparts, don’t just ponder on them.
Ultimately, this technique of giving the negative a down to earth explanation is nothing special. It’s one of the classic tools of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). But it’s “un-uniqueness” is also its greatest attribute. Since there’s nothing special to the technique, and since people have been using it for ages, it has tidal waves of research done on it. More specifically, research that confirms it’s an insanely effective tool for combating your negative thoughts/self-talk. So do it repeatedly, and you will see results.
3. the excuses we make during no-contact
Ok, stop it. Put your hands behind your head and stop what you’re doing for a second. Treat this as a wake-up call if you’re bugging your ex about why your relationship failed.
Stop trying to find out why things didn’t work out.
Stop trying to figure out the exact reasons why they left.
Stop trying to find out why they cheated.
It doesn’t bloody matter. None of it matters.
Stop forcing your ex to give you answers on why things didn’t unravel as you wanted them to. If you keep bugging them, they will either lie to you, ignore you, or worst of all, tell you the truth. And that’s a thought pill to stick up your ass.
To some people, the thought of actually giving up seeking answers from their ex is farfetched or absurd. Look, it’s fine to have that opinion. Your pain is real, after all. However, you still need to realize that the acceptance of not getting any answers or even closure, for that matter, is the only way to start moving on. And to be honest, even though you might feel like dying, you’re not actually dying.
Generally, something that feels bad is not always something that is bad.
So relax, you’re gonna live, especially at your age.
How do I know that? I checked my website statistics.
Apparently, 95% of you, my dear readers, are aged from 18 to 36. So you still have a damn long life ahead of yourself.
Anyway, think about what’s still ahead of you when you’re mulling over your grief, which is just an intense emotion, that like all emotions, withers away at some point. So let it, and leave your fucking ex alone. Find the answers you seek and the closure you desire within yourself.