How To Stop Caring About What Your Ex Thinks
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How To Stop Caring About What Your Ex Thinks

By Max Jancar | Published: June 17, 2024 | 4 Minute Read | Resilience

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There’s this weird fantasy many people going through a breakup share. For some reason, they think not giving a flying fuck about what their ex thinks is actually possible.

They wish they could be impervious to their ex’s opinions, like Superman deflecting bullets. But instead of bullets, they’re out here trying to deflect the fucks they wish they didn’t give.

These people imagine a perfect mental state where their insecurities vanish and they conquer their minds. But then reality sets in, and they realize it’s not so easy.

To tackle this issue, I’ll break down the short answer, the long answer, and a surprising one.

The Short Answer: Our Shared Humanity

The short answer to why you care about what your ex thinks is simple: it’s because you’re not a psychopath.

Caring about your ex’s opinions means you’re also empathetic, compassionate, and able to form deep and meaningful connections. And that’s a natural, healthy aspect of being human.

So when you ask how to not care what your ex thinks, what you’re really asking is how to better manage those thoughts and feelings. And the answer is by letting yourself think and feel them while not responding to them in ways that lead to negative outcomes.

Because what else can you do? You can’t control your thoughts or feelings. But you can always control how you respond to them.

The Long Answer: The Evolutionary Roots Of Sociability

To understand why you care so much about what your ex thinks, let’s dive into the long answer.

Us humans, we evolved with intelligence and sociability as our superpowers in the animal kingdom. Compared to other animals, we’re not the fastest, strongest, or most capable at just about any physical task. What sets us apart is our ability to think critically and build complex social structures.

For much of human history, we lived in small, close-knit tribes where every member’s contribution was crucial for the group’s survival. In such environments, social validation reigned supreme, while social rejection could mean imminent death.

So, based on this evolutionary blueprint, our brains are wired to view social rejection as a threat and social validation as safety. That’s why rejection feels so painful and validation so soothing.

Now here’s the blessing of our modern times: we get to choose our tribe. We aren’t confined to small groups for our social needs anymore. We can connect with new people and form new relationships even after experiencing rejection or not receiving validation.

While the desire for social validation will always remain a part of us, we have the power to choose whose validation we seek and value.

This means you don’t have to seek your ex’s validation anymore, especially if they aren’t willing or able to provide it. You can find other people who value, inspire, and respect you and who can teach you something valuable and lean on them for social validation.

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The Surprising Answer: A Lack Of Meaningful Pursuits

If you find yourself caring too much about what your ex thinks, it might be because you have nothing more important to care about.

Imagine you have a deeply meaningful pursuit — like revolutionizing your industry through some eclectic method you’ve developed or saving a baby from a burning building. In these scenarios, your ex’s thoughts would be the last thing on your mind.

The same principle applies here: when you have something that truly matters to you, your ex’s opinions and perceptions of you lose their grip, often even become utterly trivial by comparison.

So ask yourself, “What do I care about that’s more meaningful and important than what my ex thinks?”

Once you find your answer, dedicate yourself to that pursuit, and eventually, whatever your ex thinks will become mere background noise in the grand symphony of your life.

However, if you can’t answer this question easily, maybe that’s a problem you need to address. But that’s a topic for another time…


Disclaimer: this article is a remix of this one.

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