You’re bound to feel worthless after your breakup. However, whether or not you stay stuck feeling like that forever varies from person to person.
Here’s what happens to most people: a simple notion that they’re inherently unworthy begins to loom over them for so long that it turns into perpetual feelings. Then those feelings turn into limiting thoughts, and then those limiting thoughts turn into limiting beliefs that help them make sense of what they’re experiencing.
In other words: “I may be unworthy” turns into “I feel unworthy,” which turns into “I think I’m actually unworthy,” which turns into “Shit, I am unworthy.”
A Belief Primer
Beliefs are nothing more than thoughts we have confidence in that evolved from negative or positive experiences. They’re our perceptions about what we feel is right and wrong, true or false. They keep us stuck or help us progress. They shape our reality. They dictate our behaviors and guide our future decisions. Yet, they’re not facts, even if they sometimes feel as such.
A belief can be complex as faith in God or as simple as believing pineapple goes well on pizza. Everyone develops them, and even if you think you don’t have any, that’s still a belief — a meta belief or a belief about beliefs, to be exact.
However, more relevant to this article, another form of beliefs are limiting beliefs — a.k.a., the beliefs that hold you back from living a good and virtuous life. An obvious example I’ll cover in this article is, “I’m unworthy/less worthy than my ex/not good enough.”
How Limiting Beliefs Screw You Over
People will always act in alignment with their beliefs. In other words, your behaviors will always automatically reflect the beliefs you foster about yourself.
If you believe you’re secure and confident, you’re going to walk taller, talk with more potency, make clearer decisions, and consequentially, be more attractive and have an easier time attracting new love or rekindling the old.
But if you believe you’re unworthy, you’re going to be less sure of yourself, rely more on performance rather than authenticity, and more frequently display unattractive behaviors (i.e., white-knighting, pleasing, avoidance of intimacy and connection, etc.). As a result, you’ll be perceived as less attractive and have a harder time attracting new love or rekindling the old.
The Creation And Amplification Of A Limiting Belief
Let’s say that you’ve just got dumped. Now you feel more useless than a liberal arts degree. Three months go by since you’ve started looking for a new partner, someone who would care. And just when you felt like quitting, you found someone you connected with.
Now let’s say that this person has the same mindset as you: they also feel like they’re unworthy and share the same trauma as you. And, since you’re both desperate for connection, you rationalize that your trauma is a sign of compatibility. So you commit to one another.
As you’d expect, the relationship is toxic — a drama-induced emotional roller coaster. One week you’re all over each other; the next, you’re throwing plates and spitting profanity at each other.
After months of simmering in the same shit-stew, you finally break up. The good news: you got out of a toxic relationship. The bad news: the fact that you got into another breakup only solidified your belief that you’re actually a failure at love, hence unworthy of it.
So you begin to sabotage your love life even more. You get so desperate that you resort to chasing old exes. Like for most people, the venture doesn’t work out. And the more rejection and heartbreak you face, the more your “I’m unworthy” belief hardens. And the further it hardens, the more you start to sabotage your love life.
How To Overcome Limiting Beliefs
Since perpetual feelings of worthlessness are just limiting beliefs in disguise, the way you overcome them is identical to how you’d overcome any limiting belief.
That said, overcoming this type of limiting beliefs is a bitch because they’re laden with insecurities, anxieties, and other emotional baggage that you have to untangle before ever being able to deal with the beliefs themselves.
Here are a few tips on how to make the entire process easier, though.
First, consider if a limiting belief benefits you by asking yourself questions like, “What good am I getting from it?” or “Is this belief holding me back from achieving my goals or helping me hit them?”
Second, list the consequences of your limiting belief. For example, “If I keep believing I’m unworthy of X, I will never get it, and if I do, I will lose it eventually because I’ll be full of insecurities and low self-esteem.
Third, question the validity of your limiting belief. Start asking yourself things like, “When did I first begin believing that I was worthless? Can I prove this? What if I’m wrong about everything about myself?” Preferably, write your answers down.
Fourth, dislodge the old belief by deciding it’s harmful. Then keep deciding, day in and day out, that you won’t take it back. Make no mistake, this is very difficult to pull off since our beliefs are technically a part of our identity, but it is possible with time and effort.
Fifth, fill in the hole where the old belief used to sit with a new, empowering one. Then collect as much evidence that supports it as possible. The more evidence you acquire for your new belief, the stronger it will become. Progressively, it will become your new reality.
Ultimately, think of changing your limiting beliefs as buying a new pair of leather boots. At first, they will feel rigid and stiff, like they don’t fit. But after time, with wear — the more intently and longer you embody your new beliefs — the leather will mold itself to the shape of your foot, and the boots will start to feel comfortable — a.k.a., the new beliefs will start feeling like home.
If you need more more help healing from your breakup, check out my Radical Recovery Course. With over 5h of video, 200 pages of writing, and personalized 1-on-1 coaching, I'll walk you through every step of the recovery process from start to finish.
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