It happens to all of us. A relationship ends in heartbreak and the world stops and kicks us off. Or so it feels. And the low self-esteem after a breakup only serves to prolong the agony.
How long does the bottom-dwelling last? Can you still figure out how to survive a breakup when you’re feeling this lousy about yourself? Isn’t it bad enough that the one you loved doesn’t love you anymore — do you have to not love you, too?
Certain feelings go with the territory of a broken heart — confusion, anger, and sadness. But, if your low self-confidence is causing you to constantly blame and disparage yourself, getting over a breakup gets even more difficult and your healing will be slow.
If your self-worth perked up when you started dating your ex but plummeted after your split, it’s probably dependent on being in a relationship. When you’re heartbroken, you feel worthless, which leads you to hang onto what is no longer available and/or no longer healthy.
Ironically, gauging how long your low self-esteem after a break-up will last depends, to a certain degree, on your self-esteem.
If all you do is self-criticize, you won’t be able to process what happened in the relationship. And if you can’t process this one, you can’t prepare for the next one. That’s the vicious cycle of low self-esteem that keeps you stuck.
The loss of self-esteem is the most disruptive aspect of a breakup because it prevents you from moving forward. You need an inherent sense of worth to invest the energy in your healing and future.
If you had healthy self-esteem at the beginning of your relationship, wouldn’t it stand to reason that it should still be there after a breakup?
A ding to your self-esteem is understandable. But if your low self-esteem after a breakup leads you to stalk your ex or pray for a reconciliation, that ding is a big dent.
There are a lot of theories about how long it should take to heal from a breakup. Some say half the length of the relationship (woe to those together for decades!). Some say as little as a month.
The truth is, the uniqueness of the individuals and their relationship can’t be overlooked or generalized.
However, a study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that 71 percent of 155 young adults took around 11 weeks to see positive change. By the end of those three months, the subjects could see positive aspects from their breakups.
They also felt they had grown and become goal-oriented — all positive changes to their low self-esteem after a breakup.
Other influences on the healing of your low self-esteem after a breakup include factors like race, gender, and sexual preference. According to another study, women, African Americans, and heterosexuals have more positive outcomes.
But the biggest predictor of positive outcomes was the person who initiated the breakup.
Finally, when it comes to giving the best advantage to your low self-esteem after a breakup, social media plays a role. Those with a higher frequency of internet surveillance also have a higher level of post-breakup distress.
Accidentally “bumping into” your ex on Facebook will only serve to set back the clock on your healing time.
It’s reasonable to expect that the recovery of your low self-esteem after a breakup can take at least a few weeks. But the factors affecting that timeline depend on you and the relationship that just ended.
And, once you figure it out, building confidence is not as impossible anymore.
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