Dear self, stop fighting for someone who doesn’t love you. Move on and stop hurting yourself over a love that will never work. Have some dignity and cut off this emotional dictatorship at its roots. Be brave and say, “I’m leaving you because I love myself.”
We all know that it isn’t easy. We’re aware that the brain has no restart button, emergency exit, or even a window you could open to let the fresh breeze in and air out your sorrows. The brain is stubborn, methodical, and persistent. It fights to cling to emotional memories, because those are the ones that leave such a huge mark on your identity.
They say that loving someone without them loving you back is like trying to light a candle with an unlit match. And we don’t really know why we do it, why we insist on worshiping someone who doesn’t love us. We persist and resist, thinking distorted thoughts like, “if I tell him this, he might…” or “if I change this, it’s possible that…” as if this would achieve anything.
However, love isn’t a vending machine. You can’t put in a coin, press a button, and get the thing you wanted. Sometimes, there’s no other remedy than to take the plunge, forget all your false hopes, and stop killing yourself over someone who’s gone in a different direction with other people.
When you love someone who doesn’t love you back, you can’t get them out of your mind
A moment ago, we wondered why it’s so hard to turn the page and be strong when you know that someone doesn’t love you. The answer to this question is found in the intricate and always fascinating world of neurology. To understand it a little better, take a look at the following example:
Say you’re having a few really good days where you feel like you’re getting over the breakup. However, one random afternoon, you pass by someone who’s wearing the same perfume that your ex wears. You’re suddenly overwhelmed with sadness until it almost paralyzes you and brings you to tears.
Antoine Bechara, a neurobiologist from the University of California, coined the term “cerebral conflict” to describe how when a person is rejected, the brain continues to associate certain stimuli, images, and memories with each other. The neural network responsible for this intimate but powerful relationship is located between the hippocampus and the amygdala.
Remember, these structures govern and orchestrate emotional memories. Thus, every experience you’ve had with that special person has been burned into your mind, and in turn, linked to certain stimuli that trigger the memory.
So when you smell a particular perfume, see a particular photograph or item of clothing, or walk by the restaurant where you used to get dinner every weekend, it activates your neurotransmitters and makes you almost addicted to impossible love.
And it isn’t so easy to break this association and manage this cerebral conflict.
Dear self, open your eyes and heal your heart
The anatomy of rejection and abandonment is brutal, profound, and complex. We already know that our reluctance to turn the page isn’t always voluntary, that the brain also feeds into this vicious biochemical cycle .
However, neurologists explain that over time, these associated memories are activated less and less. The neural connections that brought about those negative emotions gradually start to lose their strength, until they become an echo of a sad and distant melody that is less painful every time you hear it.
The passage of time allows you to move forward more calmly, as long as you utilize the appropriate psychological strategies to stop yourself from worshiping that person who doesn’t love you back. Below, we’ll explain a few strategies that can help you.
Tips to overcome emotional rejection
Dear self, if they don’t love you, remember to love yourself above all else. This is the main premise that you should integrate into your life. But we were taught not to give up or lose, which makes it even harder to break any kind of bond.
- Understand that love is not sacrifice. It’s never worth it to think things like, “if I stop doing this maybe they’ll love me,” or “if I change this and that about myself they’ll like me more.” Don’t do it. Don’t commit emotional suicide, don’t humiliate yourself, don’t set fire to the only thing that gives you strength: your self-esteem.
- If they’re hurting you, they don’t love you. It’s simple. If you’re an invisible horse on their carousel of infidelity, selfishness, and insults, stay away from them. Why make yourself a prisoner in their emotional torture chamber? If you escape, you’ll finally realize that freedom is the best source of comfort, and solitude is a welcome refuge.
- In impossible love, the first thing you lose is hope. Some relationships come with an expiration date, and if you’re fully aware that nothing you want will ever come to be, you should leave through the door where you just walked in. And do it with dignity, with your head held high, and with your heart in one piece.
Loving someone who doesn’t love you back is extremely painful, but it’s even more painful to stop loving yourself for someone who doesn’t even deserve you. Be strong and wise, and always remember that you should only love that which is worthy of being loved.