The opinions of others does NOT dictate my value as a person. Full stop.
Being rejected by the object of your affection is, unfortunately, the quickest way to catch a case of the “What is wrong with me?”s. You know that feeling.
It’s that kind of sticky, heavy self-loathing that permeates every aspect of your life, that clings on to your sense of self no matter how readily you try to move on from him and the way his indifference has made you feel. Whether it’s the rejection of a long-term lover or the apathy of a chronic crush, the subsequent feelings of dejection sometimes turn us into our worst bullies.
This sudden confidence crash is, without a doubt, the worst accessory to heartbreak. And to otherwise intelligent women, the very worst part about this left-hook to the self-esteem is the inherent knowledge that it’s complete and total bullsh*t.
We know that one dumb guy’s opinion about us doesn’t somehow change who we are as a person but for a brief span of time, it certainly makes us feel worthless.
This isn’t just limited to romantic entanglements, by the way; this is much, much bigger. Your value isn’t dependent on the personal opinions of anyone, no matter how powerful their position or influential their role may be in your life. Somehow, however, it is easier for us to see this in broader terms.
We agree that a racist tyrant’s opinion of minorities doesn’t ultimately diminish their value as humans or that underpaid workers aren’t somehow lesser people just because they are exploited by their companies, but this conviction comes into question when it applies directly to ourselves.
For example, too many of us feel personally devalued when we're rejected from a coveted job position, often without knowing the real reasons for our exclusion. Even if we consciously know the decision of a prospective employer doesn’t define us as people (and may not have even had anything to do with us at all), it’s only human nature to sometimes wonder, “Why not me?”
People are a lot like the fine jewels market if you think about it. Despite years of commercial and social brainwashing attempts, I, personally, am not a fan of diamonds, so no matter how gigantic, clear, or flawless, I wouldn’t pay very much for one, even if the previous owner was Elizabeth Taylor herself. However, bring me a beautiful cut of West Australian variscite or multicolored opal, and I’ll start to breathe heavy while involuntarily reaching for my wallet.
While it’s reductive to compare complex humans to arbitrarily-priced rocks, the fact still remains that what one man can walk away from, another may not be able to live without. However, neither polished rocks nor confident women stop sparkling just because nobody claims them for himself.
Listen, I could start listing all those stories about how certain famous people were undervalued until the minute other people caught on to how great they were but the truth is, those uninspired tropes usually miss the entire point.
By attempting to teach us that importance comes only after we’re socially validated and that we should hold on just for that grand acceptance, we’re just conditioning ourselves to postpone our happiness for others’ approval — a move that didn’t turn out so well for van Gogh.
Fine, so the guy you had your heart set on doesn’t see what’s great about you. I know, it sucks... for him.
Dust off your lenses, focus on what makes you great, and don’t settle for friends, lovers, or any other companion who doesn’t agree. It may take some practice, but the first step is believing you're worth it. Start there and the rest will fall into place.