Why do I go back?

The artwork used as the feature image is one of Instagram User @ajjonesphotography ‘s masterpieces.
He based it on the 5 of cups in tarot and is working on a really inventive series. I encourage you to check out his art.

When something made you feel on top of the world, even if it wasn’t good for you, letting go is so difficult.

Getting closure is so difficult.

Not looking back over your shoulder is difficult.

And it doesn’t matter how tough or smart you are, or how little you show your emotion. There is a part in everyone’s head that wants to look back, no matter how nauseous it makes you feel.

Whilst we may have credible daddy issues which lead us to attract the wrong type of lovers, or maybe we have low self-esteem which makes us want to stay in relationships that are toxic- the reason we look back (even when we know we shouldn’t) is because of brain chemistry.

I’ve spoken before about neural pathways. We create patterns through association, our feelings have a way of tying themselves to whatever it is that once made us happy.

An ex-lover, a specific type of cake, a puppy.

Anything that sets off a good feeling in us gives us a hit of dopamine which automatically makes us think that when we want to be happy, we need that thing to make us happy. At very least, we need a memory of that thing to make us happy.

Reader, that is why you go back.

It’s brain chemistry.

It’s not because you’re ‘destined’ to be with a person when things haven’t worked out, nor is it because you need the approval of somebody finally accepting you. It’s not because there’s something wrong with you. It’s because you want that hit of dopamine.

It’s an addiction.

So now we’re faced with the task of closure.

How do we stop associating that hit of dopamine with somebody you need to stop thinking about?

There is something called the Zeigarnik effect.

When we go out looking for that dopamine hit, and can’t find it where it once was, our brain obsesses over why we can’t find it there anymore. It doesn’t know where else to look for that sweet dopamine, so it tries to look for how we can find it in the same place we lost it.  

When something didn’t play out as you expected it to, or when you have unanswered questions- it sets off a reaction in our brains.

An obsession.  

We play out what happened on a loop in our heads trying to find our answer. We want to find that answer to close out that memory. Our brain wants to know so that it can let go.

In our logic, we know that obsessing is bad for us and it’s stopping us from moving on. So we try to not think about it. It’s like a tug of war in our head and it makes us feel crazy.

It’s brain chemistry.

There is nothing wrong with you.

There is something that you can do.

First of all, close out the loop.

Close out the loop by filling in the gaps by yourself, and then accepting that as the truth. We may never have all the answers, and after all, everyone has their own truth. So write your truth, and engrain it into your head as being the definitive answer.

That person you blocked? As far as you’re concerned, they got married and had kids. It’s over. No, they don’t think of you. Yeah, they really did love you, but they didn’t know how to love the way you need to be loved. So you walked away, because you won’t find happiness there.

That person who ghosted you? They’re in prison, and they will not be getting out any time soon. No, they didn’t love you. They don’t know what love is. It’s not personal. If you want love, you won’t find it there.

That’s it, there’s your answer.

That’s the end of the road. That is where you part ways.

You served a purpose in each other’s story and now it’s time for the next chapter.

Now the loop is closed, you have the answer, all that’s left to do is find another (healthier) source of dopamine. Sweet release!

So now that’s that- what about you?

It’s not about winning, it’s about being happy.

That’s where your vision of the future comes in.

They’re married, and you’re a CEO of a company with a wonderful circle of friends and a partner who makes you feel amazing.

They’re in prison, you’re a dancer travelling round the world working for a cruise ship company.

When you tell your side of the story, make sure it makes you happy. Actually finding happiness in your own story is what’s going to give you that hit of dopamine. When you envision your future, don’t attach a specific person to it. Just know that you’re happy and you’re proud and you’re grateful. Maybe make a vision board. Whenever you see that future, you feel that dopamine, and it feels so much better than whatever you felt with something you were forcing.

This is something that’s attainable.

Reader, you can stop playing it on a loop.

Live your life.

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