How Your Brain Tricks You Into Staying Attached To Your Ex (And What You Can Do To Stop It)

Jesse Herzog
Jesse Herzog

The reticular activating system is a part of the brain which blocks out unimportant information in your environment and only allows you to pay attention to the important stuff. It basically acts like a filter. Like the restaurant noises at lunchtime when you are engrossed in a meaningful conversation – you screen them out.

The reticular activating system basically computes the immense barrage of sensory data that your brain is receiving at any one time and blocks out the things it regards as unimportant to the specific task you’re doing at that moment in time.

While this is a highly efficient system, the problem is that it can occasionally go against you. Sometimes when you are convinced something is true, this system will block out any information contrary to it being true. In other words you become so convinced of something that you will only pay attention to information which backs it up and disregard any information which shows the opposite. Consequently a vicious cycle is set up.

It Creates An Unhealthy One Way System In Your Mind

Lets say for example that you were living in the 16th century and you believed that the world was flat. Logic would tell you that the world is flat because from your perspective – it looks flat. In addition, the church and most scholars would be telling you that it was also flat –  therefore it must be flat, mustn’t it? So basically, the world being flat would become ingrained in your mind as one of your beliefs.

Now consider this: What do you think would happen if a small group of scientists came along with convincing mathematical data which showed you that the only way the world could work was if it was round? What if they pointed out that every other body in the night sky was round? The sun was round, the moon was round and all the planets in the solar system were round?

The reality is that despite such information being presented before you, you’d probably still hold onto the belief that the world was flat, as did the people of the time. It was only over an extended period of time that people came to accept that maybe this belief was incorrect and they started listening to people who were presenting the hard facts.

What does this have to do with getting my ex boyfriend/girlfriend?

It shows that when people get locked onto a belief – they put up barriers to every other idea. Right now you think that this person is “the one”. This concept intrinsically means that you’re blocking out other information that is contrary to this (i.e. information that shows that you can be equally happy with a multitude of other people). In effect your mind is blocking you from reality and is trying to maintain the idea you currently hold.

However, by being aware that your subconscious is blocking you from seeing things in a different light, you will now begin to actually pay attention to those things which your subconscious had previously tried to push away. You will start seeing that you can be happy with any number of possible people who satisfy your lovemaps specifications.

Knowing this frees your mind from the prison of thinking that you could only ever be happy with this one particular person you’re longing for right now. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

John Alex Clark

John Alex Clark is a Relationship & Life Coach. He is the founder of the website Relationship Psychology.

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