The heart-wrenching pain of a breakup can be too severe to deny. But we don't have to get pushed out the door to feel the pain of rejection.
Eons ago our survival depended on being sensitive to rejection -- without the protection of the clan, we were dead meat. Now, what used to save our hides can make us miserable!
If you don't believe me, just think about the last time you asked him if you looked fat. Chances are, he didn't have to say anything; just looking like he didn't know (SET ITAL) what (END ITAL) to say was enough. Or what about the last time she mentioned a car or a vacation you couldn't afford, maybe one her ex could have easily paid for?
We are biologically programmed to sense rejection as a sign that something is wrong with us … and because we grow up with words like "no," "bad" and "evil," unconscious feelings of inferiority are universal. We can get depressed or cranky without even realizing it's because we got our feelings hurt.
It doesn't really matter if you're seven pounds overweight -- besides you knew you were before you asked. And who cares what you drive or where you vacation -- what you (SET ITAL) really (END ITAL) want is to be happy. What hurts -- what keeps you from being happy -- is that you don't feel good enough.
Whether we realize it or not, we are driven to prove that we are worthwhile. We climb the proverbial ladder of success -- to look good enough, make enough money, get enough education or status, or throw a ball really well. And often doing these things gets us acclaim, or at least acceptance.
Why, then, don't we feel good enough? Ah, because while we may get approval from others based on our rung of the ladder, our own approval eludes us. We can't get (SET ITAL) self (END ITAL)-esteem by racking up what gets us esteem from others.
The only way to feel good about ourselves is to face what's inside -- including those feelings of inferiority that we try to keep at bay. Then, we can invalidate the false notion that we have to (SET ITAL) make (END ITAL) ourselves good enough. We can discard beliefs that don't serve us and replace them with beliefs that do.
Then, we can align with our essence. That would be love -- every time -- in you, in me, in everybody. And aligning our choices and our behavior with who we really are is the way, the only way, to get self-esteem.
We can't be unhappy with self-esteem, and we can't be happy without it … regardless of how classy the car or how blue the Caribbean waters.
Sounds simple, maybe so simple that you'll pass up being happy. But simple doesn't mean easy. Looking at the truth of who we are has never been easy or popular.
Abraham Maslow, God rest his soul and keep his genius alive, estimated that less than 10 percent of us move beyond self-esteem to self-actualization. And until we reach self-actualization, we're distracted from the best of life by our egos!
While our egos can lead us to stunning good looks, huge bank accounts, more knowledge than we use, and so much acclaim that we yearn for privacy, our egos (SET ITAL) cannot (END ITAL) lead us to self-esteem (read: peace and happiness).
Only aligning with our innate goodness can do that. So, the next time you feel a little pang, maybe you'll take a look at what's behind it. What you'll see is the fear that you're not good enough.
Get rid of the fear, and what you have left is love. That's you. If you can align with it, you're home free. Nothing can hurt you then!
Jan Denise is a columnist, author of the book "Naked Relationships," speaker and coach based in McIntosh, Fla. Please e-mail her at, or visit her website at To find out more about Jan Denise, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Author's Bio: 

Jan Denise is a nationally syndicated columnist, author of the book "Naked Relationships," speaker and coach based in McIntosh, Fla. Please e-mail her at, or visit her website at