A common misconception among young people who have experienced rejection in their love life. The idea is that it's possible to demonstrate the sincerity of one's feelings by public displays of misery, aimed either at the object of desire or mutual acquaintances, thereby inducing feelings of bad conscience and/or love. It seems rather silly when described this way, but I know I have been in situations where it was all sound and rational. Chances are, you have too.

While it is necessary to allow oneself to grieve after a breakup, it's also necessary to eventually get over it and get on with life, because if one keeps focusing on the negative aspects of the situation one risks sliding into depression. Depression often seems a tempting alternative to forgiveness, because it gives the sufferer an excuse to remain impassive without getting blamed for it. But this is a false sense of security; depression is always a destructive force and it will end up making things worse.

Another motive for volountary suffering may be to paint oneself as the victim, to play the role of a martyr in order to gain recognition and sympathy. We all need affection from others and this may seem an easy way to receive it. But, while this is really what friends are for, they will eventually tire of providing support to someone who really doesn't want to feel better. And you can't be a martyr if nobody cares.

Oh yes, the title is of course taken from the song 'Self esteem' by The Offspring.

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