Life Happens, sure. Relationships fizzle out, people pass away, and everyone is eventually told they have to ‘grow up’ and stop believing in unicorns. Even for those who continue to believe, there comes a time when expectations are suddenly askew, and nothing about our lives seems to fit right. Every generation is blindsided by the process, whether or not they remember it. Luckily, the process has been documented, and the facts are out: emerging adulthood is full of snafus, sideswipes and speed bumps- all of which can be overcome with a little patience, practice, and the utilization of the following tips:
Stop being your own bully!
Living in a world where popular media shows us everyone can do everything, we oftentimes put unnecessary, and unrealistic pressure on ourselves to be better, and do more than we are actually capable of. This generally results in us feeling like we aren’t good, fast, strong, smart, or whatever ‘enough’ and we start to beat ourselves up over this. I will be the first to say, ‘Stop it!’ and you should echo that back to yourself the next time you find yourself being your own bully. Start paying attention to the words you speak towards yourself, and make sure they are positive ones. You honestly deserve it.
Ditch depression through Positive Affirmation, not jokes and masquerading!
Did you know that of all professions, stand-up comedy has the highest suicide rate? That these folks make jokes to hide their own depression? As Dr. Deborah Serani explains it: “They often wear what we call 'the mask of depression,' which helps them put on a more acceptable face to the world," she explains. "But behind that mask there is a terrible struggle going on. There is a stigma about depression and oftentimes the laughter distracts from feelings of weakness.” This is true for all of us dealing with depression when we are down-and-out. In fact, being blue goes hand-in-hand with undesirable circumstances. If you find yourself fixating on the negative aspects of just about anything, it might be time for a more honest attitude: Try focusing on the things that you like best about yourself, and your life. It really can be transformative if you give it a shot and a little time. Aren’t the great things about you just as weighty ( if not more substantial) than the areas in which you want to improve? Then why don’t you think about those things proportionately?
Extra help: If you have a hard time letting go of your cynicism, remember this: You might cling to cynicism because it’s comforting to believe that nothing good will ever happen, and then *poof* that belief turn into reality... There is a certain security in this prediction, as cynical people rarely put in the work to improve their lives! Don’t be complacent, settling for being ‘right.’ Put in the effort, and become a happy version of you!
Recognize the moment is temporary, and fill it with hope!
Are you the same person you were five years ago? I certainly hope not! Every human being goes through several, and by some perspectives, countless transitions within their lives, so why would you expect for all of them to be great? No one learns a thing if everyone is winning all the time. If you have ever played a sport, you know that losing can be a powerful motivating force. Allow any set-back in your life to be the same. This is also a great time to start building a big-picture road map of where you want to go and how! There are endless options after a closed chapter, and you should use this space to dream up ways to bring in the most hope and happiness into your life than ever before!
Build our confidence up with just one question:
What’s the worst that could happen? If you have been looking for a job, and can’t find one that seems to fit, it can be easy to get discouraged. However, how will you know that your dream job doesn’t exist if you aren’t putting yourself out there? You have got to give it everything that you’ve got, and I promise, asking yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” is a great way to bounce your brain out of a cynical zone, and back into reality. The truth is, we all struggle to gain success in our lives, no matter who are. The most successful people are those who have the courage to advocate for themselves at all costs, regardless of what other people or what their inner-cynic may think. Think about it: What’s the worst that could happen?
Take a Step Back, Don’t React-
All of us have problems that we sometimes feel are too big to handle, especially all at once. Even so, we have the freedom to make most of our own decisions, and we certainly have control over how we react to things. This might sound a little easier said than done, but learning to evaluate from a distance really just takes practice, and so does contemplation before reaction. Try to practice being less reactive to people and things by controlling your urge to react. Consider whether or not a bad reaction is worth it. Ask yourself: Who does it help or hurt? So much of the time, we just hurt ourselves w when we are in challenging places in our lives, we don’t even realize how often our anxiety and fear result in panicked decision-making that can complicate poor predicaments. Remember, you have a choice about whether or not outside forces influence your experience. With a little distance and practice in patience, you’ll be feeling better in no time.
Patience: more than just a virtue!
If you were born with patience, then, good for you. Now, If you could find a way to bottle that quality for the rest of the world, let us know when you get your PayPal set-up, because we’re all buying… And we are buying for good reason: Learning patience is one of the most challenging aspects of early adulthood, even though we started to learn the process during late adolescence. The truth is, it takes patience to learn patience! It’s a long lesson, but once you learn to wait for great things to happen to you, you will be less likely to obsess on what terrible stuff hasn’t happened yet. Try letting yourself become more uncomfortable with ‘unkowns’. Life is full of them, they are completely out of our control, and it’s about time we learn to let them go.
Review Your Lessons and Make Better Plans -
Difficult parts of our lives teach us more about life than we ever wanted to know. The truth is, after it’s all over, we really can be better for it. Being better for it, however, is a decision we make. Considering what you have learned is a great way to figure out where you need to go, and that process should be drawn-out ahead of time. It doesn’t matter what you want to do or become, but you do have to figure out what steps you’ll need to take. You can rewrite your story. People do it every day.
Enlist Some Help-
Sometimes, there is nothing more motivating than having someone stand beside us as we work through life’s challenges. It doesn’t matter who this person is, whether they are a friend, family member or therapist, so long as they provide us with the positivity and support we need as we regain our footing and help us get to where we want to go. If you are struggling, and you don’t believe you have access to the support you need via your friends or family circle, it is always wise to seek out a professional counselor who specialize in emerging adulthood, resiliency management, and other related therapeutic services.
I am available to young professionals and emerging adults who are ready to overcome their challenges on a quest to transform their lives! My website it full of blog entries and useful content to help you along your way, and I hope you find this free content useful to you on your journey. Feel free to reach out to me directly if have any questions or if you are interested in scheduling a private session.
Eileen Wynne, Ph.D.