You feel like you aren’t where you should be.
You finished school but things don’t feel right. For some reason, you thought you would be fully “adulting” by now but instead, you feel lost and unsure of your next steps. You were able to work hard in school but now it’s a struggle to get up off the couch. Maybe you can still go to your job but it feels like there is something missing. You feel like you can’t enjoy your life. Where is that drive you once had?
You might feel like you aren’t living up to everyone’s expectations.
Maybe you feel like you are letting your parents down or perhaps you are realizing that what your parents see for you is different than what you want for yourself. It doesn’t help watching your peers’ successes posted all over social media. You know for sure you are not fulfilling your potential.
It shouldn’t be this hard, right?
What you are experiencing is not at all uncommon. Your twenties can be an overwhelming and scary time. You are expected to be an adult, but at the same time, you have never had to be on your own before. Managing responsibilities like paying bills, grocery shopping and showing up to work, not to mention basic self-care can be difficult. The passage into adulthood is a challenge to navigate. For some people, achievements like completing high school or college can be liberating, but for others, no longer having that structure can be incredibly daunting. But these transitions do not have to be paralyzing.
What if you were able to feel motivated and inspired to get out there? How would it feel to have a life that made you want to jump out of bed in the morning? What if you felt happy? What if you felt like things were falling into place and you were right where you were supposed to be?
As cheesy as it sounds, there is only one of you. You have gifts and talents that no one else has. You don’t have to struggle alone. You just need the support to move forward.
The young adults I have worked with benefit from a perception change.
So what is getting in your way?
- A pattern of negative thinking. Your thoughts influence your feelings and behaviors. If you don’t pay attention to what you are telling yourself, it will be hard to make any kind of change. One distorted thinking pattern that can get in the way of positive change is “all or nothing” or “black and white” thinking. Thinking in these terms means you see people or events in extremes. This type of thinking may cause you to categorize things as “good” or “bad” instead of seeing the gray area. Another distorted thinking pattern is labeling. You may label yourself as “a loser” or “a failure”. Labeling yourself as “unmotivated” or “lazy” can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help get to the core of these distorted thinking patterns and equip you with the tools you need to challenge your own thinking.
- The belief that everything is going to be perfect. News flash- nothing in life is ever going to be “perfect”. Additionally, no human being is immune from making mistakes. If you wait for everything to line up the way you believe it should, you may be waiting forever. Sometimes you need to take action. Mindfulness can be an antidote to perfectionism because it allows us to see things as they are without judgment.
- Self-sabotage. Often we deal with feelings of shame and self-doubt by self-medicating. Whether it be with food, alcohol, or even Netflix. Using these things to cope can feel good. Duh, that’s why people use them, right? They are a quick fix. However, when you constantly go to the quick fix, it can become way too easy to shy away from developing the healthy coping skills that may involve more work. Long term use of unhealthy coping skills can also lead to emotional and health related consequences.
- An underlying mental health diagnosis. Depression and anxiety can cause debilitating symptoms that may look like a lack of drive. Symptoms like fatigue and hopelessness can be incapacitating. Unfortunately, people who are struggling with addiction are often seen as lacking the willpower to change. Symptoms of ADHD are often disguised as laziness. The truth is, these serious diagnoses are not your fault and should be treated by a mental health professional.
- The belief that it is not okay to ask for help. Does this statement sound familiar- “I should be able to handle this”? Whether you are having trouble with independent living or just feeling stuck, you CAN ask for help. Most successful people have had plenty of help along the way. You have been trying to do this on your own long enough and it is not working. Remember “if nothing changes, nothing changes”.
You don’t have to stay stuck.