“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” –Mae Jamison
Our twenties and thirties are often a period of tremendous growth and transition—which can be both exciting and anxiety-producing. During this time, we are typically seeking greater clarity about who we are or who we’d like to become in the future.
When we are faced with several decisions at the same time and confronted with challenging choice points, it can feel incredibly overwhelming to take action toward what we really want for ourselves.
This can create significant uncertainty about the future and what we truly value. It can be difficult to trust our decisions and act with confidence toward our goals and vision for the future when we are experiencing self-doubt and uncertainty.
Here are a few considerations:
Acknowledge What’s Getting In the Way…
Even though at times it might feel difficult to fully engage in the problems we are facing, doing so can really help us to feel more fulfilled in the end. Why is this? Because usually there is a good reason for why we might be struggling with something. It is completely normal to struggle with an overwhelming transition, a tough breakup, or a job related stressor. When we think about how to optimize our resilience through tough times, we must understand how to deal with these issues in a productive way so that we feel strong and equipped to handle the inevitable ups and downs in life.
If you have been feeling uncertain about what you really want for yourself or know something is off but are feeling unsure of how best to handle it, it’s a good idea to listen to that inner voice and take a closer look at your experience. You can address the issues from a proactive, constructive place. Perhaps part of that plan involves healing from a painful past event, or dealing with a tough breakup that made you rethink how you approach intimacy, or perhaps it means confronting challenges more constructively so that you don’t hold yourself back from important opportunities in the future.
Dealing With Stress…
Managing stress can be difficult since so often feelings of overwhelm and anxiety can creep in making it difficult to know what to handle first. Creating a good plan for yourself that includes weekly outlets where you can experience some distance from your life stressors is critical to a healthy and productive outlook. When we are stressed and not being mindful of managing it very well, we feel it in every aspect of life—from the quality of our relationships to our ability to handle conflict, and certainly in our own sense of peace and well-being.
Sometimes we might notice that our ability to handle stress is made more overwhelming by some unexplored difficult life experience that is getting in the way. This is when we need ourselves the most!
We often hear about how self-love is critical, but what does it all really mean? I believe that one important component of self-love is being able to respond to ourselves with self-compassion. Cultivating the ability to simultaneously hold those two truths: “I want to improve ‘x,’ but I also need to acknowledge how far I’ve come and what my unique path has looked like.” Having more self-compassion often takes time to develop. Being able to practice self-compassion when we need it while also holding ourselves accountable for the changes we’d like to implement is the trick.
Therapy can be a great way to help gain clarity about the future and address patterns that are no longer helping you to grow and develop as a person. Therapy helps you to build positive momentum so that you are moving closer to your goals on a steady basis. Maybe that means building up the courage to take new risks that move you outside your comfort zone, maybe it means finally moving through overwhelming fears or anxieties that have been holding you back or becoming more assertive. Or, maybe it means exploring more closely a pattern in your life that you know deep down really isn’t serving you.
Addressing The Areas Holding You Back…
Maybe you’ve felt conflicted about ending an important relationship or you find that you keep making the same mistake over and over again in some aspect of your life. Maybe you’ve noticed lately that you tend to experiment in ways that are destructive to you and want to explore this pattern more closely. Or, perhaps you generally want to become more clear on your personal values and unique identity. Take some time to open yourself up to learning about yourself and the areas that you’d like to work improve. Journaling can be a great way to start this process; it allows us to observe our thoughts with a bit of distance which can help move us toward clarity about what we really want and why it’s important to us.
Think about the people who inspire you, what is it about them? What do you admire exactly and why? When you think about pursuing a similar path, are there areas that you feel hold you back or get in the way? Journaling can be a great way to tune into your inner voice when it comes to the aspects of your life that you’d like to address and explore further.
Perhaps you might even feel confused about what you would like to accomplish in your future. You may even have a nagging feeling that something is off, but you’re not quite sure how to change it or what to do about it. Everyone goes through difficult times in life; it takes courage to seek help when you know you need it.
If you have been struggling with an area of life, an important relationship, or just want to enhance your ability to cope with stressful life events, it’s important to tune into that inner voice and take action. Taking the time to confront challenges and getting to know yourself more deeply can be a powerful form of self-love.
Life transitions can be stressful, but they can also present powerful growth opportunities. Exploring what’s important to you and focusing on yourself and what you truly value provides a strong foundation for future success and happiness.