You’re allowed to vote, you pay your taxes and you have a mortgage – but all of that has nothing to do with being a true adult. Adulthood is about knowing who you are, deep in side, and having the guts to show it. That’s how you become who you really are.
1. Know that you’re allowed to stick up for yourself
Each time you say ‘yes’ to something you don’t like or don’t want to do, you say no to yourself. Being caring and helpful is wonderful, but life is about finding a balance between what you want to do and what you need to do. Is the balance lost? Then life probably takes lots of your energy. Being a real grownup means knowing when to offer a helping hand, and when to say no. It may sound scary, because we all want people to like us and oh, well, it’s just about one small task… But as soon as you learn how to stick up for yourself, you will feel so much freer and more autonomous. Just try it sometimes.
2. The grass isn’t greener anywhere else
It’s in our nature to constantly compare ourselves to others. Evolutionary speaking, that was quite useful, because it increased our chances of survival. But nowadays, the comparing has turned into self-torture. Thanks to Instagram and Facebook, 24/7, we’re updated on the success stories of our friends, family, acquaintances and even complete strangers. Compared to your neighbour’s slick instagramfeed, your real life seems quite… pale, doesn’t it? The thing is: your life isn’t pale at all – or at least, no more than your neighbour’s life. Even if it may seem that way. Try to keep reminding yourself of that. If it’s hard, perhaps it’s a good idea to try a social media detox for a while, or cut down your usage a bit. You’re far more important.
3. Choose your own path
If you ask any 20 year old about what they want from life, chances are they will answer: a nice relationship, children, a dog or cat, a nice house, travelling, friends, a fit and healthy body and a job that really allows me to make a difference. Life may have changed a lot in the last fifty years, people still have persistent ideas about what life should be like. The notion that working hard and doing what everybody does makes us happy, is still very much alive. But life isn’t about doing what’s normal, life is about knowing who you are and what’s important to you. Find a connection with yourself rather than the world around you. If you find out that the things you find important don’t match what society thinks is right, dare to choose your own path.
4. Learn to love yourself
We are often our own worst enemies. Our inner critic talks to us in negative, strict words. But why? Life can be a struggle as it is sometimes, we don’t need to make things even worse by being hard on ourselves. It’s time to stop doing that and become our own best friends, in stead of foes. Try to see through the words you use when you’re talking to yourself. Realize that you are not your thoughts and distance yourself from the nagging voice. Meditation and mindfulness can help you to think about yourself in a more positive manner. Because you’re not really an adult until you have learned to love yourself for who you are – with all your flaws.
Text: Joanne Wienen - Photo: Sarah Gray