1. She’s living as other people won’t so she can live as other people can’t. No, she doesn’t waste every weekend at the bar, and yes, sometimes that means she’s “missing out” on what you think is important. The girl who is spending her 20s working on herself is willing to give up a temporary high for the long-term payout that is being heathy, investing in her work, establishing herself, and so on.
2. She isn’t opposed to a relationship, but she is certainly not going to waste her time on one that isn’t right. She’s not interested in having a romantic placeholder. She recognizes the amount of energy that people put into sustaining relationships, and is either going to use it on someone or something that really, really matters.
3. She works on her career because her independence is her happiness. She doesn’t do it because she’s boring or square or neurotic – she understands that not making a choice in a choice in your 20s, and what you invest into your career within the first 10 years of it has an exponential impact on your overall lifetime earning and growth potential.
4. She doesn’t think she’s more worthy than others, but she does aspire to be better than them. Wanting to be “better than” other people has such as negative connotation but it’s also a trait that the most successful people all possess. Yes, they want to be better than the average person. Yes, they want to rise above their current circumstances and maintain a higher quality of life. Yes, they want to be above the pit of drama and victimhood that a lot of people exist in.
5. If you’re not adding to her life in some way, you’re in her way. She doesn’t have time for meaningless connections. She isn’t going to waste her energy on anything that isn’t contributing to her wellbeing.
6. She keeps a small social circle. She understands the value of a few genuine friends over many vague acquaintances.
7. She’s not the person you once knew. If you insist on holding her to the impressions you had of her years ago, you’re not seeing her for who she is now and who she’s becoming.
8. If you think she’s changed a lot, good – that’s the point. She’s not going to limit herself for the sake of making sure you’re comfortable with who she is.
9. Finding love and finding herself are not mutually exclusive events. She is capable of finding a relationship and working on her career, she’s also capable of doing one or the other if so she chooses. Women in their 20s don’t have to choose just one thing and focus on it exclusively, and assuming so is insulting.
10. Don’t condescend her by telling her she’s “so young” as though that means she isn’t as smart or self-aware. Age does not necessarily correlate with wisdom or intelligence or success. Experience does not always make you better. Don’t assume that everyone who is young is stupid or directionless – at least not any more so than many adults end up being.
11. Don’t tell her she’s taking her life “so seriously” as an insult. The people who take themselves seriously young are the same people who other people take seriously later.
12. She’s been through a lot, and it’s made her better. People who want to devote their youth not to just “having fun” but to being the best possible version of themselves understand something crucial: focusing on the person you are turning into is the most important thing you can do with your time. It’s choosing between enjoying a moment or enjoying a lifetime.
13. Her overall goal is just to be 1% more herself each day. She is not trying to get better in the eyes of society, she is trying to get more aligned with her true self and her authentic purpose. Sometimes that will make sense to you, oftentimes it won’t. That’s okay, it’s not for you to understand.
14. Sometimes she’ll need to be alone. Sometimes she’ll need to isolate.
15. Sometimes she’ll need to feel insecure, or unsure, or completely in pain. The reality of “working on yourself” is that it also requires doubting yourself, facing your longstanding issues, and gradually overstepping them, one small action, thought and choice at a time.
16. She’s not going to put up with your bullshit. She’s not going to enable or stand by or nod silently. If she’s not putting up with her own crap, she’s certainly not going to put up with yours.
17. She is not going to apologize for becoming the person she had to become to heal, or change, or re-direct her life. People who just want to survive placate others by not changing themselves. People who want to thrive change who they are irregardless of how people will respond.
18. She’ll find a new tribe. Over time, she’ll discover that the friendships and relationships that once sustained her no longer do, and she’ll cycle through new people who she attracts and learns and grows from over time.
19. She’s not selfish. In fact, the most selfish thing anybody can do is not work on themselves. Being riddled with your own personal problems for the rest of your life ensures that you’re unable to accomplish anything, help anyone else, and will be fated to wasted other people’s time helping you get by.
20. She will never be complete, because nobody will. This is not about getting to a final destination, this is about adjusting the way you travel to ensure that life is about growth. She’s not perfect, and it’s her willingness to accept that fact that makes the most difference.