1. You allow others to tell you how to feel about your life, rather than deciding for yourself.
We’re social creatures, and it’s in our nature to take advice and guidance from people who care about us. But at the end of the day, you’re the only one who has to live your life. So let your feelings be the ultimate compass.
2. You convince yourself that your twenties should follow a very specific and rigid timeline.
Holding yourself to a certain deadline in terms of when you need to be promoted/engaged/married/a parent/whatever is a recipe for disaster. You can certainly do everything in your power to steer your life in a particular direction, but at some point you have to accept that you only have so much control over how and when things happen.
3. You only look at social media in extremes.
Either you’re obsessively refreshing your feed every other second, or you’re constantly deactivating your accounts in an attempt to ‘cleanse.’ Social media can be the worst, but it’s also a reality of our everyday lives. So if you just make an effort, little by little, to spend less time on social media, you might have a lot more luck than you would by getting trapped in the endless cycle of quitting cold turkey and then falling back into a binge a short while later.
4. You think that your job is the only portal through which you can discover your passion.
It’s certainly one way to find some fulfillment in your life. But not having your dream job doesn’t mean you can’t explore your interests and experiment with your creativity outside of work.
5. You look for ways to pass the time instead of ways to use it.
It feels good in the moment to sit on the couch after work and spend an hour scrolling mindlessly through our phones. But subconsciously what we’re doing is just finding another way to avoid the present. We will find so much more internal peace in the long run when we’re actually stimulating our brains rather than numbing them.
6. You think you need to know exactly what you want to do by a certain age.
No one’s telling you to set up shop in your parents’ basement and just give up. But it’s also okay to not yet know what you want, as long as you’re continuously staying on the path of trying to find out.
7. You subconsciously ask others for permission before making a big decision, rather than just listening to your gut.
Everyone’s always going to have something to say about your life and the way they do things. But you’re the one who knows you the best. So stop asking for someone else’s blessing, and just do what you need to do. It’s your life, which means your way is the right way.
8. You think a new job or relationship or purchase is the only way to fix your unhappiness.
It’s always Next year will be better or I’ll be happier when I find a new job or I just need to meet someone and all these bad feelings will go away. A better work life and a stable relationship can certainly contribute to our emotional wellbeing, but true happiness only comes when we learn how to find it internally.
9. You’re still focused on the quantity of your friends, rather than the quality.
We’re not in college anymore. Friendships are really, really hard to maintain. So rather than worrying about trying to balance multiple social obligations at once, just focus on the people who have been and continue to be there for you when things are really shitty. They are your true tribe.
10. You analyze your life by comparing it to everyone else’s around you, rather than looking at it as its own independent experience.
We are in an age of comparison, of measurement, of trying to be as good as (or better than) someone else. But your life is its own collection of memories, feelings, experiences, and choices – a life that’s never going to be replicated in the same way ever again. Comparing your story to anyone else’s is a waste of time. Analyze it by looking internally, by looking at who you are, and more importantly, who you want to become.