1. If you don’t have your dream job yet…or even know exactly what that is. Let’s be honest, there is always this constant pressure to determine our future down to every last detail, and our dream job is always one of the biggest aspects we are expected to have down pat. Sometimes we may have a general idea of the things we love to do, but don’t know exactly what that looks like in the long-term- and that’s perfectly okay! You have more time than you think you do, and you’re probably going to try a few different things before you figure out, so don’t stress about it.
2. If you aren’t where you thought you’d be by now. I know that there was a younger version of you who had a whole life plan laid out- or at least a tentative timeline for key events in your life. You thought you’d have your degree, married, and starting a family by now, and yet you may feel like one or all of those things are so far from your reach. You may not be where you thought you would be by now, but what honestly matters is figuring out where you want to go from here- and working towards that.
3. If you changed your mind about what you want to do with your life (and therefore need to start all over). When we finally have an idea in mind for the direction we want to go, it can be easy to stay within that path because we’ve worked hard within it. Yet sometimes, we end up feeling ourselves being pulled in another direction entirely- one that would cause us to change course and completely start over. It can feel like you’ve failed, since you’ve spent all this time and energy working towards your original path for so long, but truthfully, if you know you’re wanting to do something else, and you want it badly enough, then it’s not a failure- just a new start.
4. If you’re relying on your parents for some help. It can be hard to admit, but regardless of how old we get, we might need some help from our parents every now and then. Of course we would love to jump straight into the world with enough financial stability to have our own place, pay off our student loans, pay for our bills, and all the other stuff life throws at us, but it’s not unusual to lean on our parents for support when we are trying to figure things out- there’s no reason to beat yourself up over it.
5. If you haven’t forgiven some people yet. It’s true that they say forgiveness can heal and help you to move forward, but we don’t always like to talk about the fact that forgiveness can be incredibly difficult, and a longer process than we would like. When you’ve been deeply hurt by people, it’s not as easy as we tend to believe to just forgive and forget. In time, you might get there, but right now? It’s okay if you haven’t.
6. If some people haven’t forgiven you yet. This might eat away at you, but you aren’t owed anyone’s forgiveness. Maybe you regret what you said or you did, and even apologized to them for it- which is all well and good, but just like it can be hard for you to forgive when others hurt you, it works both ways. While it can be hard to feel as if someone is still holding onto negative feelings about you after you’ve tried to apologize- that’s not anything you can control.
7. If you haven’t entirely moved on from a past relationship. It’s no surprise that some relationships come to an end- but what can surprise us is how long it takes us to move on from them afterwards. We tend to have the expectation that we will quickly move on, but sometimes we are still taking longer than we thought processing the feelings and dealing with the heartbreak. If you’re still having a hard time letting go of a relationship you were once in, you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it. Some things just tend to take more time than others to heal.
8. If you didn’t love back the person who loved you. It can be hard to stomach, but sometimes, perfectly nice, kind, and good people will love us, and we won’t love them back. There wasn’t anything wrong with them, and you know that- you just didn’t have those same feelings. It can be easy to feel like you failed them, or even failed yourself, because why wouldn’t you like a person who was an all-around good partner? Don’t beat yourself up over it, though- they will find someone else, and eventually, you’ll find someone who loves you AND you’ll feel the same way.
9. If you invested yourself in a long-term relationship that didn’t work out. If we’re being honest, dating honestly feels like a gamble majority of the time. When it comes to going out on dates, or shorter relationships, if they don’t work out it doesn’t feel like too much of set back- however, when a long-term relationship that you have fully invested yourself in and allowed to become very serious collapses, especially when you were certain it was here to stay, it can feel like a giant failure sitting on your shoulders. You wonder if you wasted your time. The truth is, you can’t change the fact that you were in this relationship, but don’t call it a waste- you probably learned more about yourself, love, and life than you did before entering that relationship, and it’s demise doesn’t mean you’re a letdown- it just means this is one thing that didn’t work out, but there are so many other opportunities to try again.
10. If your friends all seem more put together than you. The comparison game is something we are all subject to, and it can be even worse when it comes to our friends. While they are getting their degrees, getting married, or even having children, it can be easy to feel like you’re stuck in a rut or doing nothing with your life. Just because your life doesn’t look the same as theirs, doesn’t mean you’re falling behind by any means. Your life is yours, and it doesn’t have to match up with anyone else’s.
11. If your ex seems more put together than you. More so than when your friends have it together, seeing your ex flourish can be even worse. How dare the person who broke your heart- or the person you walked away from- be doing better than you, at least on a surface level? While it can be difficult to accept, your ex is a person as well, whose life hasn’t stopped just because you’re no longer together. Just relax in the idea that eventually you are going to have things figured out too, so just focus on yourself.
12. If you keep getting rejected over and over. No matter what we try to do in life, we are always going to be met with rejection. People can make things look easy, but when it gets down to it, we are always going to be told “no” more than “yes”- but you have to keep trying. Life doesn’t often hand us things without us working hard, and even when you work your hardest, you might still be told no. But one day, your day will come, and until then, you have to pick yourself up and try again.
13. If you feel a bit lost in life. Maybe you don’t know where you even want to go. Maybe you do and you’re not sure where to start. Maybe things aren’t turning out the way you’ve hoped and it’s all feeling overwhelming and hazy. It’s okay that you’re feeling that way- you’re honestly not the only one. Everyone goes through these moments, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
14. If there are parts of you that wish you could go back. Maybe life seemed better then. Maybe you’ve replayed enough memories and picked out all the things you would’ve done differently. Somewhere, there is a life where you did things differently, and yet you can’t do anything about that. It’s okay to wish you could go back sometimes but you need to remember that you’re here, now. You’ve still got all this time to do something incredible.
15. If you feel like you’re only making mistakes. Even if we know it’s not true, it’s tempting to feel like you’re the only one who’s screwing up. From an outside perspective, everyone else looks like they have so many good things going for them, and it looks like it happened so easily, but the truth is that everyone around you- and everyone, in general, for that matter- are making mistakes all the time. If things are working out for others around you, things are going to work out for you too- because we are all screwing up constantly.
16. If you don’t like the person you see in the mirror. We’ve been in a crossroads of society that at one end, pressures us to look a certain way that is usually unattainable, yet the other side pushes us to love ourselves regardless of what we look like. It’s a positive message, and one to take to strive for- yet maybe you’re in a place where you’re just not happy with who you see in the mirror. You’re not failing, you’re human. As long as you keep trying, hopefully you’ll find the place where you’re happy with who you are, even if it doesn’t fit someone else’s standards.
17. If you’ve searched for validation in places you shouldn’t have. We all crave validation in some form or another- and often times, we’ll go through great lengths to get it. If you’ve done things you’re not proud of to get admiration from others- know you’re not a failure. Just take a step back and do things you’re actually proud of, and allow that to be the validation you need.
18. If you took a risk and it didn’t work out. Sometimes the things we want most require some kind of risk- and sometimes those risks just don’t pay off the way we hope they will. It can be easy to feel like you’re hopeless, but taking a chance and it not working out isn’t a failure- you just have to pick yourself up and try again.
19. If you’ve allowed yourself to fall apart and not be put back together just yet. Life has a tendency to throw things at us even when we’re not ready- even the terrible stuff. It can feel overwhelming and soul- crushing even. When we’re knocked down, we sometimes feel like we need to dust ourselves off and jump right back up again. Yet if you’re in a place where you’ve fallen apart, but aren’t ready to put yourself back together again, it’s okay- because you are going to get there eventually. No one else can tell you how to deal with this, except for you.
20. If you’ve made a decision that you regret now. On the way to figuring out the things we want to do, we are going to make choices we wish we hadn’t- and it can feel like we are going in the opposite direction of where we want to go. We all make choices that have an effect on our lives- and sometimes we make choices one day that we regret the next. You are not the first person, nor will you be the last, who has done something they wish they could take back- but what truly matters is not letting this define you, and learning to make your next choices ones to be proud of.