1. Certain friends have ceased to care about you.
Few scenarios are more disheartening than a good friend failing to reciprocate affection. Not every person is capable of matching the love that’s given them, and realizing you have friends failing to keep pace is demoralizing. When someone we love gives up on us, we redirect inward, often blaming ourselves for that person’s feelings. The simple truth is that people in their twenties have limited resources that if not channeled properly go toward the wrong things. Fighting new challenges is what the decade after high school is all about, and oftentimes your energies reroute from friends to other pursuits. Rather than feel helpless when friends go beneath-radar, understand that this is natural and that the best course is to continue loving them regardless of whether or not they return the favor. Don’t expend an inordinate amount of energy, simply keep a spot carved out for them. Doing so will invoke feelings of good-naturedness and will if anything give you a platform for spirituality.
2. You’re truly on your own now.
Navigating the years following college is a seminal challenge. Revelations will smack you as you cut your way towards financial solvency and emotional fulfillment. Among these is the understanding that the world owes you nothing—that the institutions that be will function with or without you and could care less about you. The positive news is that once embraced, this realization will lead a reconfiguration that will prepare you for life’s toughest challenges. You will work harder, think more strategically, and form better alliances based on the worldview that fortune is earned rather than gifted. You will expect nothing and turn swiftly on a sense of urgency, stoking your productivity and increasing odds of success because of it.
3. You’re buried in an ugly pile of debt.
The end of college can be an exhilarating period yet for most of us it also means facing an unsettling fact: debt. Debt can seem unassailable at first but with enough restructuring know that it’s manageable. Most importantly, you shouldn’t let it steer your mental state. Feeling spiritually deflated because of debt handicaps your performance in the real world, which can inevitably lead to higher levels of debt. It also prevents you from experiencing happiness at a time when you should be flourishing. Reach out, find some debt counseling, and tackle your finances directly. You might not realize it now, but the money you owe in your twenties is insignificant compared to what you’ll make in a lifetime. Everyone owes money, including the company you work for, so don’t let it deter you from feeling positive about your outlook.
4. There’s a wall between you and your dream career.
Few people in their twenties, much less their thirties, find themselves satisfied at work. Finding a job that aligns your desires with someone’s “company vision” can be difficult, despite what the media portrays. Don’t catch yourself feeling disillusioned simply because you haven’t netted that perfect career yet— you are still young, so just remember that. Embrace the fact that the best jobs take time to pursue, and that it won’t be long until the experience you’ve accrued earns you something shinier and better paying. Beating yourself mentally for having not found the ideal 9-5 at this point in life is both senseless and self-abusing. Detach from your shame and realize that “trying” often precedes “having.”
5. You’ve just experienced a major screw up in life.
The sense of dread that follows a serious screw up can be so profound we feel shackled by it. Easy is it to resign yourself to a sense that what’s happened has permanently altered history, that your mistakes are so irredeemable they’re now part of your identity. But consider the following truism: those who fail to learn from mistakes are worse-fated beyond those who make them.
Slipups can be damaging, but quickly charting a path forward is the only way to release negativity and enjoy your life. This starts by understanding that time heals all wounds, that actions can be redeemed, and that mental paralysis is a result of misinterpreting real-world implications of events. Nothing is a nail-in-the-coffin unless you will it to be.