Dealing with rejection isn’t an easy task for anybody, and our twenties really test our ability to react to these discouraging situations. We begin to realize that we’re not as qualified as we thought we were for our dream jobs and regret not being involved in more extracurricular activities or doing that extra internship in college. However, learning how to accept criticism and bounce back from defeat is increasingly important at this time. Getting that “thank you for applying, but we chose another candidate” email may sting, but it can also increase your motivation to keep going. You’ll realize it’s not just about sending your resume and a basic cover letter and hoping that a cool job will fall on to your lap. It’s also about taking that extra initiative to reach out to companies and make valuable connections with people that can help get you to where you want to be. No matter how frustrating the job process can be, don’t forget to keep believing in yourself and to treat any minor setbacks as further encouragement to work even harder and eventually snag that job.
—The Lion King
So maybe you had the perfect relationship that slowly turned into a disastrous one, and it completely wreaked havoc on your self-esteem, mood, and general outlook. Well, you could put up walls when interacting with the opposite sex from now on, become a total hermit, and consider Netflix your boyfriend until further notice. OR you can reflect on the relationship, recognize what specially went wrong and why it happened that way, and take that knowledge into consideration when you do start dating again. One terrible experience doesn’t have to affect the rest of your life, unless you waste your time dwelling on it. You won’t be hurt and depressed forever, even though it may feel that way now.
—Winnie the Pooh
Taking initiative and putting yourself out there is easier for some people than others. Take a new social setting, for instance. Certain individuals have no problem going up and introducing themselves to people they haven’t met before, while this can be a terrifying and nerve-wracking experience for others (myself included). However, especially in the competitive job market today, it is incredibly important to stand out among others. Even if you are already hired, networking is continuously important when seeking to improve your job performance and chance of moving up in a company. Adopting a go-getter mentality may not be the easiest task in the world, but it’s something that all 20-somethings should gradually grow comfortable with to be successful in their field.
—Lilo and Stitch
Whether you’re adjusting to a new job, getting used to your new apartment in an unfamiliar city, or stressing out about finding the perfect internship to eventually lead you to your dream career, never forget the importance of staying in touch with your family throughout it all. Haven’t talked to your mom in a while? Give her a call just to say hi and tell her how much you miss her. It’ll make her day—I promise. It can be easy to forget to tell the people in your life how much you appreciate them, but it’s so incredibly important. After all, no matter how independent you’ve become, don’t forget that you’d never be where you are today without your parents’ initial support. Plus, the older you get, the more you’ll actually want to reach out to your parents to hear their input and advice on your life decisions.
Even though you’ve probably heard that you are in control of your own happiness countless times, this mantra holds especially true in your 20s. It’s an awkward, uncomfortable, and confusing time, bound to set forth a bundle of emotions that you didn’t even know you were capable of feeling. However, the best way to handle it is to embrace the ambiguity, accept that things won’t always be picture perfect, and stay positive as much as you can. Even amidst the chaos, finding that spark of hope within you will allow you to recognize just how blessed you really are and to become the best possible version of yourself.