Today we are talking about life transitions and I would like to focus on a particular form, the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Often this transition is smooth and succeeds but sometimes not.
In my work I often talk to young people who feel lost, who have not yet found their passion or dream, or who don’t know what their strengths are. What a challenge it is, to have to make decisions about your life and future when you feel uncertain or confused.
Becoming an adult today is much more difficult that it was 50 or 60 years ago. Life has changed, your environment and culture define what success is and what a successful transition looks like or should look like.
But today I want to focus on you, the young people who struggle with finding the next step, who may feel scared, sad or anxious about life. These feelings can make you passive or numb. Some of you avoid making any decisions at all.
So, here are some helpful thoughts for you:
1. Accept uncertainty Slow down, what you feel is normal and it does not mean you are lacking in any way. It has to do with your experiences, your personality, and your needs. Some people have a clear vision others don’t. Accept the uncertainty and give yourself time.
2. Share Talk to family and friends, talk to people who know and love you. Let them help you with thoughts and ideas. Let them share what they know about you, how they see you. Our view and understanding of ourself is filtered through our own ideas and expectations. So, do hear what others have to say.
3. Discover your values What is important for you in this life? Discover your likes and dislikes, try new things, actively try to find out who you are. Open yourself to new experiences and possibilities. This might mean studying, volunteering, helping others or finding a part-time job. So learn what’s important but also realistic in the here and now.
4. Read books Let other people’s words and stories inspire you. Also, there are great self-help books that can offer ideas and guidance.
5. Make Decisions Start by making small everyday decisions. Maybe there are issues you avoid dealing with, or decisions you have not yet made. Allow your heart and mind to work together and dare. A decision based only on emotion or only on reason often is not the best decision.
6. Take responsibility Learn to endure the responsibility of your decisions. That’s what adulthood is about. Being responsible for the choices you make. It does not matter whether there was another better choice. This was your choice.
7. Self-compassion Above all Be Kind to yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Be the friendly voice that says: Keep going, you can make it.
Finally, if you feel you cannot make it alone, feel free to ask for professional help.