We’ve been told that our 20s are the perfect time to explore and discover “who we really are.” After all, when will we have the same freedoms and lack of obligation — the chance to find our “real” selves?
It’s funny, though, how who we discover we are is often similar to the person we were before deciding to find ourselves.
You can run…
There is a whole world out there, full of things you might want to try and do and be, but when it all comes down to it, you can’t completely run away from yourself.
That trip to Africa you’ve been saving for? Take it! Just know that after you arrive in South Africa and see the local wildlife, you will still be the same person with the same issues. You’ll still have your asthma and depression, whether you are running from a lion or binge-watching the last season of “New Girl.”
There’s magic in being authentic.
My father has had the same advice for me ever since I was about 2 years old. Only, it seemed impossible to embrace “be yourself” in high school.
It was a goal in college, and now, as a post-graduate, it's necessary for being truly happy with the skin I am in. It means being an authentic person by doing what you love and knowing what makes you happy.
Knowing what makes you smile can make a huge difference. Deep down, you already know what you are good at and how you can contribute to the world.
Know your limits.
We all have those mornings when we wake up wondering, “What the hell happened last night? Why am I wearing my roommate’s skirt? Thank god I made it to my bed.” (No? Just me?)
The problem with a succession of those nights is that you start to forget what you truly love to do. Knowing how much craziness you can handle can keep you from feeling like complete and utter sh*t the next day and can also keep you feeling balanced.
We all like to have some fun, but we also need to take some time for ourselves. Setting some boundaries for yourself — and sticking to them — can help a lot. Again, it comes down to having an idea of who you are.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
If you find yourself waking up wearing your roommate’s skirt, laugh it off. Get up the next day, go exercise and take a night off to stay in and read in bed.
We’re in our 20s, the very beginning of our lives as adults. We won’t have every answer. The more you beat yourself up about things, the harder it will be to move on and make the right decisions for yourself.
Acknowledge that you didn’t want something to happen and make future plans that are more congruent with what you love.
Trust the people who know you… to an extent.
It’s tough to solicit sound advice that comes from people who love and care about you, but it might be closer to home than you might think.
Your parents, your best friend and people to whom you’ve already opened up can be some of the best people to bounce ideas off of. They know when you aren’t yourself and talking to them can help you identify a decision that works for you.
Don’t forget to keep in mind that if what they say does not match up with what you believe is right for you, it probably means you should find a second opinion.
Trust your gut.
You know in junior high, when you learned about the fight or flight instinct and you directly applied it to the crush you had on the wide receiver of the football team? (I know this one isn’t just me.)
You weren’t really wrong. Part of being yourself means having a sense of what you should keep in your life and what you should discard.
In that solar plexus you have, you already know whether that guy you’ve been seeing is good for you or not, whether you should boil water before you put pasta in (you should) and whether you can really skydive or if you will start crying on the plane ride up.
Listen to that voice because 99 percent of the time, you already know what’s right for you.
Photo via We Heart It