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10 Misconceptions About Your 20s That Are Making You Miserable

10 Misconceptions About Your 20s That Are Making You Miserable

Your 20s are a confusing time. There is a lot of uncertainty, as well as a lot of hope and excitement for the future. Unfortunately, misconceptions often cause unnecessary stress for people in their 20s.

Instead of berating yourself for what you have yet to accomplish, read these 10 misconceptions and erase limiting expectations you have placed on yourself.

1. You’re Supposed to Earn a Particular Salary

While it varies for each individual, most people have a general idea of what a ‘successful’ salary is for a twentysomething. The problem is, this misconception can discourage twentysomethings who are happy in their line of work, but are not very wealthy. It can also push twentysomethings to aim for the highest-paying careers, even when those positions are totally unsuitable for many of them.

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2. You’re Supposed to Own a Home

Owning a home is a very specific goal- unlike the goal to be happy, which can apply to everyone. When family members, friends, or colleagues push twentysomethings into pursuing the goal of home-ownership, they’re creating more confusion in the already jumbled mind of a twentysomething. You may be happy renting an apartment, traveling for a period of time, owning a home, or something else. What matters is that you are choosing it for your own reasons.

3. You’re Not Supposed to Have Any Baggage

Let’s face it – your twenties are just a decade after your teens. Many people in their twenties are still dealing with and learning from mistakes made in high school and college. It’s unreasonable that twentysomethings should be expected to be completely proficient adults, free of any bad habits or immature tendencies left over from earlier years. These issues take time to understand and heal from. Oftentimes, that healing process happens throughout your 20s.

4. You’re Supposed to Have a Huge Network

A lot of twentysomethings feel abnormal when they compare their friendship circles with those of others around them, or those of people in the media. But the truth about twentysomething friendships is that they’re not nearly as neat and tidy as we like to pretend. You may have lost or grown apart from friends, and maybe you haven’t replaced them yet. You may have long-distance friends you rarely see, or friends in different age groups. Basically, our social lives should not be judged on the basis of unrealistic expectations.

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5. You’re Supposed to be Married

Watching your friends get hitched is a common anxiety-inducing experience for twentysomethings. It gives the impression that you have a romantic time limit, and that if your friends are pairing off, you must be abnormal for not doing so as well. But few people in their 20s thoroughly know themselves and understand what kind of partner they need. Thus for many twentysomethings, it can be a sign of wisdom that they have not yet become engaged.

6. You’re Supposed to be Single

On the flip side of the coin, you may have a gaggle of single friends telling you that it’s far too early to marry or have children. Again, this can be a misconception. The ability to maintain a healthy marriage and raise a family depends entirely on a couple’s maturity level – not their age. A variety of different personality types exist, and so it’s misleading to assume all twentysomethings will benefit more from being single than being in a committed relationship.

7. You’re Not Supposed to be Afraid

A lot of aspects of twentysomething life are straight-up scary – choosing careers, choosing relationships, choosing where you’d like to live, etc. All of these life-altering decisions, on top of day-to-day stresses, would understandably create fear for anyone. But it is an unfortunate misconception that fear is seen as something that is not supposed to occur. We use fear to guide ourselves away from unsafe choices, and we also use it to recognize self-defeating beliefs. If you’re both excited and afraid about an upcoming decision, train your brain to let go of negative expectations.

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8. You Should Be in Great Shape

As a twentysomething, you may be barraged with ideas about how young people are supposed to look, and the expectation that you are supposed to be in perfect physical shape. What’s worse is that there is also a misconception that this perfect body shape should come naturally. In reality, you can be in poor health at any age if you fail to support and take care of yourself. Twentysomethings need to remind themselves that their diet and workout routines don’t have to be flawless. They just need to be supportive. Once you support your body, it will naturally change and improve to support you.

9. You’re Supposed to Have a Particular Degree

One of the most discouraging and misleading beliefs is that you need a certain kind of education to get anywhere in life. People debate whether college degrees really matter, with some claiming advanced degrees are necessary. Some say a Bachelors is needed, and others claim you must get accepted at a particular university to succeed. However, in fact, none of these are innately true. Twentysomethings from varying educational backgrounds have succeeded in a range of industries. By believing that your education level will limit your options forever, you’re quitting before you have even begun.

10. You’re Supposed to “Have it All Figured Out”

Your 20s are the first decade of your life that you are officially considered an adult. But the thing so many fail to realize is that transitioning from being a teenager to an adult is not like an on-off switch. It’s a gradual transition with ups, downs, and periods of confusion. The idea that you have to ‘have it all figured out’ isn’t only a myth for twentysomethings, but for adults of any age. Those in their 80s still don’t have everything figured out, so why should you pressure yourself to achieve that in your 20s?

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Featured photo credit: stokpic via stokpic.com

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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