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12 Life Lessons My 20s Have Taught Me That Everyone Should Know

12 Life Lessons My 20s Have Taught Me That Everyone Should Know

In 1989, I turned 20 years old and graduated from college the following year. The decade would see me make some bad decisions – eloping with my ex-husband – but also a bunch of great choices that all made me who I am today.

Here’s hoping my mistakes and successes and life lessons learned along the way can help you, too:

1. Always pursue your passion but don’t quit your day job unless you’re sure

Although much of my professional career after graduation was built in the financial arena of corporate America, I never let go of my love of writing. After work and on weekends – or let’s be honest, many times during my day jobs – I’d make time to steal away and write. Whatever your talent, doggedly go after it, even while you’re doing other things to pay the bills.

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2. Prevent overindulgences: Giving up the ganja

Too much of anything doesn’t bode well. I learned that lesson from too much shopping, weed smoking and not enough bill paying – so I had to temper myself and become more responsible throughout my 20s. You can still have fun doing the things you like but make sure the mortgage is taken care of first.

3. Revel in looking good

Okay, I was pretty hot in my 20s. For one thing, make sure you enjoy the days of few wrinkles and no age spots.

4. Express yourself in the way that’s best for you

No longer a teen, I learned that my opinion mattered, but that I preferred to do it in writing lots of times without having to look people in the face and watch their reactions. Whatever way feel most comfortable  to you is your way to get out the feelings inside. Make sure to get them out.

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5. Get stuff done while you don’t have kids

During my 20s, I had no kids, so I was able to devote lots of time to work but part of me wishes I would’ve pursued a writing career more fervently when I had no one to really think about but myself.

6. “Prayer works.”

It’s something my grandmother used to tell me, and believe you me, by the time I turned 30 and experienced serious losses in my life, I knew her statement was true for helping me survive them.

7. It’s okay to forgive yourself

I was almost just berating myself for not accomplishing more in my 20s. That’s when I told myself to stop it – and that forgiveness is key. When you know better, you do better, as the popular saying goes.

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8. Look at the positive

It would be easy to list hundreds of mistakes I’ve made in the decade of my 20s or beyond – but it’s better to always look at the bright side of life. Instead of stewing over not graduating college as a 20-year-old like I wanted, I can congratulate myself for getting a degree in five years instead of not at all.

9. Follow the direction of love

After being in a bad marriage for about three years in my early 20s, it dawned on me that people cannot change one another or force each other to change. Therefore, I escaped that abusive situation and realized that being in a more positive environment isn’t corny or boring – it’s love, a whole lot better feeling than hate.

10. Give people space and grace

I used to have high expectations that people do what I wanted when I wanted it. Time shows us that others can do things that we don’t expect – and we should give them the freedom to be themselves.

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11. Thank others for letting you be yourself

The freedom in learning to let others do their own thing allowed me to realize that I had that same freedom. No heavy chains or unreasonable boundaries placed upon other folks gave me the revelation that no one else should do the same to me.

12. Hope doesn’t disappoint

Society may have people feel that once you leave your 20s, life is over. I’ve learned that it helps to always remain filled with hope, and to never let your dreams die – no matter how old you get. Even when I didn’t experience the level of Shonda Rhimes-like success I sought in my 20s, it doesn’t mean I gave up. Instead, I know the day is coming when the words I once heard in my soul will be fulfilled: “It is yours.”

Featured photo credit: Success Phrase Typed On Typewriter The secret of my success business concept typed phrase on a retro typewriter great concept for storytelling business plans presentations or blogs Stock Photo ID: 51280939 Copyright: Stocksolutions via bigstockphoto.com

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

How To Control Your Emotions Effectively

How To Control Your Emotions Effectively

Jill and Sarah are best friends. They do everything together, but they are also very different.

Jill is constantly strung out; the smallest mishap will send her into a state of frustration, stress and shouting. She is affected by everything around her: the traffic, long queues, the mean colleague. Her mood and happiness are directly influenced on a daily basis by what is happening around her. Sarah on the other hand, doesn’t let small things get to her. She decides how she wants to feel and she is much happier on a continuous basis than Jill.

What is the difference?

Choice.

Managing your emotions is very much a question of choice. Do you want to, or not? So much has been written about emotions and how to deal with them effectively, yet many people can’t control this area of life. Why? Managing emotions effectively is actually like developing a skill or a habit. It is a way of doing something better, and as humans, we struggle with change the most.

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Changing the way you usually do something is not easy and it is even more difficult when it comes to emotions. When we are feeling ‘emotional,’ the last thing we want to do is calm down and try to deal with the situation pro-actively; we most often want to rant about what is upsetting us.

If we understand a little more about how our emotions work, we are in a much better position to use this information to our advantage. Learning to control your emotions can be one of the best skills you will ever develop in your life. Your emotions lead to the actions you take and therefore, create the life you are experiencing now, every part of it.

Our emotional part of the brain, the limbic system, is one of the oldest parts when compared, for example, to our prefrontal cortex, which is our ‘thinking’ part. Because our emotional part is so old, and therefore an extremely strong part of the brain, it is understandable that it feels like our emotions run us and hijack our thinking at times. The average person’s emotional part of the brain is over six billion times more active than the prefrontal cortex.

The point is, your emotions will naturally hijack your thinking—this is a given—but there are still ways to deal with this.

To keep things simple, let’s look at what you can do to flip this situation around. Ignoring emotions, suppressing them or not dealing with them will come back to bite you! Stress and anxiety come from suppressed emotions, so if you think that dealing with your emotions by ignoring them is going to work, you are sorely wrong.

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Here are four simple steps to start controlling your emotions effectively.

1. The First Step Is Awareness

If you are not aware of the times when you are overly emotional or overreacting, how can you try to manage it? It is impossible. Start to monitor your emotions and give names to them. Sometimes we find it difficult to identify what we are feeling. Giving it a name helps us gain clarity, which is essential in moving forward.

2. Discover the ‘Why’ of Your Emotions

Once you have identified how you are feeling, you want to discover why you are feeling it. What is causing this feeling inside you? Of course, there could be a million reasons, and to find out you have to ask yourself, like you would a friend, “What is wrong? What is causing me to feel this way?” Your mind will always look for an answer.

Most of the time, simply the way you are thinking about the situation is causing you to feel the way you do. Another huge reason why we feel negative emotions is because our values are not present in that moment or being respected.

Remember: discover the ‘why.’

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3. Then Ask Yourself, “What Is the Solution?”

Once you have discovered why, what can you do to take back control? Sometimes, you might need to change the way you are thinking about the situation.

You see, your thoughts lead directly to your feelings; so if you are feeling bad, you most likely have a negative thought that is making you feel that way. If you start thinking of other possible ways of looking at the situation, you will begin to feel better immediately. What you focus on expands!

Sometimes, by simply understanding why you feel a certain way at a certain time, your emotions will start to diminish because understanding always leads to calming.

4. Choose How You Want to React

This is the hardest part. The way that we react and manage our emotions is a habit. Haven’t you noticed those people who get stressed out about nothing, literally freaking out at nothing? You almost feel sorry for them. They have created a habit of associating a situation they don’t like with ‘freaking out.’ Their emotions have hijacked them.

Learning to listen to your emotions, to identify, understand and then choose them, isn’t something that you decide to practice twice a week at lunchtime. No, it is with continuous effort and discipline that you can start to build this essential skill.

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Final Thoughts

Do you control your emotions, or do they really control and direct you?

It isn’t easy and that’s why so many people don’t make an effort and give up. But once you are able to control your emotions, life changes for you in more ways than you ever dreamed possible. Not only will you feel way more empowered and in control in life, but you will be happier and much healthier as you won’t be stressed or weighed down so often.

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Featured photo credit: Christian Fregnan via unsplash.com

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