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Dear 30-Somethings, I Hope You Won’t Make These Mistakes In Life

Dear 30-Somethings, I Hope You Won’t Make These Mistakes In Life

Dear 30-Somethings,

I am writing this to help you change your life around for the better. I want you to live a long and prosperous life without looking back with regrets. You have many years ahead of you, and I want to make sure that you live them to the fullest. There’s nothing like waking up one morning and having a meltdown because you didn’t do what you wanted to, so I want to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Read this with an open mind and think about your life at the moment; are you living a happy life? If the answer is no, you won’t be living a happy life when you’re older either. No matter how much you’re saving for retirement.

1. Making Work a Priority

You’re a newbie at your job, and you want to make a good impression on your boss. I get it, it’s a natural feeling. You can’t just put work before everything else in your life though. If you respond to every call you receive from your boss or coworkers, even on your days off, you will never take the time to enjoy the present moment. You will soon become so obsessed with work that your life will only be about that… work. Your friends will start drifting away, and your relationships will be affected. I get that you want to work hard now and have fun later, but work will never cuddle with you when you are sad. Find a balance between work and fun that works for you. Work can come second on weekends and special occasions. Turn off your phone while you’re at the restaurant with your friends and make it clear to your boss that you will not answer calls or texts on specific days.

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2. Forgetting Your Passion for Money

Money controls everything in today’s world. If you want a luxurious life, you need more money; it’s just how it works. Which is why you might consider putting your passion behind in order to make more money. Let me tell you something about this type of thinking: it will make you miserable. If you go to work unhappy about what you do, or not passionate about your everyday tasks, you will be miserable. You will groan when you wake up in the morning, and you will sigh in relief when it’s time to punch out. You will find yourself in a mediocre routine where your feelings will be pretty much inexistent, because there will be no passion or excitement in your life. Of course though, we’re humans, so we need to feel something to not be depressed, which is where shopping splurges will come in. The money you make will pay for your happiness in things like shoes, dresses, suits, or cars. It might seem like you’re happy for a few minutes, but the feeling will fade very quickly. After a while, your boss might even think of letting you go because he can see that you’re miserable on the job. I write from experience. My advice? Follow your passion. When you’re passionate about something, the money will follow. Your excitement and love will allow you to create something amazing, something that sets you apart from others. If you’re passionate about writing, become a writer. It won’t always be easy, but you will wake up in the morning happy about what you’re doing of your day. You will create content that will make your readers want to read more. That’s what passion does and that’s why money always follows it. To find your passion, think back to when you were a little kid. What did you love doing more than anything? If it was playing video games, can you become a video game creator? If it was painting, can you become a museum curator? Think about it, and follow it. There’s a career for every passion.

3. Not Taking Care of Your Body

You might think now that you don’t need too exercise or eat healthy in order to look good, but your future self will think differently. You’re young, take care of your body! The food you eat today will start affecting your body later, by adding more wrinkles to your face or increasing your chances of getting ill. Go to the gym now, even if you don’t think you need it. If you exercise and eat healthy now, your skin will be tighter and your body will be slimmer later. Not only that, but you will also feel better about yourself. You’re already young and beautiful, so why not enhance this beauty of yours through a healthy lifestyle?

4. Neglecting Your Family

Family should always come first. You probably left the nest a few years ago and don’t plan on looking back, which is fine. But, you should never neglect your family. If you live in the same area, make time for all of them and catch up on their stories. You don’t want to be so caught up in work or adulthood that you forget to call your mother for a month or two. If you are living in a different Country, you can Skype to talk to your parents, siblings, or other close relatives. You might think that you’re above it all right now and that your friends are your new family, but it’s false. When you’ll be older, it’s a guarantee that you’ll regret not spending time with your family when you had the chance. You’ll regret forgetting to call your sister on her 30th birthday, or going to that lunch date with your parents. Your family is precious. Hold on to it and let them know regularly that you love them. They’re the ones who will be by your side no matter what happens. If you had a fight with a close family member, let go of that anger. Call your sibling or your parents and set things right, you’ll be happier.

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5. Being Negative

Negativity will kill you. Simple. If you spend your thirties thinking negatively, you will not blossom the way you should. Not only will you become a grumpy old person in the future, but you will also lose your entourage. People around you will slowly stop talking to you, because they know how negative you are. Your negativity will also take a toll on your relationships and career, as no one will want to spend time with you. It may sound harsh, but it’s the truth. Negativity will kill you. Instead of victimizing yourself and thinking negatively all the time, change your thoughts. Say affirmations every morning to start your day on a positive note. If you catch yourself being negative, shake it off and force yourself to think positive again. If your entourage is the one who’s negative, let go of them. It will make you feel better and a whole new life will open up before you.

6. Thinking You’re Too Old

You’re mistaken if you ever think that you’re too old to do something. Not only will you miss out on a lot of fun, but you will also age more quickly than you should. You don’t want to turn 50 one day and look back at your 35th birthday, when you passed up going to DisneyLand with your friends and just had a quiet dinner at home. You don’t have to be serious all the time, and you most definitely don’t have to act like you’re in your thirties, whatever that looks like. Take Richard Branson for example, he’s in his sixties and still lives like he’s in his thirties. Age is just a number, it shouldn’t define what you can or cannot do. You will live a much happier life if you stop thinking that you’re too old for this or for that. You’re never too old to ride the roller coasters or dance on the table! You have one life, make the most of it until the end.

7. Forgetting Yourself

If you are spending too much time pleasing others and forgetting about yourself, you will regret it later. Allow yourself the right to say no to certain invitations or certain requests from your significant other. When you’ll be older, you’ll regret not putting yourself first in certain situations, especially if you put aside your hopes and dreams to let someone else have the spotlight. If you put your needs first every once in a while, you’ll be much happier. It doesn’t matter if your friends and family don’t approve of your change of career, if you love it and know that it’s what you want to do, do it. You know yourself best.

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8. Living Too Safely

There’s no regret like the regret of living your life too safely. If you live too safely right now, you will never accomplish the things you could’ve accomplished, period. If you’re always so afraid of taking risks, you will pass up on job offers, promotions, relationships, friendships, and dozens of other opportunities. The time will never be right for taking a risk, but if you know what you’re getting yourself into, take the risk. Take the risk of failure or rejection and see what happens. Even if that guy at work doesn’t like you romantically, at least now you know. You won’t always go home overthinking every eye contact you’ve had with the guy, because you’ll know that nothing can happen. The best way to embrace risk is by testing new foods. Go to a Mexican restaurant and try hot dishes, see what happens. Go on a spontaneous trip with your best friend, see what happens. Worst case scenario? You’ll have hilarious stories to tell your grandchildren.

9. Not Traveling Enough

This is one of the most common regrets people have when they’re older. You might be extremely busy with work or adulthood right now, but you should always make time to get out of the country and visit new cities. When you get older, you won’t have the energy to travel around the world, so do it now. Traveling will help you find yourself by breaking away from the routine and thinking of only one thing: yourself. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, you now have the time to travel. Take two weeks off and visit Paris or London, see what everyone is talking about! See for yourself if Italians are real charmers or if French macarons are the best dessert on earth. Many people take a gap year before University to travel around the world, why not do it now? Grab a luggage and head out into the world, that’s where the real opportunities lie.

10. Leaving Feelings Unspoken

A lot of you today think that feelings should just be bottled up, mostly because you’re afraid of getting hurt. This fear will create a lot of regret in the future as you look back and wonder if that person at work really liked you. You can’t leave your feelings bottled up for fear of being rejected or of ruining whatever is going on between the two of you. If you think that the other person likes you, make a move. What if your best friend likes you as much as you like him? Imagine the regret you will have if you both like each other, but no one has the courage to speak out. You’ll get married one day and still wonder if your best friend likes you the way you like him. I mean, haven’t you seen Maid of Honor? Talk to your crush about your feelings or ask that cute waiter out. Worst case scenario, they don’t like you romantically but still want to be friends with you. At least you will know for sure that the person doesn’t like you. You can move on to the next person without regrets, because you did what you could to find out if the feelings were reciprocal.

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Good luck, and remember to stay true to yourself!

Featured photo credit: Featured Photo Credit: Oleander via mrg.bz

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Sarah Anton

Editor and founder of The Fitrepreneur, aspires to improve people's living style.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

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