Have you ever felt pressured once you entered your 20s? I think we can all agree to the fact that once we are in our 20s, there’s no point denying that we are genuinely “adulting.” However, we also have a toxic trait that we have to let go of when we are entering this age. Do you have any idea what it is? I’ll give you two words: unrealistic expectations.
I don’t blame you because we grew up with those expectations engraved onto us. Whether they are standards set by the society, our friends and family, or by ourselves. We held onto these beliefs for so long that letting them go feels uncomfortable. We have nothing to follow and conform onto, and life feels like it has no direction when they’re gone.
However, the disappointment that you feel when you fail to meet those expectations is what’s preventing you from growing into the best version of yourself. Letting those expectations go doesn’t automatically means that you are settling for less. It’s just that you need to focus on other things instead of trying to achieve unrealistic expectations. So how does one know what those standards are, and how can we let go of them?
Step 1: Get to Know Your Expectations
The first step is that you should identify those expectations and standards that other people have set onto yourself. And most of the time, they are actually even set by yourself. You don’t have to feel bad upon realizing them and how unrealistic they are. But you will be surprised how lightweight it will feel once you observe and realize why you should let go of them.
The Three Standards That You Should Let Go in Your 20s
You Have to Please Everyone
When we are in our early 20s, we are used to people liking us. Especially if you are the child that everybody loves or that person in school that people tend to gravitate into. You are so used to people being nice and liking you, so when you got into a new environment, you are expecting that it will be the same at home or in college.
However, a colleague might always be making passive-aggressive comments, or a boss just seems never to acknowledge your greetings at the hallway. But let me tell you this, that’s okay. And you have to stop trying to please everyone that your whole day revolves around stressing what you did wrong and how you can make them like you.
You will always have doubts and ifs about what you haven’t done or what you can do if you can’t let go of this standard. So what can you do to stop yourself from trying to be a people pleaser? If you feel yourself falling into old habits of ruminating on why someone says or does something to you, try setting a double standard.
If you have made that remark or action onto them, would they overthink what they could do to try and win your approval back? Chances are they won’t, and that’s okay. We sometimes feel like everything, and everyone revolves around us, but everyone has their own thing happening to them. Don’t let yourself live someone else’s life. Constantly trying to please everyone will never make you feel like you’re good enough even if you are more than good enough.
It is in your 20s that you should start getting control of your own choices back. Stop trying to chase the approval of other people because they will never be satisfied. Please yourself first, and you will emanate an aura that people will like. And if they don’t, you are just filtering out what’s unnecessary.
The World Should Be Fair
It’s hard to admit that we aren’t living in a fantasy land we created. Like the example above, we expect that the world will always operate to be fairly to us. You expect that when you graduated from college, the competition for jobs is going to be equal. And then you realize that your peers are easily getting in great companies because of their family relations. It sucks, but the world is unfair, and it’s best to know it now. This way, you won’t waste your energy hating and asking why, instead of working on yourself. Master the art of being flexible regardless of the circumstances.
You Have to Be in Control
The last standard that you’ve probably placed onto yourself is that you got to have control. Especially when you’re in your late 20s, you and other people expect you to have your life together. You got to have this amount in your bank account; you got to have this list of assets, and etcetera. However, if you always push yourself, thinking that you must have everything under control, you will feel deflated because that is impossible. You’re not lowering your standards; you are just being true to yourself and seeing life realistically.
If you need to read a useful guide in getting a water heater in your new place, then do it. If your friends and family criticize why you aren’t able to be as financially comfortable as them, let their words in and out of your ears. Sometimes, life throws us in uncomfortable situations so that we come out of them prepared for the next chapter.
Step 2: Realize How Your Expectations Affect You
Once you acknowledge your expectations, the next step is realizing how you’re reacting to them. Does working your everyday life to meet an expectation more destructive than helpful? Is waiting for the perfect job or person limiting you from possibly better experiences? It might feel like you’re settling if you have to let go of a standard, but you are also going to feel much better and more in control afterward.
Step 3: Be Empathizing to Yourself and Other People
The final step might be the most difficult among the three. This is because if you’re used to giving tough love towards yourself, it feels uncomfortable to try a different approach. Letting go of expectations will also allow you to treat yourself kindly. And in return, you’ll also be able to empathize with other people better because you are aware of the flaws and mistakes that people do.
Learn to talk to yourself less harshly and more gently. Acknowledge why you failed and why you feel those negative emotions with yourself. Instead of dwelling on why you made a mistake, use your energy into finding out what went wrong and how you can improve next time.