Individuation is the crucial developmental process that launches kids into adulthood. This process is a series of steps and moments throughout life, starting in childhood, that allows us to create a personal identity unique from the identity of parents and other family members. However, individuation doesn’t mean cutting ties with family. It means setting up an intentional space to develop your sense of self, living on your terms based on your values, rather than those set out for you by another person. While individuation is a lifelong process, it is a crucial developmental step in young adulthood.
Young adults are on the cusp of having the autonomy required to start making more individuated choices. But without the practice, experience, and roadmap to help, many young adults might feel paralyzed by the enormity of launching into adulthood. Not only do young adults benefit from a strong sense of self because it helps them develop into healthy adults, but individuation leads to stronger family ties. Families with individuated adults can grow into a group of adults that participate equally in relationships.
The process isn’t always smooth, young adults might struggle to find their footing and parents may struggle to let go, but this process is normal and critical, and doesn’t have to cause long-term damage if handled well.
9 Tips To Jumpstart Your Independence And Confidence
1. Do Stuff.
Yep. Just do stuff. It sounds simple, but action is the number one key to future success, both personally and professionally. Young adulthood is a time to try new things. Don’t let preconceived notions of what you are capable of hold you back. Never thought you could dance? Sign up for a class. Always hated foreign languages? Sign up for a conversation table and get a good tutor. You can also build on things you already enjoy and make them more social or interesting. Maybe you are an expert at the latest video game and you want to share what you know. Join a virtual or in-person group of video game enthusiasts and meet with them to go over your strategy. You can also try things that are related to activities you already enjoy. If you love painting, take a pottery class to see what you love about that art medium. Try all kinds of different jobs and volunteer activities. You don’t need to know what you want to be yet. Just get out there and try new things. And, you never know what you will discover about yourself.
2. Enjoy Your Surroundings.
The biggest part of individuation is finding out who YOU are as an individual. Find time to focus on yourself. We live in a world of social media, cell phones, and busy schedules. It’s hard to find time to yourself without interruption. Space to think, journal, read, or meditate is so important, especially as you explore who you are and who you want to be. Turn off your phone, uninstall Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, and find a place away from the hubbub. Take a walk without your phone and notice how many colors there are in the plants you see. Try a free meditation on Youtube. Turn on your favorite background music and journal. Go outside, find a comfortable place to rest, and listen to the sounds nature makes. It is amazing how much clarity you will find just by giving yourself time alone.
3. Find Your People.
Mark Twain said “keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Just because you are defining your individuality doesn’t mean you have to do so in a vacuum. There are people all around you going through similar things. Talk to them about what makes you tick. Talk about challenges you face and obstacles you’ve overcome. Listen to other people’s stories. Learn from their experiences. Young adulthood is the moment to connect on a new level. There is a community out there for all of us. But, if something about your identity makes you feel alienated from people in your past, find others more like you through universities, extracurricular activities, or work. You are not alone, no matter how isolated you feel. Therapy is also a good option for young adults–as you individuate you can benefit from a professional to help you talk things out.
There is no better way to broaden your worldview than getting out of town for a few days. Talk to people you think you have nothing in common with. Experience a new culture. Go on an adventure. These experiences challenge us to the core of who we are. Experience strengthens our sense of self over time. Give yourself as many experiences as possible. But always remember to do so safely. At Pure Life Adventure, we do our best to make sure that you can experience the culture, try new things, and have an adventure while gaining independence and self-confidence.
5. Make Mistakes.
Get out there. Get dirty. Say stupid things. Do something new. No one ever succeeded without making mistakes. Our society spends so much time telling us that failure is a bad thing, that we forget that failure is also the recipe for success. It’s all about how you fail. If we change the way we think about failure from, “oh my gosh, I suck,” to “what can I learn from this experience,” we change our perception of failure altogether. Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success. We learn by getting things wrong. Embrace it. Apologize when necessary, but never think of failure as a bad thing again.
6. Don’t Decide What You Want To Be When You Grow Up.
Yeah, we know this isn’t what you’ve heard your whole life. In kindergarten, teachers were already asking what you wanted to be. It’s often better to find a purpose than a job. Don’t ask, “what do I want to be?” Instead ask, “how can I serve the world?” Find that thing that makes you feel fulfilled, and pursue it. A job will follow. The universe rewards action. As long as you work hard, doors will open that you could never have even imagined.
7. When Thinking About A Career, Define Your Hygiene Factors.
Hygiene factors are your list of things that provide satisfaction and dissatisfaction in your job. They are what you want and don’t want from a career. Hygiene factors might include points about the work schedule, the number of hours, money, relationship with supervisors, travel, time off, type of environment, etc. Make a physical list of all of the things that you need from a job and all of the things that will not work for you. Then, when searching for a job, stick to that list. For more information on defining hygiene factors, search for “Herzberg’s Motivators and Hygiene Factors.” There are lots of resources out there.
8. Be Honest.
Don’t hide from who you are. That doesn’t mean that you have to announce your identity to the world. Yet, you shouldn’t have to hide it either. Decide what you want to share, but always be true to who you are. Journaling is a great way to start being honest with yourself first, and then from your journal entries, you can figure out what you want to share with others and what you want to keep to yourself. If you feel like there are challenges or issues you can’t figure out on your own, seek help from a trusted friend, parent, or therapist. Being honest with yourself and others will make you happier in the end.
9. Give Your Parents A Break.
There are few things harder in life than watching a chick leave the nest for the first time. Although it is important to define yourself outside of familial expectations, remember that your newfound independence might be hard for your parents to get used to. For them, it was just a few short years ago that you were just their “little kid.” Be firm about your needs as an adult but also be kind and compassionate. Let your parents know that you still love them and that will never change. Part of being an independent adult is being respectful. When you are in their house, respect the rules. Don’t expect to be catered to. Instead, offer to help out. This goes a long way towards finding even footing as an adult in your parent’s home.
This list may seem overwhelming, but that is okay. Just start with one tip and see how your life improves. If you can manage to incorporate more, you might see changes like less worry, more confidence, better relationships, and a brighter outlook on your future.
5 Life Skills For Success Every Young Adult Should Know
There is no question that young adults face unique challenges as they transition into adulthood. But with the right skills, they can thrive during this time and set themselves up for a successful future. Many young adults enter the world without a firm grasp on the life skills they need for success. To avoid becoming part of this statistic, make sure you have a strong grasp of the following skills:
1. Stress Management
Stress causes negative effects on your mental health as well as your physical health. Learning how to manage stress can help you get through rough periods of your life. There are as many ways to manage stress as there are people. Everyone uses different tools to manage stress at different times in their lives. Going to therapy, writing in your journal, exercising, spending time in nature, playing with a pet, meditating, or spending time with close friends can all be stress-reducing activities. Try several coping mechanisms and find what works for you, then when you feel stress overwhelming you, engage in one of those strategies. You’ll find that practicing the coping strategy in non-stressful times will help you use it when you are in a stressful moment.
This is a skill you’ll use in every relationship, even your relationship with yourself. Learning how to communicate effectively in your relationships with your friends, parents, bosses, teachers, and strangers will help you get what you need as well as meet the needs in those relationships. Before you can effectively communicate with others, you might need to look at how you are communicating with yourself. Are you judgemental, harsh, unforgiving, and cruel to yourself? Or is your inner dialogue compassionate, encouraging, and honest? Work on speaking kindly to yourself while maintaining your honesty, and you’ll find that it’s easier to communicate with others as well. You’ll have more compassion and practice at understanding others because you have spent time understanding yourself.
3. Managing Time
Time management is a skill you learn through practice and careful consideration. At the end of the day, can you clearly see what tasks or appointments were completed? Or do you feel like the day went by in a haze and nothing got done? We all have slower days when we need to take it easy, but most of the time using basic time management tools like a planner, calendar, to-do list or some other system helps us complete the basic tasks of adulthood. An easy way to start is to simply “brain dump” every task and appointment you need to complete. Then prioritize the time-sensitive tasks. However, pick a couple of tasks that will give you some instant gratification to keep your brain engaged. If you need to take out your garbage, do that first even if it isn’t the highest priority. Your brain will love the feeling of completing a task, and then you will want to do another task on the list. If that feels overwhelming, simply pick one or two tasks, and make it your goal to complete them that day. Time management is a learned skill, so just like learning to play a new video game or trying a new makeup routine, you are going to fail sometimes. That’s okay, just keep trying.
4. Managing Money
Managing Money is a skill most adults still struggle to master. It’s hard to manage money in a world that is always telling you that more, new, bigger, better means that you are more successful and worthy. But real money management is as simple as deciding what matters to you and then using your time and money to reflect on what matters. If your values are time with family, time to relax, and having enough money to own a home and travel once a year, make a financial plan that matches those goals. If you want to live in a city, meet lots of new people, travel the world, and buying a house isn’t a big goal for you, make financial plans based on those goals.
5. Managing Expectations
It’s common for young adults to see their parents’ lives and feel like they should already have a comparable car, home, education, and career. But your parents were once young too, and they likely didn’t have what they have now. It’s okay that you don’t have it all figured out; they didn’t either. But they had a goal, and they worked for decades to make their goals into reality. You don’t get to see most people’s failures, so you might expect that you won’t have any big roadblocks in achieving your goals. The reality is that everyone has problems, but how we manage our expectations and responses to the problems is the difference. Learning to manage our expectations and then respond rather than react to the roadblocks in life is a skill you’ll use for the rest of your life, and if you can learn this skill at a young age, you’ll be better off in the present and in the long run.
Pure Life Adventure: Offering Young Adults A Roadmap To Independence
It isn’t as simple today for young adults to know what path to take. The world has changed a lot in recent decades. For many young people, the path to adulthood isn’t as straightforward as it once was. The gig economy, side hustles, gap years, non-traditional education, trade work, and more have fundamentally changed how people live and prioritize their values. It’s not all good or all bad, but what you need is a roadmap designed to help guide young adults into successful adulthood.
The world has changed, and that means that there are more choices than ever before for creating your own life path. With so many options, it can be hard to narrow down your choices. But you don’t have to figure it out alone. In fact, Pure Life Adventure is a great way to take the space and time you need to establish your values, consider your options and start making a road map. Many young people have found their roadmaps with Pure Life Adventure, and if you are ready to start down your path to success and well-being, contact us today. A life full of values and priorities is waiting for you!