I can’t do it. I can’t keep acting like “life is falling apart but I’ve got this.” I don’t “got it.” Everyone talks about early twenties being a tough time, but right out of college, I didn’t feel that way. Upon graduating, I had a great full time job, and a part time job on the side. I was working hard, spending time with friends, and really enjoying life. I lived at home, so the independence wasn’t quite there, but I had Nashville in sight, and I was confidently taking on each day. The only thing wrong with that picture was my bad taste in men, but that’s another story.
But now here I am, having been technically unemployed for six months, with only occasional babysitting sustaining me. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many interviews I’ve had. I have three more weeks in my current home, and then I don’t know where I will be living. I don’t understand why it is suddenly so challenging. I finally admit that I can’t do it. Not alone, anyway. I took pride in my can-do attitude, but here’s what I’ve decided. It isn’t weakness to ask for help. It’s weakness to allow your pride to lead you straight into a rut. Despite having a degree, options are limited, and I have to accept that a diploma doesn’t change everything.
But what do you do when your resources run out and answers are nowhere to be found? What do you do when you’ve exhausted your options? Being in my early twenties is such a unique stage in life because I’m still trying to figure out the woman I want to be and the future I want to have. I realized I’m a lot more awkward than I used to be. I care a lot more what others think now, and it seems like what I do is dependent on how others will respond. I’d like to say I’m independent, because that’s “the thing,” right? But in a world full of comparison and high, unachievable standards of “acceptable” or “great,” how do I not fall into the trap of trying to please? Adapting who I am to fit a mold, guarantees temporary acceptance.
I was on the phone with a friend last night, just really torn up over how I don’t really like myself right now. I’m struggling hardcore with commitment. I’m letting other people’s perception of reality shape how I see the world, instead of being brave and holding true to myself. If i step outside of someone else’s reality, I feel guilty. I’ve been living in fear and along the way, I’ve lost sight of the woman I am.
Fear shrinks me.
Comparison says I’m not enough.
Insecurity accuses Jesus of being a liar.
Truth is, I always feel pressure to be more. So here’s some feelings from a twenty something who winds up in a fear infested, comparison stricken, insecure bundle on her bed, scrolling on Instagram and Facebook. .
I think it’s easy to portray confidence. Some people really have it, but social media has made it so simple to create an image of who you want to be, without backing that up with actions. That in turn, creates so many unattainable expectations. The other night I stayed up until 4am, looking at people’s Facebook profiles, wishing my life looked a little more like _____. Then I would pull up someone else’s profile, and think- “never mind, I want to be more like _______.” All of this comparison, fear, and insecurity is stripping me of who I really am. Comparison slithers in like a snake and plants lies in my head. It makes me question my very worth. Comparison keeps me from the community that I so desperately crave- because I bet you, I’m not the only one who struggles with this.
I don’t want to act like I have it all together. I don’t want to act like my life is perfect. Because to be honest? Right now it ain’t that peachy. Being in my early twenties is really difficult.
How do I fight my fear of commitment?
I don’t know. But I know it starts by voicing my struggle.
How do I confidently move forward without always doubting myself, wondering who is going to approve?
I don’t know. But I know it starts with discovering joy [not happiness].
I don’t like where I’m at in life. I don’t like the tricks my mind plays and the expectations this world says I need to live up to.
I can’t do it anymore. I can’t keep comparing myself to you guys. So I’m going to work on that. I’m not sure how yet, but change has to happen.
Fear has no place. I’m ready to reclaim myself. I think reclaiming myself looks like continuing to pursue deep healing. Loving myself again, and not changing based on what others expect me to be. Reclaiming myself means believing THIS:
Dear Struggling Hearts,
Stop trying to impress others. Heck- stop trying to live up to other people’s standards for you. When you do that, you invalidate your own feelings. You keep robbing yourself of confidence because you’re living for an audience much larger than the one you were created for. Live for an audience of one. What does God think? I know I know. Way easier said than done. But I know deep down you are a fighter. Right now you’re letting life kick you in the butt. Right now things feel a bit helpless, and you don’t even like yourself. But hello- do you see how far you have come? I wish you understood how strong and powerful you really are. You have so much in you- that fiery passion can take you far, but you have to exert yourself! Unless you jump in- you will either stay where you are at, or you will slowly backtrack into disaster. You have what it takes. You are beautiful and unique. Never sacrifice your individuality to impress someone. Your validation is found in what Jesus Christ says about you. He says you are loved, treasured, delightful, and worthy. The validation you seek from men and women will never compare to the acceptance and affirmation you will find in Christ. This life is messy and you aren’t expected to be perfect. If you mess up, you aren’t a failure. You are only a failure if you don’t get back up again. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You carry unnecessary weight on your shoulders. Lay it down and just breathe. Your heart matters. You deserve respect. You are not less than anyone else. People genuinely enjoy your company. You have to believe that. Use your strong will to keep fighting. Let your vulnerability fuel relationships with others so that you never are wearing a mask. It’s okay to be emotional, it’s okay to express yourself, even when you aren’t energetic and happy. Be you, in every way, every time. Embrace who you are and keep rising. There is always plenty more room to grow. You are important, you have value, and you can change lives, but in order to do that, you must recognize the value of your own life.