One of my Instagram followers asked this question: What is the #1 impediment you see in young adults trying to build a real relationship?
My answer: It’s a tie for three things 1) Diminished time spent in the real world. 2) Lack of maturity. 3) Fear of making decisions.
This post will address the second one – Lack of Maturity. Dear young adults, it’s time to grow yourself up. Your past, through no fault of your own, did not serve you well in the growing up department. The people and the community who raised you fed your mind, body, and soul with too much ease and goodness. It was all done in the name of love, but now it’s on YOU to step up and step into YOUR OWN LIFE.
The basic human need to learn, grow, mature, and progress is within all of us. However, today’s young adults, especially those raised in the LDS church, have been stunted. When it comes to confidence, dating, and having real relationships, there are too many pathways of distraction and comfort. Plus, your experiences were facilitated, your decisions were within defined guidelines of safety, and the fear of making a mistake was implanted with the threat of eternal consequences.
This may be shocking news to those around you, but you are not a teenager. Even if you are not married. You can live your life as if you were a teenager, but that kind of life does not lead to happiness, confidence, or real relationships. Why? Because happiness can only come with responsibility and love. Confidence comes from the kind of experience & practice that requires stepping into YOUR OWN LIFE and making decisions. Real relationships are two independent people making independent choices. Thus, independence is key.
To those of you who want to be in a long-term, exclusive relationship such as marriage, I would invite you to consider the kind of person you want to build a life with. Adult, child, or teenager? If you choose adult, how would you know your potential partner is on that path? What does that look like? Would your potential partner also want you to be on that path? Why?
Some of the BEST things to do for a relationship are not connected to the relationship. This is one of them. Grow yourself up! If you want to feel happier, more confident, and more connected step into YOUR OWN LIFE. For each individual, the how-to steps will follow a different timeline.
If you are wondering about your own unique circumstances like, “Might I be an exception?” consider asking for more insight. I am happy to help.
Take a look at the following list. Pick one at a time. With each one, be clear. Is this what I want in a partner? Is this what I want for me? Notice which things speak to you, loud & clear. Which ones feel the most uncomfortable? Go through the list twice. One time for what you want in a potential partner, and one time for yourself.
Grow Yourself Up List:
- Aim for financial freedom from your parents. Tuition, car, insurance, cell phone, rent, food, utilities, clothes, household supplies, laundry, family trust fund, etc. Important note: Parents who pay have the right to attach strings. For example: Parents pay tuition as long as you go to the college of their choice and get B+ grades or higher. Or, you get to have your trust fund check only if you live by standards defined by your parents. If you are paying, YOU decide. If your parents pay, they have a say.
- Get a job. If you are in school full time, make that your job. But, seriously. You need a job. As you read this, define your job. If you are looking for a job, then it is your job to get a job.
- If you are living with your parents or anyone else, rent free, start paying rent. Look up how much it is to rent a room in the area where you live. Add to that amount anything that comes with that room like, utilities, laundry, food & food prep, etc.
- Contribute to the keeping of a home. It does not matter who you live with or if you live alone. Do your household chores. As you read this, define 3 household chores.
- Practice making decisions on your own, without having to always turn to family, friends, or your romantic interest for advice or approval. If you need help, ask someone you are afraid to ask (“Will this person think I’m stupid?” – someone out of your comfort zone).
- Let family, friends, and romantic interests know when you are not looking for their advice, approval, or feedback. Example: “Thanks, but I’ve got this.”
- Do the one grown-up thing you’ve been putting off. What is that one thing? What keeps you from doing it? As you read this, say that one thing out loud.
- Use your voice. Share an opinion. Talk to someone instead of texting. Make a request. Own something that is true about you, especially if it does not make you look good. Example: “I was so nervous for this date, I drove around the block 3 times to try to calm myself down. That’s why I was late.” versus telling a lie, “I was late because of traffic.”
- Look honestly at the lies you are telling yourself. Excuses, explanations, justifications, defense, rationalizations. Example: “I have to live with my parents because of Covid.” Where is the lie in this? How does it keep you from stepping into YOUR OWN LIFE? It is super easy, in 2020, to come up with all kinds of reasonable sounding lies. *The example used here might be true for you, and if you don’t know, schedule a free coaching call. I can help.
- Go on one on one dates. It’s time to branch out from how it was done in high school. Don’t put your dating life out there for deliberation among the friend group or your family. You’re old enough now, to make your own dating decisions. If you want to be in a real relationship, you need to be clear. Define the relationship. *How to date during Covid? *How to define the relationship? Need help? Ask me.
- Make room in your life for learning how to be in a happy, healthy relationship based on unconditional love. If this is what you want, then you need to invest. What does that look like? How will you get there? You can do this, even if you don’t have a person.
- Rather than changing the one big thing you think you need to change before you get into a serious relationship, try telling the truth about it instead. Example: “I think I need to be financially stable before I start dating because I have a lot of fears around money.”
- Live your life without apology. Make mistakes. Own them. Learn form them. Move on. You don’t owe anyone an explanation or information. Your life is YOURS. Quit saying, “I’m sorry.” Example of owning a mistake: “I made a mistake.” or “I was wrong.”
- Instead of trying to meet the expectations of others, start assessing what YOU want. I know this can be scary. Owning what you want is like….commitment. There. I said it. Try it out. Start with “I want…” Practice saying what you want out loud.
If you want a happy, healthy long-lasting relationship, start with YOU. This is not a list of things you must do before you get married. These things matter to your individual happiness, confidence, and growth. These things will help you step into YOUR OWN LIFE by making decisions.
These are ways to progress not stress. If you feel anxiety about growing yourself up, I understand. If you need help easing into it, I am here.