Life lessons you learn in your 20s, according to a therapist

Your 20s are known as a period of self-discovery, ​​when we learn many life lessons (like what kind of job you want, where you want to live, and who you are with). it is not wants to get married). For many people, an important part of that self-discovery is healing, especially during a decade of many life changes. So who better to ask what our 20s is all about a therapist himself? Kristen Gingrich LCSW, CADC, CCSlicensed therapist known for his “no BS” approach to therapy and mental health, loved by the Instagram and TikTok community for being the go-to voice for Gen-Z and Millennials. As a 20-something myself, I have to credit him with the best lessons he learned in his 20s. Here is what he said:

Kristen Gingrich LCSW, CADC, CCS

A licensed therapist

Kristen is an innovative therapist and mental health content creator who makes popular TikToks under the handle @NotYourAverageThpst.

1. “People may not be what you expect them to be (well and bad)”

In your 20s, you may realize that what you thought you knew about the world and your idols may be wrong. You can learn things that were taken care of when you were a child, you can grow up with friends or family members, who you think will always have your back. And this is also true for the other: You will learn that “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a lesson you were taught as a child, but you really start to learn it in your 20s. For example, people you thought you wouldn’t get along with might be your best friends or a job you thought wasn’t for you might be exactly what you want. Let people (and situations) show you who they are and don’t judge anything or anyone before giving them a chance.

2. “Healing takes time—sometimes even longer than it takes to cause injury.”

You may be impatient to be healed or continue to be in pain in your life, but you will still have time for it to come back. “We’re very focused on getting better now but we want the pain to go away now but it takes a lot of learning,” Gingrich said. “Most of us have a lot of learned habits that we use to protect ourselves after we’ve been hurt, so it takes time to change those habits.” Healing is not linear. , but you have to work hard on your treatment. Instead of hoping then just get over it or try to forget it, think of therapy as an active practice. Go to therapy, find out how to take care of yourself, seek help from your loved ones, and forgive whoever you need (including yourself).

3. “You can find your family and other relationships”

Of course family is important, but the good thing about growing up, moving out of your house, and meeting lots of new people is that you can find your family in people other than your family. Gingrich reminds his clients that your 20s are the perfect time to examine your family relationships. Are there boundaries you want to set to protect your own interests or maybe a relationship you want to put a little energy into? We often feel a sense of responsibility towards our family members, but in reality, our #1 priority should be to live the happiest, most meaningful life possible and not follow family obligations. Bottom Line: Family is defined by people who truly love you and make you happy.

4. “Comparison is truly the thief of joy”

Gingrich has spent much of his life comparing himself to everyone else, asking, “Why am I not as beautiful, skinny, or beautiful as this other person?” as most of us do. But while middle school and high school taught you to fit in, your 20s can teach you to be okay with who you are. “I’m awesome, I love myself, and I have bad days,” Gingrich said. “But now I have my own style and no one else is like me, so comparing myself to someone else is a waste of time.” Of course, avoiding comparisons to others, whether in appearance, personality, work, or even financial status, takes a lot of practice and thinking, but the good news (as Gingrich assured me) is that it gets easier as you get older. .

5. “You will always have nothing”

At the age of 18, we are told to figure out what we want to do for all our lives. How can anyone be expected to make that decision at such a young age—or indeed at any point in their lives when we should always be growing? Gingrich said, “I thought I’d be together when I was in my twenties, but now I don’t know what ‘having my shit together’ means. Especially in the age of social media, we think that everyone is connected because of all the content that is published that makes us think that they are healthy, eating well, living n ‘beautiful houses, or happier. Of course, everyone else is just as hot as you are (promise!).

6. “It’s okay to ask for help”

Gingrich remembers always being uncomfortable being “burdened” by asking for help. Therapy helped him understand the people in his life wanted to be with him. Just as we want to be there to support our loved ones, they want to be there for us. However, the point is not to have a significant other, best friend, or even your mother be your entire support system. Build a support system of many people you trust, and find out who can help in different ways. For example, your significant other can be there for you when you need to laugh and worry, your mother can be good with career advice when you feel lost, and your therapist is the person you go to. any concern. which is coming. It’s okay to ask for help, but ask for help and seek support from more than one person.

7. “No one judges you whenever you think they do.”

Get ready for the financial check: Do you feel insecure about the zit on your chin and don’t want to go public? No one going to see, think about it, or think about the zit as you think they will. If you’re worried about a conversation you had or thinking about a drunken night, no one cares about your behavior too much—in the best way. Your loved ones care about you emotionally, but they don’t care about the zit on your chin or what you said during a drunken night out. If you’re worried about being judged, remember that everyone else is busy worrying about what other people think of them and that will rub off on you.

8. “You can become a completely different person in your 20s (that’s a good thing!)”

If you continue to grow your whole life (as we all plan to), you will look very different from year to year and decade to decade. But you may experience major changes in your 20s when you leave home, start a family, graduate from college, enter a more serious relationship, or advance in your career. Maybe you look back at vintage Facebook posts from when you were younger and feel ashamed of what you posted or can’t believe you used to do or look like you do when you are young. Your older self probably won’t believe where you are (or who you are) today. Gingrich believes that your 20s are when you learn a lot about yourself, so you grow into the person you want to be. “Get rid of what everyone thinks of you and just be you!”

9. “It’s time to lie—30 isn’t too early.”

Gingrich joked that when he sleeps a little and the runners don’t shoot as fast as they did at 21, you don’t end up feeling as “grown up” when you hit 30 as you thought you would. you are a teenager. Your 30s aren’t when you magically hit the picket-white-wallet life or feel established in your career. You are still learning, growing and having fun at 30. You learn a lot in your 20s, but it doesn’t stop on your 30th birthday. People are always changing, growing and learning life lessons in every decade.

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