After graduation, the world is your oyster. The sky’s the limit. You can get the greatest, most glamorous job, live in a chic apartment and meet the partner of your dreams. At least, that’s what everyone tells you.
In the real world, post-graduation life isn’t always so sunny. Getting a job — any job — can be difficult, and entry-level gigs are often filled with drudgery and grunt work. Your apartment is likely to be tiny but ridiculously expensive, and finding “the one” can take some time.
The realization of what life is really like can be frustrating and disillusioning. Then you fall into a cycle of hopelessness and feeling stuck, reinforced by constantly putting yourself down. Without breaking that habit, you can’t move forward.
Here are five of the most common lies we tell ourselves that may be keeping you from achieving your full potential:
1. I’m the only one who’s broke
It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one struggling to make ends meet. On social media, people post photos of exotic vacations, expensive meals and extravagant purchases.
But that’s not the full story; you don’t know how many of those are racking up credit card debt or are outright deceiving their followers. No twenty-something has everything together; it’s okay to struggle. Be secure in the knowledge that you’re not alone.
2. I’m failing at my job
So many new graduates expect to enter a new job, become the office rockstar and end up with a corner office in just a few short years. But professional growth takes time, hard work and dedication. It may take much longer than you expected to get promoted, or you might decide to pursue another career path altogether.
Your twenties are a time to find what drives you and inspires you to go to work every day. If you’re struggling at work or don’t seem to be climbing the ladder fast enough, remember, you’re not failing; you’re growing and building the foundation for a great career.
3. Everyone is married and I’m still single
You may feel like everyone you know is getting married and having babies, while you’re just looking forward to your next Netflix binge. But that’s okay. You can’t rush relationships or marriage; doing so is a recipe for marital disaster. Relax, focus on fulfilling yourself and everything will happen in time.
And keep in mind, while you may feel like you’re getting bombarded with bridal shower invitations, you’re not the only one who hasn’t walked down the aisle. According to a recent study, the average age of people getting married is at an all-time high; for men, the average age is 29 and for women, it’s 27, with many waiting until well into their 30s.
4. I have no idea how to be an adult
You may have no idea how to care for classic hardwood floors or how to make risotto, but that doesn’t mean you’re not an adult. No one ever feels ready to be a “grown-up.” No one hands you a manual on how to do “adult” things. You’re an adult now, no matter how clueless you may feel, and it takes time to adjust to this new mindset, responsibility and independence.
Just focus on the essentials, like how to care for yourself. Take classes or watch YouTube tutorials to learn basic tasks like cleaning certain stains or cooking easy meals so you can save money and eat nutritiously. And when you’re stuck or don’t know what to do, ask for help.
5. I’m a failure
Your twenties are likely going to have some mishaps and setbacks. You’re going to make mistakes. That doesn’t make you a failure; that makes you normal. This time is for learning and adapting. Don’t let failure define you; use this experience to shape the life you want later on.