There’s no exact moment in life that we become an adult. Sure, when you turn 18, you’re legally considered an adult and allowed to do things you couldn’t as a child or teenager. But, emotionally, it’s up to us to transition from child to adult.
Unfortunately, there aren’t classes offered in high school or college that teach us how to do this. Nobody tells you that as an adult, you’re able to control what you think and feel at any given moment, despite what other people in your life may do.
As children, we aren’t mentally capable of doing this. Not only do we lack the ability to fully control our emotions, but we don’t even recognize the fact that we’re responsible for them. So, as we age, we continue to think other people (or circumstances) are responsible for how we feel. We give up so much of our own power by believing this.
We’re even taught this by the adults in our lives. If another child gets their feelings hurt, we’re told to apologize for “hurting their feelings.” This perpetuates the idea that we’re responsible for how someone else feels, however, and it’s the most disempowering thing we’re taught as children.
When someone doesn’t start to understand their own responsibility for their feelings as they grow older, they keep themselves in a space of emotional childhood. Being stuck in emotional childhood means we blame everything on everyone else. It’s the fault of the government… or the economy… or our spouse… or our parents. Ultimately, the way we feel is the fault of anyone but ourselves.
As adults, when we believe someone else is responsible for how we feel, it causes us to use a manual for the relationship. This means we establish how we want other people to behave so that we feel a certain way. When we use a manual for our relationships, it’s the emotional equivalent of us stomping our feet and demanding that the other person does exactly what we want so we can feel the way we want.
On the other hand, when we make a decision to take responsibility for how we feel, despite what someone else may or may not do, we’ve reached emotional adulthood. This is a huge breakthrough in learning how to adult. When this happens, we’re able to control the actions we take and the results we get.
You can think of the difference between emotional childhood and emotional adulthood like this: If someone is having a bad day and they choose to yell at you, you can either tell yourself they’re simply having a bad day and cut them some slack (emotional adulthood) or you can choose to take it personally, telling yourself they’re mean and putting the blame on them for making you upset (emotional childhood).
If you choose the second option, blaming them for how you feel, it’s important you know you’re the one that caused your feeling. This puts the power in your hands. It allows you to identify that nobody else can make you feel a certain way—only you get to decide how you feel. When this happens, you’re able to allow other people to be exactly who they are.
Skills You Need in Order to Adult
In addition to establishing your emotional maturity, it’s critical that you learn how to live life on your own on a day-to-day basis. Your physical and mental health should take top priority, and it’s important that you learn how to be healthy. Your health is your responsibility and no one else’s.
As an adult, you must pay attention to your mind. This is known as self coaching, and it’s a vital part of adulthood. Be sure to check in with yourself instead of living life on autopilot. Give yourself the time you need to stay healthy, both mentally and physically, and take responsibility when you’re failing to do so.
How to Manage Money as an Adult
Another key skill to master as an adult is money management. There’s a distinction between having money and your relationship with money. Your feeling about having money will determine how much money you have, and the more comfortable you are with having money and not spending it, the more money you’ll have.
Learning your money philosophy and what you need to do to cover your bills, set aside savings, reach your financial goals, and still have enough to enjoy your life is crucial to learning how to adult. If you want to establish a different way of thinking about money or create more money in your life, check out some of the amazing money courses in Self Coaching Scholars.
Dealing With Parents and Friends
As we become adults, we must re-establish a new relationship with our parents. When we keep acting the way we did with them as children, putting the blame on them for how we are, we are only disempowering ourselves. So many of us have resentment toward our parents, whether based on how they behaved when we were growing up or how they behave now. But once you can understand that all relationships are about letting people be whoever they want to be and simply controlling your own thoughts about them, you’re able to appreciate the other person for who they are.
This is also true when it comes to friends, especially those we’ve had since childhood. As adults, we have a far greater capacity to control our thoughts (and therefore our feelings, actions, and results). It’s important to let go of any expectations you have about how they should be. Allow yourself to feel however you want to feel despite how your friends may behave. This is the key to successful relationships and true happiness in your own life.
If you want to learn more about how to adult and achieve emotional adulthood, sign up for Self Coaching Scholars today.