Learning how to self-soothe in adulthood/Becoming Emotionally Resilient – Part 2

Becoming an adult is hard work and there are no instruction manuals on how to go about it. How do you grow from a naive child reliant on other people to shape your beliefs to a fully independent thinker with their own morals, opinions and goals?

During the prepubescent and teenage years, households are rife with rebellion and protests for more independence. Many young people get more and more tired of their parents and families and instead prefer their own company or that of their peers. Teenage hood is a complicated balance of gaining more and more responsibility over one’s life and the youthful ignorance of little experience.

Suddenly you’re an adult. Now you have decisions to make and things to sort out. You can go to loved ones for help and advice, but ultimately it is yourself that has full responsibility for how things turn out. You may be an adult, but you’re not quite an adult. You don’t know about mortgages, universal credit and you haven’t a clue how to arrange your own travel arrangements to job interviews.

But the problem is the “true” adults; the ones you’ve listened to your whole life are also faking being adults. You realise the shocking and obvious truth that your parents, relatives, teachers etc are just as clueless as you are. They have useful wisdom and the best of intentions and their opinions and thoughts come with biases and personal experiences. Their lives are shaped by what they’ve been through the same way that you are shaped by what you’ve seen and experienced.

When you start making choices that are your own, how do you balance your need for guidance versus your intuition?

Even more so, how do you get yourself through tough times when you no longer have the tight security blanket of your parents or carers to instruct you? How do you learn to put your heart back in your chest when you’ve been leaving it on your sleeves for years? And how do you know when to disregard opinions and when to take them on board?

As babies our parents had to go through a process in which they allowed us to settle ourselves. We had to learn in the cradle that when we cry (excluding health/food/nappy reasons) we can’t always depend on our parents to comfort us until we settle. Eventually, we have to learn how to settle ourselves. To evaluate, calm down and get on with it.

Becoming an adult is not dissimilar to this. It doesn’t happen overnight and whilst leaving a newborn screeching for his or her parents is tough; it is also necessary. The parents will be there for the child if it’s hurt, unwell or scared but they have to learn to let their child deal with things with things themselves.

As a newly turned adult this is the same. When something minor happens one has to learn to find solace in oneself. If I’m in need for advice then I know I can ask for it but I need to learn to pull myself together and deal with things instead of be angry when those around me tell me they’d have done things another way than what I believe to be correct. It can be lonely however that first realisation of self responsibility.

We all want to be understood and seen by another person in this crazy world, but maybe we don’t have to be completely understood by one person but share smaller parts of who we are with different people. Instead of needing one person or a few people to be our guide, example and council for everything, we need different people for different jobs. Maybe it’s not unlike the Ford car factories we learned about in school; one person does not build the whole car as it’s not economically viable but different people specialise in different areas for improved efficiency. Having just a parent or carer to be your centre leads to dependance and if you are solely dependent on someone else for everything you’ll never be able to grow.

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