lessons 20s_30s

4 practical lessons I learned in my twenties

lessons 20s_30s

As I entered my thirties, I reflected on the practical wisdom and lessons learned from my twenties. Over the past decade, I navigated career changes, entrepreneurship, prioritized self-care, shared my art, and cultivated community. Here are four key takeaways:

1. Prioritizing therapy

I intentionally made this the number one on this list and the most extensive part of this article, since going to therapy was the source of many positive changes in my life.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) became the cornerstone of my personal growth, focusing on identifying and altering thought and behavior patterns. Through weekly sessions, I unpacked my thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, uncovering deep-seated negative beliefs like “I am not allowed to make mistakes” or “I am not seen.”

My therapist and I tried to figure out where these negative thoughts came from by asking the question ‘why’ a lot. This helped to not just go through the motion of life, but to pause take a step back and see what I am doing and why. Once we identified all the negative thoughts, we started writing down positive affirmations. It was as simple as changing ‘I am not allowed to make mistakes’ to ‘I am allowed to make mistakes’. And repeating this every day, especially when events would occur that triggered the negative thought. I learned to manage my emotions and break detrimental behavioral patterns, such as avoiding conflict.

I recognize that the ability to go to therapy is a privilege, if it is not an option for you, I would suggest talking to someone you feel comfortable with. Just sharing your thoughts and feelings can feel liberating. Journaling is also something that can help to structure your thoughts. It allows you to look back on your week and see if there are (unhealthy) thought and behavioral patterns you can spot.

2. Finding my community

Building a supportive community became an act of self-love for me. Surrounding myself with people who uplift, inspire, and understand me has been invaluable. I prioritize nurturing relationships that foster growth and mutual support, mindful of the profound impact our connections have on our well-being. My community provides a sense of belonging and freedom, easing the burden of negative thoughts and providing support in times of need.

3. Embracing creativity

Overthinking can stop us from trying new things. I discovered that taking the leap into creativity, even without a roadmap, can lead to remarkable growth. For years, I had a passion for poetry but hesitated to share it. Joining writing classes allowed me to connect with like-minded individuals in a safe, supportive environment. Through shared vulnerability and encouragement, I gradually overcame my fear of judgment. I now share my poetry online and have stood on a stage a few times, it feels very vulnerable but each time it becomes easier and the cringe just wears off.

4. Realizing there is no rush

“The urgency you feel is fake”—this mantra has guided me in embracing patience and trusting my own timeline. You don’t need to compare yourself to others. Remember, you’ll get there when you get there. Be kind to yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself.

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4 practical lessons I learned in my twenties