Go easy on yourself. There isn’t a manual for how to do life. You didn’t wake up on your eighteenth birthday to a genie sitting at your bedside with a glowing manual. “Hello, welcome to adulthood. This is a timeline of everything that’s going to happen. These are all the people who are going to piss you off and hurt, and here’s the step by step instructions on how to handle all of it.”

You can’t know what you don’t know, and adulthood is about unlearning all of the unproductive and harmful habits you’ve picked up along the way. The false identities of the roles you play, the faux rules and obligations, the negative beliefs, the trying to control the uncontrollable with the likes of people-pleasing, perfectionism and overgiving.

All adults have learned ways of being that are synonymous with not feeling, with not being ourselves.

We’ve internalised other people’s beliefs, criticisms, judgements, wants and needs and called them our own.

So if it’s just hitting you that you don’t know yourself or that you’ve never really learned to say no, or that something you’ve been doing all your life isn’t working, that’s OK. You’re only human.

You can’t spend all or most of your life honing a pattern and then expect to undo it in a minute. But as you endeavour to be more you, to be more conscious, aware and present so that you notice how and when the past shows up and you respond differently, you break the pattern.

None of what went before is a ‘waste’. You’ve lived, and you’re still living. Now, as you become conscious of your patterns, you live better than before.

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