How do you find your next step in your journey?Jul 07, 2023
I am mom of two teenagers about to choose what to do in their lives and I coach young adults as a Wake Me Up volunteer. At this age they frequently get the question; "What do you want to do when you grow up?", and their answer is; "I don´t know"
To me it is quite obvious that it is difficult for them to know, how could they know when they are in their teens and have so much to explore and learn about the world. I know for sure that I didn´t know. I had a vague idea, but circumstances played a major role in my choice. Likely it is like that for many others as well.
They are still expected to choose an education, and because they don´t know what to choose, many are influenced by their parents, their family and their friends. It is likely that they also are influenced by how society view and value different professions, and of course based on their capabilities.
The First Adulthood
At some point in time they choose, and enter into their first adulthood as described by Dr. James Hollis in his book; "The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife". The first adulthood, he describes, is the one were young people imitate what others their age and size are doing. This means that more or less conscious or unconscious the transformation from child to adult happens.
Usually they will get an education, start to work, get a family, kids and then somewhere along the line many will be divorced. Sounds familiar? It´s basically the story of my life, and many others too. I wish for a shorter first adulthood, that young people dare to take a pause and break from the system. Perhaps the second adulthood would come sooner, maybe even from start.
The Second Adulthood
Around midlife, when the midlife-crisis occurs, the second adulthood starts, according to Hollis. At this point some people choose to stay in their first adulthood even if they are in misery, while some people start to grow up and choose the path of individuation, self-development and growth.
This is where you start to free yourself from the systemic influence of your family, friends and the society that has shaped your social, cultural, economic and political context.
The Path of Individuation
Individuation is a concept developed by psychiatrist Carl Jung, and refers to the process of becoming a distinct individualized person, separate from collective influences and societal expectations. Individuation involves the integration and development of your own unique personality, potential and self-awareness.
This is a process of radical self-responsibility, where individuals move from seeking validation outside themselves to seeking validation and insight from inside themselves. The goal is to find a balance between individuality and connectedness. It is about commitment to your own unique path and purpose, and at the same time contribute to the greater collective and finding your place in the world.
With individuation comes increased self-acceptance, self-confidence, authenticity, and a deeper understanding of yourself and others. It is a process that goes beyond ego development and aims at a profound transformation and holistic realization of yourself.
How do you find your next step in your journey?
The process of individuation involves separating yourself from collective influences and societal expectations, it also includes confronting and resolving inner conflicts, exploring and accepting those parts of yourself that you might have suppressed.
I want to emphasize that we are all suppressing things all the time, this is not about being sick or unable to cope with yourself, these are natural human responses when we experience stress, which most people in any profession experience today.
When you are heavily influenced by the collective and societal expectations as well as suppressing parts of yourself it is easy to loose contact with what it is that YOU want. The answer to the question: "What is my best next step?", is always available to you. All you have to do is to declutter your system.
A Pratical Tip
A practical tip is to ask yourself what it is that you want and once you have made the decision you check-in with your heart and your gut-feeling, if both agree you know what your next step in the journey is.
This is simple, all you have to do is to remember to check-in with yourself.
Need tools or support?
Simple does not necessarily mean easy. You might find it challenging and even resisting to do this check-in with yourself, and even if you experience lack of alignment between head, heart and gut you are unable to connect on your own. If this applies to you, know that you can get support to develop this strength. If you want me to support you with that, I invite you to reach out.
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