(NaturalNews) The most intimidating thing about going down a road less traveled is not the risk of making a change.
To people interested in becoming who they are truly meant to be, the scary thing is that you might miss it. You could just cruise right by a critical crossroad and not even notice the opportunity.
Living life on autopilot is a risky endeavor because you know it leads to an inevitable day of regret. That day when it dawns on you that it's too late to turn back and become who you were meant to be. Of course, you'll know that you have no one to blame but yourself.
It's a sobering thought.
Therefore, the number one tool to use at critical junctions on your journey is self-awareness. Radical, uninhibited self-awareness. You've got to recognize the signs that life is calling you to make a change to who you are.
The most important crossroad of all
There are many roads to navigate. College and career, marriage, parenthood and a host of other choices present themselves as part of the norm. Yet, there is one critical crossroad that so many of us miss along the way.
So let's just cut to the chase and discuss the one crossroad that rules them all.
It's the transition from psychological childhood into adulthood. This is the road less traveled, because so few people consciously and deliberately choose it. The benefits are enormous. Yet, there is absolutely no guarantee that this transformation will ever occur without conscious intervention. You could be 55 years old and still act like a two-year-old. I'm sure you've seen it.
Imagine: You are at the chronological age of an adult and have adult responsibilities. People depend on you for support emotionally, financially, spiritually and physically.
But, on the inside, you haven't become a mature person. You're someone with adult obligations and the emotional habits of a child. Guess what? You're going to be cranky! You will feel overwhelmed and perhaps resentful. You may even throw temper tantrums. You won't be able to get yourself to act the way you should act. And life won't seem fair.
The solution involves something simpler than dealing with each and every challenge you face. The deeper solution is to face life as an adult. You'll be more successful that way, regardless of any specific challenge you face.
How do you know when life is calling you to make a conscious journey into psychological maturity?
If you consistently experience the following seven issues in your life, then you can safely assume that life is asking you to move on from a child's perspective into the adult world.
When you do, the challenges don't magically disappear. In fact, it may mean that more is required of you. However, as an adult, you'll be able to handle problems in ways that never occur to children.
So, what are the signs that life is calling you to greater maturity?
1. You think life is unfair
Sometimes life is very fair. Your hard work pays off. Others keep their word. You are appreciated and the surprises in life are pleasant ones.
Or... not. Sometimes people lie. They take credit for your accomplishments. They betray your confidence, resist your authority or set you up for failure and then criticize you. Yes, things can break bad at times.
That's life. As an adult, you accept this as part of the deal. You could waste a ton of energy complaining about it all. But why? It's better to figure out how you are going to make the most of the reality you are in.
If you tend toward childishness, though, you'll get hooked into thinking that bad things shouldn't happen to you. Once hooked, you'll be prone to make things much worse than they are.
Do this: Make a list of the bad things that have happened to you, as well as the unfair expectations you're under. Then, do some research and find out how many other people experience similar challenges. Chances are 100% that you are not alone. What you're going through is probably all too common.
That should settle the question of whether or not life is singling you out. Now, learn how resourceful people deal with your particular challenge.
Warning: If you're not willing to gain new resources for tough challenges, then you may be sabotaging yourself. Learn more about why we sabotage ourselves by watching this free video.
2. You blame on autopilot
Most of us look outside ourselves for a cause when things go wrong. Adults learn to get past this tendency, however, and are open to accepting responsibility. Emotionally immature people just go with their blame instinct and create drama.
Are you going to join in the fray, see others as the cause of your problems and make sure they know it? Go ahead. You can take lessons from third graders at any schoolyard in the world. And the more you play the game this way, the more you'll be convinced of your victimization, even when you win.
Or, you can step back, see the big picture and make a strong decision to do the right thing. Whatever you do, do it as an adult. Do it with forethought. Do it well! But no one can do it for you.
One simple question you can ask yourself during the tough times is: What would this look like from a mountaintop?
Imagine yourself on a mountain peak, looking down on your life -- and the lives of thousands of others. From this distanced view, what can you learn?
3. You refuse to be held accountable
Who appreciates swallowing a huge dose of accountability?
Adults appreciate it. As an adult, you may not enjoy it, but you can appreciate it. How can you be your best without accountability? If you tend to hold yourself accountable, you'll welcome others to assist you. You see them as allies when they don't let you off the hook. In fact, your best friends are those who won't settle for excuses.
If you're lazy or feel entitled to do whatever you feel like doing, then you may not appreciate being held accountable. This is because holding yourself accountable is not your own priority.
And this is where the vicious cycle begins. When you resist accountability, others tend to press even harder. Then, it becomes even more difficult for you to appreciate. And so on, until the day when they give up on you.
When you honor your obligations, being held accountable is a pleasure.
4. Your parents aren't 'people' to you
Do you still see your parents as oppressors or ne'er-do-wells?
Seeing your parents in an exclusively negative light only reinforces all the angst in your past. Mature adults see their parents as people. Imperfect people. People who made mistakes, but made important contributions. People who had issues of their own. But people nonetheless.
Seeing your parents as people doesn't mean that you condone their errors. It doesn't even mean that you love or respect them. It merely means that you see them as human beings, just like you.
In fact, you may be more like them than you want to admit. I was 35 when I realized, at last, that I was much more like my father than I wanted to be. That thought alone helped me let go of some resentment.
Do you want to see your parents as people? Whether or not they were good at parenting, it will be good for you as a person if you do.
5. You feel chronically overwhelmed
Feeling overwhelmed is normal if you're on a new project or a steep learning curve. If you feel overwhelmed by typical adult obligations, however, you may be clinging on to a leftover sense of helplessness from childhood.
Most likely, you absolutely possess the ability to get done what you need to get done every single day. When faced with a lot to do, adults sit down, make a list, break things down into manageable chunks and get moving.
If you are resistant to tackling things head on and getting stuff done, then you might ask yourself if chronic helplessness is an issue for you.
Here's something for you if you are constantly dealing with cluttered thoughts about everything you have to do:
1. Write down specifically what overwhelms you in the middle of a page.
2. Then, write down every scattered thought and feeling you have about it -- anywhere on the same page. Do this for a few minutes until you think you've summed it all up. You should have quite a cluttered list.
3. Next, tune into some background sound in your environment. It could be the sound of your computer humming, a fan, the distant traffic or the refrigerator running. Listen to it exclusively for 15-30 seconds, until you feel yourself settle a bit.
4. After you feel yourself settle, again write down the thing that overwhelms you on a fresh piece of paper. Keep listening to the mundane sound while writing down the new thoughts that come.
Notice the difference in your thoughts? Say goodbye to cluttered thoughts! And it only takes a few moments to accomplish this clarity of mind. There is a well-researched reason why this simple process works, having to do with your brain's default mode network. Learn more here.
6. You're a yes-man/woman
Do you have a habit of saying yes to things when you have no business saying yes?
A chronic yes-person soon discovers that you just can't deliver on every request, regardless of what you promise.
So, most people-pleasers end up displeasing someone before long. Often, it is the people closest to you because you've made too many outside commitments. Saying no means that you understand your limitations and value what you have said yes to.
You'll displease some by saying no, but will end up commanding their respect as well.
Here's a "no hack" that could work for you:
Carry a planner and log everything in it. When someone asks you for a favor, you can say no while holding up your planner. Even open it to your packed schedule if you need to. This demonstration will take the pressure off you and give them evidence that the no is legitimate.
7. You don't take care of yourself
This one is the hallmark of personal maturity. When you don't take care of yourself, you send an all-too-obvious message to other people:
It is your responsibility to take care of me.
This is a child's wish. You may not be thinking of it this way, but that is indeed the message others receive. Of course, you could say, "No way am I suggesting that people take care of me! If I don't take care of myself, then that's my problem."
Not so fast. Your level of self-care affects the people in your life, period. To learn how it affects them, ask. Ask key people in your life how it affects them when:
• I don't manage my stress • I don't look after my health. • I don't pick up after myself. • I don't groom myself well.
Chances are, you already know how it affects people. So, make it a goal to send a very different message and take good care of yourself.
The obstacle in front of the road less traveled
It's self-sabotage. On a grand scale, clinging to childhood expectations and roles in an adult world is the essence of self-sabotage.
When in the grasp of self-sabotage, you get stuck in the intersection at the crossroads of your life, dodging traffic. It's no fun.
Self-sabotaging tendencies can distort your perspective such that you don't believe you are capable or worthy of confronting the world as a healthy adult. In fact, in self-sabotage, you may not even want to grow up and be happy.
But there is a choice, even if you've been looking for a new choice in vain for decades. Your most powerful weapon against self-sabotage is your own honest self-awareness. Everything you do to expand it contributes to your maturity as a person.
About the author: Watch the free video The AHA! Process: An End to Self-Sabotage and discover the lost keys to personal transformation and emotional well-being that have been suppressed by mainstream mental health for decades.
The information in this video has been called the missing link in mental health and personal development. In a world full of shallow, quick-fix techniques, second rate psychology and pharmaceutical takeovers, real solutions have become nearly impossible to find. Click here to watch the presentation that will turn your world upside down.