Ever wondered why people say that your 30s are better than your 20s? A lot of it has to do with how we’ve matured over the decade of our 20’s that make life sweeter, experiences more meaningful and connections even better. Here’s 10 things you should stop doing in your 30s if you want to find quality relationships.
The last words she spoke to me were, “have a good life, Michele.”
…that was after a complete emotional rollercoaster that resulted from my trying to make amends with a family member. Needless to say, there was no resolve, and it’s been nearly a year since we’ve spoken (I am having a good life, though).
Somewhere in the yelling via text (you know…the kind where you can feel the animosity coming in loudly through the phone), I responded by saying, “this is the difference between your 20s and your 30s. It’s time to grow up.”
And isn’t this true? There’s stuff we did in our 20s that’s just downright embarrassing to reminisce about (or maybe that’s just me? Thank you, trauma). But when we’ve graduated to the next decade of our 30’s, our emotional intelligence is expected to have matured, and with it, we can look back on our 20s and laugh about all the stupid shit we did.
It’s called growth.
So what are the things you should stop doing in your 30s if you want to cultivate quality relationships? Here’s 10 things to leave to the 20s in the name of emotional maturity. Let’s dive in.
1. Stop being mean
Listen, I realize that some people never go through this stage of hating the world or the people in it. If that’s you, I would consider you one of the lucky ones. Because having to look back with regret for how you treated people isn’t just embarrassing; it’s heartbreaking. There just isn’t a reason good enough to resort to being unkind to another person. There became a point in my life (somewhere in my late 20s) when I decided I didn’t want to have any part of the pain we see in the world, and there was no greater feeling. (Read more here about the power of kindness & compassion)
2. Stop trying to control situations and others
Over time, (most people) eventually realize the only thing worth worrying about is themselves. There’s plenty to worry about that’s within your control, and it’s a waste of energy to focus your attention on anywhere else. If you can’t change it, don’t worry about it. You’ve gotta stop giving energy to things beyond your control. Get mad, upset, or frustrated, but move on without letting things ruin your day(s). Yes, I realize this is harder said than done. I’m just saying that when you master it, it’s liberating.
3. Stop running from your feelings and emotions (especially those that are uncomfortable)
Common. You’re in your 30’s, and talking about feelings shouldn’t still be taboo. Everyone’s got them, and the people who aren’t talking about them usually project them on others. So get with the program and start owning up to what’s going on for you emotionally. Stop pretending everything is fine if it isn’t, and open up to vulnerability and accountability. It’s actually the only way to arrive at true happiness.
4. Stop giving a shit about what other people think
I love being in the presence of women who don’t care what other people think because it’s a part of me that I’m still working on (and might always be). Because I do care what people think and want people to like me, but I have learned that no matter how much I try to make people like me, I will just not be for everyone. It’s no different than ice cream. I think ice cream is the best dessert of all time, and some people are like, “Nah, it’s not my thing.” Same thing with you…some people just aren’t going to be into you, and that’s okay.
5. Stop hanging out with people who aren’t good for you
I don’t know why we do this, but most of us do. By your 30s, you should have “cut the fat” in your friendship circle and gotten rid of those who aren’t good for you. Why would we continue a friendship if we don’t want to be around people who make me feel like shit? If you’ve got people who are adding drama and stress to your life, it’s time you stop putting yourself through the agony. Get your shit together and get rid of the negativity while you can cause you’re just wasting your precious time…and by your 30s, you’re starting to realize just how scarce time is. (Read more here about creating healthy boundaries)
6. Stop ignoring your own needs
This kinda goes along with running from your feelings because if you never sit with your feelings, you never really have the capacity to understand the needs behind your feelings. Your 30s should be the decade of exploring what you want out of life and what you need as an individual. Let’s put an end to people pleasing and focus on what brings YOU happiness.
7. Stop acting impulsively
I mean technically, this should slowly dissipate as you exit high school, but I’ve seen way too many grown adults not know how to manage their impulsivity so it’s worth putting it in here. By acting impulsively, I’m referring to how we react without processing first-not thinking through the consequences of our words and actions. Instead, we should be making efforts to control our reactions to things we might not like or things that don’t go our way.
Women have a bad reputation for this because we are supposed to be “more emotional” than men, but attend any sporting event, and you’ll see men just as bad (if not worse) at controlling their impulses. For that reason, I’m not labeling it as a gender-thing, but an age thing, so let your 30s be the decade of heed.
8. Stop acting the same way others act
Cliche and all, two wrongs don’t make a right. The Bible was written way too long ago for us still to heed the advice of “an eye for an eye.” If someone acts like a dumbass and does something manipulative or hurtful, it is not a green light for you to do the same in return. Just because someone else has low standards for themselves does not excuse you from the set of standards you live your life by…no matter how frustrating it is. Don’t give into the tit-for-tat, retaliation, or revenge paradigm because it creates more pain and suffering. Instead, live your life with your grace intact, knowing your standards are unwavering and not dependent on a particular set of circumstances. Who you are and how you are remembered is more about how you respond to difficult situations than the easy ones.
9. Stop with expectations, fit-throwing & martyrdom
Seriously. This doesn’t always go away with age. Many grown-ups beyond their 30s still act like children by throwing fits when they don’t get their way. It’s ridiculous (and embarrassing).
Here’s an example: If my husband doesn’t take out the trash, instead of asking him again…and again, I get all huffy-puffy, take my frustration out with the cleaning supplies saying “no, Dave. Nothing’s wrong.” Let’s stop doing this and start communicating our needs instead (like 30-year-olds should).
Often this begins with unspoken expectations that you have hidden in the depths of your mind for no one else to know. But they are so deeply ingrained that when not met, they cause you to pounce like a ferocious lion on anyone who doesn’t meet them.
Why do we do this? It’s insanity, and not just for the person with the expectations but also for the person who is trying to read your mind. Communicate what you need from people, and leave the mind reading to the psychics. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “clear is kind” (even if it feels uncomfortable).
10. Stop fearing failure
By your thirties, you should have a healthy relationship with failure. Because you should have already failed many times by now. To fear failure means you aren’t in the arena getting your ass kicked by life. You aren’t trying new things, or experiencing life and you definitely aren’t living. Instead, you’re on the sidelines watching people live theirs and probably playing it safe to prevent yourself from ridicule, harm, or hurt feelings. Your thirties are the decade that fear of failure needs to go to die. Get out there, try something you’re gonna be bad at, and work to get better.