College students everywhere express this frustrating declaration.
Freshman, who have spent a lot of their time depending on their parents to solve their problems go through a major adjustment. Their parents are constantly calling them on their cell phones to make sure that they have made the right decisions, not wanting to let go.
I tell the students I work with that entering college is a perfect time to feel the power of Self-Acceptance – the belief that they have the ability to be responsible and trust their own decisions. They strongly agree with me about the importance of accepting themselves, but they often respond with, “Oh, that would be great… but am I good enough?” I smile and say, “Think of this, learning to trust yourself will allow you to feel the joy of knowing that You Can Be in Charge of Your life. Having the courage to accept and believe in yourself gives you a real opportunity for newfound self-confidence and freedom. You won’t need to constantly please your parents, or look for their approval.”
I can’t say that every student is a pleaser, or needs the approval of others, but the percentage is great. As a coach, lecturer, and trainer for many college students throughout the United States I find that so many of them live with the everyday demand of never feeling good enough. This constant anxiety moves them toward living with extreme worry, gross analyzation, self-doubt, and a lack of self-esteem. It’s exhausting!
As I work with students I try to help them understand that no matter how they were raised or whatever extreme standards and expectations they grew up with, they have the ability to learn how to please and approve of themselves.
Anything extreme instantly provokes personal insecurity. Extreme never makes anyone feel good enough. What happens to people who do not feel good enough? They begin to overdo and nothing is ever simple again. The mind stories (spinning fantasy scenarios) send signals to their brains, unconsciously turning every situation into a drama… I have to do this, I have to do that, I better check on this, I better check on that. Anything extreme creates anxiety, worry and drama. They cannot stop. Therefore, they will continue to miss the rare and wonderful moments of relaxation.
College can be a positive force if we can see the experience as a mission to be ourselves, to be true to who we are and believe in our thoughts and feelings. It can be a time when we can overcome self-criticism, self-doubt, obsessive worry, emotional clutter, mind stories, and unnecessary drama. It can give us the opportunity to recognize and utilize our natural talent and ability.
Mind stories are the #1 problem students create for themselves. I teach them an exercise called The Catch Yourself Game. They must try to remember that they are not in another person’s head! All of the chaos they create in their minds are mostly illusion. It’s a waste of their valuable energy. No one can make a wise decision when they dissect everything to death. I often ask my students, “Do you begin to spin and create conversations and questions in your head which fog your brain.” They answer in unison, “All the time.”
Many students graduate from college without knowing where they are going, or what they want to do. Experience has taught me the main reasons for their confusion:
l. A lack of self-acceptance. 2. Overly self-critical 3. Not being able to eliminate illusionary mind stories and the counterproductive pleaser that takes up so much of their time. 5. Becoming a positive adult to nurture their angry child. 5. Making decisions with self-confidence. 6. Having the ability to pick themselves Up, dust themselves off, and start all over again!