Millennials are currently between the ages of 24 and 39 years old and are primarily the children of Baby Boomers, who ushered in an era of divorce. Many of these mothers taught their daughters to “never depend on a man” and to instead make the pursuit of success their primary life purpose.
Proving Your Self-Worth Through Work Doesn’t Work
I coach the women who were steered away from love and family toward a life that’s consumed by work. For most of them, their drive to achieve is not innate. On the contrary, it was drilled into them that if they don’t make their mark on the world, if they don’t produce in some fantastical way, their lives will be subpar.
As a result, Millennial women racked up debt up by staying in school too long or by attending universities they couldn't afford — all in an effort to prove their self-worth. “That's okay!” their parents (and the culture) told them. “Soon you'll be making the big bucks, and you can pay it off.”
In working themselves to the bone to prove their value via the marketplace, love and family escape them.
But that's not what happened. Instead, these women are overworked, overtired, and just plain done. They're either single or divorced, or they're married and miserable because they have to work around the clock in jobs they hate to pay off the debt they were encouraged to accrue.
At the heart of their unhappiness isn't debt but disconnection. In working themselves to the bone to try and prove their value via the marketplace, love and family escape them.
Too Scared To Be Vulnerable
Take Anna, 28, who’s a product of divorce and who has multiple advanced degrees. Anna has traveled extensively for her career and has moved in and out of several relationships — including living with two different men. Today her career has stalled due to COVID, which has forced her to re-evaluate her life.
“If I don’t keep my guard up, I will be fooled, or worse.”
“I am so angry about so much. Then I’m afraid that letting go of that anger will make me vulnerable. If I don’t keep my guard up, I will be fooled, or worse. I fear that I may be too damaged for a healthy relationship. Affection is alien to me, but it’s like a drug. The minute I get even a little of it, I crave more — even when it comes from hurtful or unavailable men.”
Unlike every generation that came before them, Millennial women threw themselves into the professional sphere with a vengeance. As a result, they have no clue how to build a relationship that lasts. Many women even have sex like robots — going through the motions as if sex is equivalent to taking a shower.
“We are stone cold women. We were taught that caring begets pain. I guess that’s why I’m so neurotic,” said Anna.
“We were taught that caring begets pain.”
“My generation is so wrecked,” she added. “Everyone has one foot out the door. We have serious abandonment issues and feel a lot of shame.”
She’s right. Her generation is incapable of being vulnerable. Despite wanting to, they just can’t allow themselves to be “seen,” or to be transparent about who they are and what they feel. So they put up a forcefield.
Women Crave Connection but Don’t Know How To Get It
The added pressure they feel to be “busy, busy, busy” merely adds fuel to the fire. Excessive busyness is an illusion that makes people feel important, but it doesn't actually mean anything — it’s all for show. And social media offers the perfect platform for the facade.
Meanwhile, deep down, women are clamoring for a roadmap they don’t have. They want love. They want simplicity. They crave connection. But they have no idea how to get it.
Excessive busyness is an illusion that makes people feel important.
Right now the political climate in America is shattered, but even it can’t hold a candle to the catastrophe of an entire generation of women and men being incapable of lasting love.
Still, COVID-19 does offer one advantage: An opportunity for the modern generation to reevaluate everything they’ve learned since the day they were born.
No amount of money or success can make up for a lonely or unsatisfying love life. In the end, love and family are what sustain us. If a worldwide pandemic hasn’t proved this in spades, nothing will.