Failure to launch is a new terminology of the generation of adults who are "adult-ing" way later than they "should". Or, in some cases, never actually 'adult'.
Many chalk it up to the fact that there are so many distractions and that adults in today's society have so many "quick fixes" and aren't used to putting in hard work and going for the long haul.
However, there is research on what is going on internally that so many individuals who, on a deeper core level, may want to and need to individuate and adult, yet are stagnating and feel immobile in that process.
We'd be wise to look at the development and the stages of identity formation in each of these individuals. Since we are not analyzing all individuals: it's safe to say that research has proven enough to give validity to some important points.
Failure to launch has started way before your child or you become an adult. It began at the wee ages of development, possibly starting when the baby was a baby, toddler or developing teen. What we now know is that when a child isnt properly nourished emotionally, they feel handicapped in their capacities to move onward and upward; embracing life and what is has to offer. The future is scary. Unknown is daunting. And the only way one can stand tall and trust they will weather the storms of the future is when their inner core, the soil of life's experiences and relationships, has been nourished again and again and again.
However, for those who have experienced some rocky roads who are left searching for a sense of direction, meaning, and hunger for connection and value may be left wondering "Will I ever make it?". In these situations, one of two things happen.
Either, we have the "failure to launch individuals" where we see little or no movement in any areas of their lives. Individuals who, for a range of reasons, feel so stuck that they cannot move. They cannot budge. Yes, they desperately want to because who doesn't want to "move on"? Yet, their thoughts, creativity, imagination and roadmap to possibilities are dry, empty and may even feel nonexistent. Without a mind that flows creative juices, without the confidence or belief that "I can do this", tomorrow feels stuck in today.
On the other side, we see individuals who are "externally" launching but internally "failing to launch" as well. "What do I mean?" you may ask. I mean that some individuals have had access to inner or outer resources, and were somehow able to develop a relationship(s), get a decent job and possibly even start building a family. Have they acquired a solid sense of self ? Capacity to develop healthy attachments? Knowledge to build authentic intimacy in relationships? I don't know. Those who do have definitely made use of available resources, and/or sough out help. They have worked long and hard to get to the growth they have achieved. At the same time, there are others who are doing the best they can, yet find themselves stumbling as they go along. Some are ok, yet others struggle.
So, failure to launch isn't just for those who seem to be the annoying adult who won't seem to "just move it" or just take the job, start college or finally get serious about their love life.
It may be the "together" looking guy working on Wall Street who has no emotional reactivity or engagement with his wife and children. It may be that professor at a prestigious university. It can be the smiling woman on the train or the college student who seems to be "fine" juggling his/her myriad of responsibilities. Those externals say nothing about where we are at internally. Launching appropriately is a feeling when you are content with exactly where you are at. You can navigate the ups and downs that life brings, and still feel ok and whole inside. You are connected to your self. To others. To the world.
There's good news! You can hep yourself launch right now. This very minute. Even if, reading this you notice that you may objectively be "delayed" in your launch due to some bumps, experiences, lack of support or nature you have been born with.
People launch every moment. So can you. It doesn't matter where you start from or when you start. What matters most is IF you start. And how you get moving. You can do this. Many people have. I have in my ways and so can you!
I will be sharing some tips on how you can provide small doses of nourishment to yourself right now. Check in next week for the "10 ways to nourish the inner self so you can launch your adult self".