Maturity is defined in many ways. Often in how we speak. Not merely what we say but our choice of words and the tone of our voice can influence how others see us, and ultimately how we see ourselves.
Emotional maturity is directly connected to how we view ourselves. Growth should be something that we do daily. Unfortunately, it is not something we may tangibly see daily, which is why we struggle with it.
When we look at someone’s journey, say through weight loss, although changes are happening daily, they re not often seen each day, which is why a good health trainer should tell you to only check your numbers (the weight scale, your body measurements) weekly at a minimum.
The day-to-day moments are where we forge our maturity. Like a flower blooming in springtime, it doesn’t start out with fully open petals, neither do our emotions. Emotional maturity grows and blossoms as it is developed.
Growth is a journey… Not a destination
Maturity (especially emotional maturity) includes an awareness to and actions towards the following eight characteristics:
First, being aware of our environment. Understanding what is going on around us help us understand what is going on inside of us. External factors can playa huge part on how we control our emotions. They shouldn’t however the reality is that they often do. The more aware we are, the easier it is to make well informed decisions.
Next is an awareness to our manners, or how we respond / react to other people in every situation. This goes beyond a simple please & thank you, it goes deeper to understanding how to interact with other people.
This leads us to the third characteristic, which is knowing what obligations we have. Especially as a parent I cannot just leave a toddler at home alone for hours. Now, that same child as a teenager can be left alone eventually being on their own as an adult. What we are obliged to do will change over time, yet we need to maintain an awareness to certain needs.
Fourthly, we must think and act with tactfulness. Certainly what we say is more crucial than what we think… or is it? Our thoughts lead to our words and actions, so in reality, tactfulness starts inside the head. The better we think about others, the better we will speak around others and the better we will act around others.
Now… we shift from awareness into actions that lead towards maturation.
The first action is having ingenuity. One of the best ways we can mature our emotions is to be clever and original in our thinking. Not merely following the crown but carving our own path and allowing the journey to unfold will strengthen our emotions.
The second actionable characteristic is observation. This is a bit tricky to unpack. It is not about simply having an awareness of our environment, it is taking that awareness and breathing it into our being. Asking ourselves how this affects me, how it affects others, and deeper yet how it will affect the future will position us for understanding what we observe.
The third action is to have some notion about what we are doing and where we are going in life. What we believe and what we feel (desire, impulses, gut instincts) has a direct impact on how we how up. When we are in a situation where perhaps we do not like the people around us yet cannot leave, do we show our disdain or can we mature our emotions to be aware of our environment, manners, or tact.
Finally, having sensitivity around others. This does not mean that we need to compromise who we are around others, it means that we need to be sensitive to where others are. Addressing differences in a non-confrontational manner that builds dialogue verses creating debates elevates our maturity one hundredfold.
The seasons of our lives are many and as they change, we ‘should’ mature. Remember, awareness leads to action.