Are you emotionally mature?
When you are emotionally mature, you are able to extract more joy and satisfaction from life. Emotionally mature people are better able to respond to the ebbs and flows of life. They enjoy the good times but they do not get carried away with them. Also, when they experience bad times, being emotionally mature allows them to deal with the situation in a calmer, more rational way. Rather than react dramatically, the emotionally mature person calmly determines the correct course of action and with a few gentle changes, the situation is dealt with. Occasionally, you will react badly when something goes wrong but emotional maturity allows you to identify your mistakes and get back on track.
8 Signs that you are emotionally mature
The following list will give you an indication of whether you are emotionally mature, or not. The list is by no means exhaustive.
1. You don’t play the victim
Everybody has tough times in life. When these times occur, it is natural to get a little upset, even angry. When you are emotionally mature, you understand that the world is not conspiring against you. You know that bad things do happen but it is up to you how you choose to react to them.
You could play the victim and wonder why nothing ever goes your way but you know that this will get you nowhere. Nobody likes people who continuously play the victim card. An emotionally mature person will take the time to experience their feelings about what has gone wrong. Then they will look for a way to move forward with positivity.
If you, or somebody you know, regularly resorts to playing the victim, this may be a sign of passive aggressive behaviour. You should check out our guide to Tackling Passive Aggressive Behaviour.
2. You don’t feel like the world owes you anything
The world is full of people who scream and shout about what they want from life; then sit back and wait for somebody else to hand it to them. Life is like a self-service restaurant. There is a wide variety of tasty treats to be experienced but if you want them; you have to get up off your backside and get them.
An emotionally mature person does not wait for the good times to arrive; they throw the party and make the good times happen.
3. You take positive action
When things don’t go their way, some people play the victim. Others choose to take any action that they can, to keep busy and try to convince themselves that everything is ok. The problem with this approach is that being busy does mean that you are being effective. If you are locked in a dark room, you do not keep running at the wall in the hope that you can break through; you take the time to look for the exit.
An emotionally mature person understands this. When they experience setback, they don’t wallow in despair but they also do not take action for the sake of taking action. They take the time to assess the situation and determine the best path to take.
Positive action does not happen by accident. You need to set effective goals. The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting can help.
4. You know that happiness is something you bring to life
Happiness is not something which exists in the world. It is something which exists within you. Happiness is an attitude; a choice that you make. As such, you can bring happiness to any situation. Even in the direst of circumstances, you can choose to be happy. If you find this difficult to believe, think about the people of 3rd world countries. These people struggle each and every day for things which we take for granted – simple necessities such as food. Yet, they choose to be happy.
When you are emotionally mature, you understand that you can be happy while still wanting more from life. You know that your happiness does not depend on the world, that your happiness does not depend on others, or the results you achieve. You understand that your happiness is a choice which you make.
5. You understand the difference between selfish and self-centred
In the rural Irish community where I grew up, it was regarded as an insult if somebody said that you loved yourself. You were thought to be vain and to have little regard for others. Sadly, it took me some time to realise that people were confusing being selfish with being self-centred. When you love yourself, you are being self-centred. You understand that when you put your own needs first, you are in a better position to help others.
Think of the safety announcement on the airplane. You are told that, in the case of emergency, you should fit your own oxygen mask before attempting to assist others with their masks. This is easy to understand; if you run out of oxygen while trying to assist others, you both die. If you ensure that you have the necessary oxygen first, you can commit yourself fully to helping others. The same is true in life; if you make your self strong first, you are then in a better position to help others. In order to be emotionally, mature, you must love yourself and you must be self-centred.
A self-centred person has a clear sense of purpose for life. If you do not, you might want to check out the Living Purposefully Workbook.
6. You take responsibility for your own life
When things go wrong, some people think that it is a sign of weakness to accept responsibility. However, it is the most empowering thing that you can do. If a mistake which you made contributed to a poor result; you can focus on eliminating that mistake and you will improve the quality of the result. When you take responsibility for your actions and your results, you are taking the power into your own hands. You can focus on making better choices because you know that better choices will bring better results.
When you take responsibility for your life, you know your strengths and talents and you focus on them.
7. You require that others accept responsibility
Responsibility is not a one way street. While you must take responsibility for your own life; being emotionally mature means that you require others to take responsibility for their life also. You simply cannot build successful relationships with people who abdicate responsibility for their own life.
Success in life requires people to be proactive, positive, and decisive. People who consistently abdicate responsibility for their life do not possess these qualities. On top of this, they are often dishonest and untrustworthy as they attempt to blame others for their own failings. Emotionally mature people know that the people whom they spend time with play a critical role in the level of success which they experience. Therefore, they quickly remove those who do not accept responsibility from their life.
8. You communicate assertively
Assertiveness is one of the most important life skills. It allows you to stand up for your own rights while respecting the rights of others. When you are emotionally mature, you do not seek to bully or overpower others. You attempt to give everybody a fair hearing before you make what you believe to be the right decision for you.
Clear values are key component of emotional maturity. You discover and prioritise your values with Values Based Living.
In a fast-paced world, where many things scream for your attention; the ability to remain emotionally mature in the face of adversity, allows you to achieve the best results. It would be easy to believe that the most successful, and the happiest people, never experience the difficulties and pressures that you face. That’s just not realistic. Everybody faces difficulties and pressures. Happy, successful people cope better with these pressures because they are emotionally mature. Not only are they able to deal better with the difficult times but being emotionally mature also allows them to recognise, and make the most of, the good times. Compare your own behaviour against the 8 criteria, listed above, and identify areas where you can improve. The rewards will justify the efforts.
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