One of the factors that define adulthood for many is the ability to look at situations and take action based on the facts. Children tend to see a situation and base their choices not on facts, but on how they feel about it. It is often said that many people may have a chronological age that is defined by their birth date, but their emotional maturity does not match their age.
Emotional maturity is not something that is automatically given to someone when they turn 18. Emotional maturity is something that we must develop in our lives by knowing how to respond to situations in a mature and responsible manner.
Three factors that define emotional maturity are:
- Ability to Face Reality — Acceptance
We know that we need to stop smoking because it is not good for our health, but we don’t do it because we want to avoid having to face a difficult challenge in our lives. Many of us like to avoid difficulties and pretend that they don’t exist. It isn’t until we can face reality and accept the situation that is before us then we can mature. We have to stop denying that situations exist and instead move towards assessing the risks of situations and taking actions based on those risks.
- Ability to Relate Well With Others
This is a big world, and we need to get along with others – even those that are different from us or have beliefs that differ from ours. All too often we look at others with a critical eye or let anger and frustrations interfere with our perceptions of others. We must learn to forgive others (and ourselves) and start making amends with people for what we have done wrong in the past. Instead of looking at people with a critical eye, look for the good inside them. Be compassionate, not critical.
- Willingness to be Honest with Ourselves
We must be willing to do a self-appraisal of who we are and what we want our of life. Chances are that there are areas in your life that could use improvement. None of us is perfect. Sometimes change starts from within – and when you change, the world around you starts to change with you. We don’t have to be in control of everything in our life – sometimes we have to put our faith in a belief that things are going to work out. Being honest with ourselves can lead us to understand that some things in our life just aren’t worth worrying about.
So now it is your turn. What is your emotional maturity? Can you see yourself in the above statements or are there areas you want to improve upon? It’s never too late – whether you are 18 or 81 there are chances for you to increase your emotional maturity age.