How well can you control your emotions?
We all like to think we’re emotionally mature.
But the truth is, each and every one of us holds a set of biases about ourselves, and such biases influence the person we see when we look in the mirror.
According to psychologists, these are so entrenched, that if we were to see a replica of ourselves on a train; we probably wouldn’t recognise them.
It’s clear then, that we could quite easily be mistaken when we perceive ourselves at our peak of emotional maturity.
Typically, our understanding and expectations of emotional maturity come from observing others behaviour. And from that, we adjust our behaviour to match our schema of what maturity is, based on what we have seen of others.
Of course, observing others isn’t a reliable indication of what peak maturity is — if you’ve been surrounded by the emotionally stunted or immature your whole life, you may think this constitutes “normal.”
So let's consider the typical traits of emotionally mature people.
1. They Recognise Things Don’t Revolve Around Them
According to psychologist Jean Piaget, every child below the age of 2 years old thinks the universe revolves around them — so much so, that they believe objects only exist for as long as they are staring at them.
That's right, they believe you and I cease to exist whenever they are not looking.
It’s only after the age of 2, that we begin to recognise this isn’t the case — but, in some rare cases; emotionally stunted adults might maintain this faulty rationale for the rest of their lives.
Emotionally mature’s rationality is the polar opposite of this child-like way of thinking. They recognise the world doesn’t revolve around them and that things exist and have an independent purpose.
They also recognise that, in the entirety of the planet, solar system and universe — they are just a single life form, who, beyond their own self-worth; is somewhat insignificant.
This mode of thinking leads them to the following behavioural tendencies:
- They don’t feel entitled to things.
- They don’t carry with them unreasonable demands which they feel others should fulfil.
- They don’t get angry, or frustrated, if things don’t go their way — because they recognise the Universe doesn’t owe it to them.
“Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it.” ― Criss Jami
2. They Stop Chasing
In short, emotionally mature people are happy in the here and now.
They aren’t desperate to chase new things, people, or ideas. With that, they are much more accepting of what’s in front of them.
Immature people, on the other hand, have a much more child-like mentality. They’re fixated on the things they want but don’t have, and they’re so caught up thinking about it that they rarely pay attention or listen to others.
At times, it feels like the immature would be prepared to end the friendship if it meant that they could fulfil their desires — they feel neurotic and unpredictable.
The emotionally mature aren’t like this. And as a result, they are typically trusted more and have deeper relationships.
“Happiness doesn’t have to be chased…it merely has to be chosen.” ― Mandy Hale
3. They Care Less (About the Things That Don’t Matter)
Each and every one of us carries a hierarchy of values. We categorise almost everything into one of two fields: either we value something, or we don’t.
And like any of us, mature people care about what they hold dear to them. But, they are much more selective about what they consider of value.
Consequently, lots of things that immature people value, don’t make the cut for the emotionally mature. Things like ego, physical possessions, and wealth — are often disregarded as unimportant by them.
With that, they close their ears, and simply don’t care about lower-level thoughts and events:
- They are unimpressed by superficial gossip.
- They don’t try and impress their colleagues with the latest tech.
- They are left unstartled by insults.
Rather than wasting time, the mature recognise these surface-level issues don’t matter in the grand scheme of life.
4. They Can Control Their Emotion
Most of us are dictated by our emotion, and when tensions rise: we often shout, cry and act without thought for the consequences.
The emotionally mature, on the other hand, are able to control their emotions. Rather than letting feelings guide them — they’re principles drive every decision they make, even when tensions rise.
With that, they are able to keep their cool, and make rational, commonsensical decisions even in times of emotional strain.
Because of that, the emotionally mature rarely perform actions that they later regret — because they are guided by their calculations and principles, they’re more likely to stand by their decisions, even if they don’t pan out the way they thought.
“You own your feelings. You own your thoughts. You control both.” — Carlos Wallace
5. They’re More Understanding/Flexible/Forgiving
Because they recognise the world doesn’t revolve around them — the emotionally mature are less likely to make unreasonable demands.
Instead, they recognise every single one of us is human, and that we all have our own interests, desires, and lives.
With that, they’re much more flexible and forgiving whenever someone makes a mistake — because they know that they too are susceptible to these errors from time to time.
Because of the biases you carry, it’s almost impossible to know for sure whether you are emotionally mature.
But, by coming to terms with how someone at peak maturity would act, you are able to adjust your behaviour as best you can to match.
And by mimicking such behaviour, you will begin to internalise these values; without even realising it.
- Stop assuming the world revolves around you.
- Stop chasing.
- Care less about things that, in the grand scheme, don’t matter.
- Learn to control your emotion, rather than letting yourself be controlled.
- Be more understanding and forgiving to others mistakes.
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