Your Voice: Is maturity defined by adulthood?
Does our age determine our maturity level, or do our actions?
Growing older is not the same as growing up. The first is a fact of life, while the latter is a choice. Maturity does not happen naturally, or simply by growing older, it is a process that requires effort, hard work that comes through self-awareness, consciousness, and continual sincerity.
As the famous saying by Soren Kierkegaard says, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards,” — we don’t just grow biologically — our psychological growth is equally as important. So, what is actually needed to be fully mature?
According to UCLA Medical School psychiatrist, Dr. Stephen Marmer, there are five characteristics to have a deeper, happier, and more productive and mature life.
Five characteristics to maturity identified by Dr. Marmer:
1. Taking control: We didn’t have an option as to where we were born or who our parents are, but as we grow older, we obtain more control about the choices and decisions in our lives. Refusing to act upon our options in life and always playing the “victim card” are signs of immaturity. Exercise that control from an early age to develop some sense of maturity.
2. Taking responsibility: This can be accomplished by acknowledging responsibility of what we do, even our mistakes. It is a sign of immaturity if we blame others for our mistakes. In addition, we mature by the willingness to take on obligations and fulfill them. It is also a sign of immaturity if you see obligations as a burden on your back.
3. Containing emotions: You can spot immature people when you see them easily lashing out if things go against their plans. Maturity can be measured by how much anxiety we tolerate without acting out inappropriately against ourselves or others. This can be achieved by exercising to express our emotions at the right place, at the right time, and in the right way.
4. Having perspective: Maturity comes from putting disappointments into perspective. It is difficult to face new disappointments in life when we are young, however, disappointments do not stop at a certain age. As we grow older and continue to encounter disappointments, we mature and become stronger by controlling our frustration. Perspective also means that when we are upset with someone dear to us, we have to put that negative experience in the context of the entire relationship by not forgetting all the love and good experiences we once had.
5. Achieving deep understanding: This can be done by comprehending the ways in which another’s ideas and behaviors make sense to them. We do not necessarily have to agree with them, but we must understand and respect the way they think and behave.
So isn’t it about time to REALLY grow?