Emotional maturity is a quality worth working towards if you aren’t already there. What “getting there” means can be different for everyone, since we can’t just change our personalities overnight. Plus, it’s a tough trait to upkeep, especially since it isn’t just one singular trait, but a collection of characteristics that all support and inform each other. And even if you reach a satisfying level of emotional maturity, one that you can feel comfortable in, it still takes a continuous effort to maintain. So what are the traits that make up emotional maturity, and how can you work towards them for the betterment of yourself? We’ll find out in this guide.
What is Emotional Maturity?
When we call someone “mature,” we’re saying that they have the qualities of an adult. In a way, this has become a word that means the opposite of “childish.” To be mature is to have knowledge and experience about the way the world works, and to have adapted accordingly. Mature people don’t cry when they don’t get something they want, or hit someone they disagree with, as an immature child might.
To have emotional maturity, then, is to have a specific control over one’s emotions. An emotionally mature person has experienced the spectrum of emotions, understands the consequences of each, and knows the benefits of being in control of them. Most importantly, an emotionally mature person knows what kinds of things sets of different emotions in them, and they know how to identify each emotion, clearly. They don’t fall into a panic trying to determine what they feel, and how they should react. They know, and they manage themselves accordingly.
One of the things that stands in most people’s way from reaching emotional maturity is learning how to deal with stress. This stress management training course lays down some handy guidelines, and this course will teach you how to identify and reduce stress that you can’t avoid.
Characteristics of Emotional Maturity
To have emotional maturity means to have developed, to some extent, the characteristics listed below.
It isn’t enough to be able to identify your own emotions. You also need to be able to identify, and relate to, the emotions of others. When you have empathy for other people, only good things can come: understanding, compromise, and a greater emotional intelligence all around. Having empathy for others is also a form of respect and it makes you more approachable, both important traits that make up an emotionally mature person.
Part of being emotionally mature means being able to admit when you’re wrong, and face the consequences for your own mistakes with understanding and dignity. Think about people who don’t take accountability for things that they’ve done. Often, they’ll be in denial of any wrongdoing, and sometimes even try to place the blame on somebody else. Part of being accountable means being responsible. You can’t have emotional maturity without both. Learn the basics of accountability in this course on management.
Self-awareness is one of the foundations of emotional maturity. When you’re self-aware, it means being able to identify your emotional states, see your thoughts and actions from all angles, and judge yourself based on the same standards that you judge others. People who are self-aware tend to be better at taking criticism, which is another supporting trait of emotional maturity. This is because they are often more critical of themselves to begin with, being more perceptive of their own actions and emotions. Check out this course on how to harness a strong sense of self-awareness.
Flexibility means understanding that not everything is going to go your way, and that’s just a fact of life. Being able to make compromises, especially when it involves other people, is a sure sign of emotional maturity. Developing a sense of flexibility requires a few different traits: patience, for one. If you can’t keep your cool during times of change or when spontaneous issues arrive, you won’t be able to make calm and informed decisions.
5. A Healthy Amount of Confidence
Confidence is one of the elements that makes up emotional maturity, but it has to be a healthy amount. Too much confidence can border into arrogance. Not enough confidence can fall into low self-esteem. You need a balance of confidence and self-awareness to trust in your own decisions, but take the criticism necessary if you’ve made the wrong choice. Check out this course on boosting your self-confidence.