“Ugh. You’re obnoxious and offensive. Remove me from your email list!”
That was an email I received from someone I didn’t know last week. So what did I do?
Exhaled. Deleted contact. Sipped my coffee. Continued scrolling through Amazon.UK to order the English candy I love to treat myself to from home this time of year (plus a couple of good books – my spending achilles heel).
And that was it.
Emotional maturity is the most undramatic, quiet and self preserving quality that we earn with time, experience and some self-actualizing. I’ve come to be a keen observer of it in others and I secretly salute it whenever I notice it – for it’s subtle elegance and ability to reveal the zen-like characteristic of the person exuding it.
It can be a bit like a random act of kindness performed by a stranger. It can be overlooked, even under-appreciated but it is still a beautiful act that blesses both the giver and the receiver. Here are some ways to identify maturity in yourself – something you may be casually overlooking and under-appreciating in yourself.
1. You’re non-reactive
I adore how we can always react (or fail to react) to life’s circumstances. Whether it’s a rude remark, an ignorant comment or a passive aggressive colleague on another rant, emotional maturity manifests in a lack of interest in reactivity. Think of the energy saved! Happy sigh.
2. You’re not interested in interpreting the action of others
My former colleague “Wayne” is constantly dissecting the words and actions of other people – his boss, his brothers, the dates who “ghost” him. I don’t know how he isn’t exhausted. Maturity is when you can let other people be and not read into every small thing that happens because, hey – you’re too busy doing you.
3. You don’t care to judge other people
And you lose interest in how other people may be judging you. Because emotionally mature folks know that it’s not all about you and the world is not consumed with you, you, you. This includes not taking things personally, getting offended on a whim, or feeling the need to defend, prove or justify yourself.
4. You can laugh at yourself
We all love people who can laugh at themselves. People who can make a mistake and chuckle about it. People who have a sense of humor and don’t mind a joke at their own expense, cause heck – shouldn’t life be funny? It really doesn’t have to be so serious!
My friend Belinda is a pro at laughing at herself and as a result is a one of those true light-hearted people-magnets that everyone loves spending time with.
5. You can delay gratification
Being emotionally mature is knowing you can’t always have what you want right now. And being ok with that. Putting work before play. Waiting till you have the money over credit-carding those boots, that vacation, those new skis.
Delayed gratification and patience are solid maturity markers.
6. You’re regard for worry sounds like, “Well… Why?”
You can’t control a lot (the weather, the traffic, who your parents are) but you can control your level of fear and worry in the world. Worry is a wasted emotion. Maturity is replacing worrying with planning – “I’m worried I will lose my job, so I will get busy networking now!” – or a plain refusal to let your mental noise run your life.
For this reason I think meditation and emotional maturity have an incredible connection.
7. You have zero appetite for conflict
Conflict and confrontation lose a place in your life as you have little need or desire to prove yourself. Namaste.
8. You take 100% responsibility for your life
The most mature amongst us take ownership of our personal experiences. We know that we drive and shape our life’s outcomes – and there are no exceptions. And there is tremendous purpose, peace and power in that.
Maturity begins when drama and dissatisfaction ends.
What does emotional maturity mean to you? And what did this list reveal to you about yourself? Please share with me in the comments below!