Feelings are more complex than emotions. It intertwines with the other, but it also has a rational component such as a longer amount of time and deeper roots. Emotional maturity, therefore, may be defined as an emotional trace which is a product of experience and emotional intelligence.
Emotional maturity is never an end, but when a certain level is reached, it becomes a relatively stable personality trait. This is because it is a result of personal experience and, therefore, it does not depend on changes in situations.
“Maturity is the ability to reap without apology and not complain when things do not go well.”
As with other psychological realities, emotional maturity is not really a concept, or a discourse, but the recent result of a practice that manifests in the practice itself. Therefore, it is shown by different ways, attitudes and behaviors. Some of them are the following:
1. Self-knowledge, an emotional maturity trait
Self-knowledge is the ability to identify objectively, our defining characteristics. It also means that we have developed the capacity to observe our own self. It is that ability to review our actions and make conclusions from them.
Self-knowledge also allows us to predict our actions against different situations; our inclinations and aversions. It is the ability to be responsible for our actions and the ability to know our motivations.
2. Search for stability
One of the features of emotional stability is the search for stability. This should not be confused with the need to create and stay in comfort zones, nor with the desire to stay still and to keep oneself from moving forward.
The search for stability has something to do with the need to give continuity to our actions and to join them together. It opposes dispersion. One may become a backpacker and become stable in that kind of life. The real instability is in repeating cycles where one starts with something and does not really end it, but is overlooked with a new beginning.
It presumes the ability to adjust to facts; to take them as they are, putting the least subjectivity to it. That is, always seeing the world as it is, not as we want it or fear it to be.
Realism leads to emotional maturity and this, in turn, reinforces realism and adjustment. They are two different aspects that support it each other. Being realistic does not mean stopping to dream or having illusions. It is more about knowing the difference between what is happening within and outside of us.
4. Attention to many personal facets
The ability to explore the different dimensions that make up our life is another aspect of emotional maturity. Body, spirit, creation, thought, fulfillment, suffering, etc constitute our being.
Many times, we only focus on our work experiences, emotional aspect or family aspect. It may also be possible that we only give room to suffering or happiness to avoid anything else. A full life embraces the different dimensions of our being.
5. Understanding the ups and downs of life
When emotional maturity is reached, it is understood that the ups and downs of life are a natural fact of life. There will be mistakes and successes, however stable, in every situation which makes for sadness and happiness.
What is learned, above all, is that a bad experience does not mean that everything is going to be bad, nor a good experience means that everything will always be good. Everything is part of life, and it is worth living it, without any escape or evasions.
6. Consistency between feeling, will and commitment
Self-knowledge and realism may lead to a part of emotional maturity: consistency. In other words, you can do whatever you want, as long as you are responsible for it.
Therefore, there is a basic consistency between the purposes especially for commitments, the will to realize them, and the desire that it can be fulfilled. Therefore, there is no place to abandon the life that one is leading, nor forget one’s past. Simply, you live as you want to live, assuming the cost of this.
Self-regulation is the ability to adjust reactions and actions, adapting them to context and objectives. That is, ensuring that the intensity of emotions or reactions does not become an obstacle to oneself.
Self-regulation is not repression. It is not about “enduring” or overlooking. The idea is how to express the feeling, so that it is understood fostering understanding, not conflict.
Human beings may reach full maturity in these aspects. Faced with these dimensions which guide us, we could work to get closer to reach the balance. If we cultivate it, our life will become more complete.