If you’ve been through a stressful situation in life, you might feel that, in some cases, the strategies you used to face it has made you more mature, and on other occasions, they’ve made you more fragile and fearful.
Denying that we are emotional beings is denying a hugely important part of what makes us sensible adults.
So instead of ignoring emotions or trying to control them unsuccessfully, let’s try to single out the situations in which you act with emotional maturity from the ones where it’s so obviously absent.
1. Taking care of yourself first isn’t selfish; it’s essential to your happiness and that of the people around you.
Be selective with people and in what way you get emotionally involved together. When you’re around a negative person, it can affect your aura with a wave of pessimism and lack of energy, which, unfortunately, is easily contagious.
You may be a friend, son, daughter, colleague or partner, but you’re not a professional psychologist gifted with the needed tools to get a person out of that pseudodepressive state.
Sometimes it can be really healthy to cut off certain conversations, close the door behind you and talk a walk, play music over the sound system or concentrate on improving your own life, before trying to improve the life of those around you.
If you try to fix everything at once and you’re sensitive to other people’s issues, you’ll probably end up being the one who needs a psychologist.
You’re not cruel for it; you’re just a person with healthy emotional limits.
2. Just because you’re turning an idea around in your head doesn’t mean you’re coming any closer to solving it.
We’ve always been told that we should reflect on our problems and on ourselves to find solutions, but…where is the limit when it comes to filling our minds with all these things? Doesn’t it just take our attention off our life?
Maybe this metaphor will help you gain a better understanding:
Imagine you fall into a hole and have a mask over your eyes. You have no tools to escape except for a shovel, nor a valid strategy to get out of it in the right direction. You can’t think of anything to get out of the hole except to start digging, and so you do. You’re doing something to get out of the situation, but in fact you’re just making the hole that much bigger, and consequently sinking yourself further into the ground.
When we apply this metaphor to the excessive mental activity we experience while attempting to solve a problem or situation, we realize that our thoughts are no longer allies. Instead, they’re increasingly immersing us in this uncomfortable situation.
That being said, by all means, spend time thinking. It can be very expensive not to. But do it in moderation.
We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.
3. Don’t deny or forget the negative things you’ve experienced. Accept them, let them be and let go of their associated negativity.
So many people think that life would be easier if it came with a “reset” button that could erase all of the painful experiences we’ve been through and that make us so sad and regretful. If you had that magical power, you would walk around life like a big kid, but what would be the point?
You’d go around making mistakes that are no longer yours to face. You wouldn’t be a unique and individual being, but a copy of what society tells us a happy and peaceful person should be like.
But peace and wisdom don’t come from an absence of mistakes, from the efforts to hide them, or in the resentment and hate that come from letting them make a hole in our psyche.
Remembering your mistakes over and over again is not the mature approach, nor is it conducive to learning from your mistakes. Being emotionally mature is accepting them, picking them all up off the floor and holding them close, so as to not only avoid making that mistake again, but also in order to apply it to other aspects of life.