Just because you are an adult does not mean you are emotionally mature. Many of us can think of people in our lives who do not take responsibility for their actions, are unable to make commitments, are very selfish, dependent on their family members financially, or have difficulties handling emotional responses such as anger or disappointment. Many of these people are still emotionally immature to some degree.
Why is it important to be emotionally mature? Emotional maturity allows us to be happy within our own lives and in our relationships. Emotionally maturity equips us with qualities to be able to be self-sustainable, to grow and change, and to have meaningful relationships with others. Being emotionally immature may prevent you from making friends or having a committed and long-lasting relationship. Someone who is emotionally immature may not be able to receive opportunities or promotions at work, and may actually be more likely to not be employed based on their inability to take additional responsibilities or to follow through on commitments. Emotional immaturity basically places someone in a position where he will have limited and sometimes superficial interactions in the world.
Being emotional immature prevents you from reaching your goals. Emotional maturity is necessary for having a healthy marriage, starting your own business or achieving daily goals such as being healthier or handling your personal finances better. Without emotional maturity, you are more likely to not succeed in many aspects of your life.
So here are the top signs of emotional maturity.
- You cope well with change. A person who is emotionally mature will not resist change. The change may be difficult for that person to make, but someone emotionally mature will realize that this change is necessary. An emotionally mature can handle changes and will adjust for those changes.
- You are concerned with the thoughts and feelings of others. You are able to share love with others and realize that everything is not revolved around your wants and needs. You create an environment where you can place another’s needs above yours. You don’t demand constant attention from others. You feel secure with yourself and are not jealous that your friends or significant other spend time with different people. You give respect to other people. You are able to open yourself to new ideas that others have about the world. You care that you might be hurting someone’s feelings.
- You can control your emotions. When you are angry, you do NOT verbally or physically hurt someone. You can handle criticism, and do not feel attacked every time you receive criticism. You are able to forgive others and do not hold grudges for past actions. You do not become very frustrated with other people and have patience for mistakes that people make.
- You seek solutions to problems in your life. When faced with challenges, you do not show self-pity and take little action to improve your situation. You are willing to find different solutions to address the challenges in your life.
- You rely on yourself for your own care and have personal responsibility. You are able to handle your own finances independently. You do not need the advice of your parents or loved ones to make daily choices about bills to pay and how to best spend your money. You do not rely on other people for your well –being. You manage your finances well.
- You are patient with your wants. You do not always have to gratify your needs. You have self-control with your actions and can delay your gratifications.
- You are hopeful. You believe that life can change and get better. You realize that life does not control your situation. You understand that with faith, effort and acceptance, things can improve. You believe that the choices you make can change your lifestyle.
- You are a giver. You are able to give back to others. Not everything is about taking and using situations and people to achieve what you want. You believe in returning favors to others. You happily do kind things for loved ones. You are willing to sacrifice some of yourself to help someone achieve something he or she needs or wants.
- You are independent. You can make your own decisions about life. You can take responsibility for your actions and can handle commitments. You are not afraid to be independent and do not feel completely lost when doing something on your own.
- You are resilient. When times get tough, you learn to adjust and handle those difficulties. This may be a lengthy process but resilience happens. During breakups you do not spend years being unable to move on. Instead, you learn to move on, adjust and try and handle the situation. When being laid off work, you do not sit around at home, unable to apply to jobs and living off unemployment. You keep searching for jobs, sending out your resume and take advantage of any opportunity you can get.
- You can step out of your comfort zone. You are willing to do something out of the ordinary and gradually get away from a situation that may seem secure. You can take risks in relationships, your career or with life decisions. You are able to pursue your dreams and purpose, even if it involves you doing something that feels a bit uncomfortable at first.
- You live in the present. You don’t allow past circumstances to strongly impact how you live now. You are able to realize that people change, and can learn to forgive. You try to not repeat mistakes from your past. You try to not misapply what happened in the past to what is happening now (i.e. my last relationship didn’t work so now this relationship will not work). You believe that the present can be different from your past.
So what now? Perhaps after reading through this you realize that you might be emotionally immature in some areas of your life. You still might continue to be unsure about whether or not you are emotionally mature. Here are some brief tips to help get you started on the road to emotional maturity.
- 1. Ask others for their input. If you are really unsure about if you are emotionally immature then get the feedback of others. Ask for feedback and be aware of how you respond to that feedback. If you do not want to get the feedback of others, then that is a sign of emotional immaturity. If you do not want to take anyone’s opinion seriously, then that is a sign of emotional immaturity. If you find yourself feeling extremely upset about hearing someone’s criticism of you, then that might be a sign you are emotionally immature.
- 2. Seek counseling. In whatever area you are hurting in, counseling can help. If you can be abusive or have trouble handling your anger, then anger management counseling would be beneficial. Relationship counseling may be necessary if you are having struggles maintaining a healthy marriage or relationship. Look into hiring a life coach or mentor, if you really need some motivation about life planning skills and becoming more independent. If you feel counseling is useless, unnecessary or not something you can be bothered with, then that is a sign of emotional immaturity.
- 3. Take classes at a local college. If you are suffering from dependency, lack of commitment or financial issues then take classes that might help you break away from those traits. There are some basic life courses typically offered at colleges that will help with financial management, time management, and more practical ways to live your daily life. Be on the lookout for classes that help you with job hunting, resume building, or other practices that teach you how to be more responsible at work. You can attend a distance class or one only available locally. Fortunately, there are now many options available for people to take at least one class affordably. If you feel you can’t commit to a class or are unable to show up to class or do assignments, then that is a sign of emotional immaturity.
- 4. Surround yourself with a strong support network. If you have realized that you are emotionally immature then find people who can help you through this process. Try not to make this another reason to be dependent on someone, but as a mutually beneficial way to help the both of you grow together. As an example, if you have a hard time moving out of your home, then find a friend who can help you make these steps. Go apartment searching with your friend. Organize a budget plan with your friend so that you can make better financial decisions now that you are leaving the nest. When you move into a new place, have someone you can call whenever you feel lonely or lost. If you feel your friends are useless, do not want to do anything to help your friend, or do not want your friends to help you then you may be emotional immature.
- 5. Work hard at a goal. Think about the things you want in your life. Do you want a happier marriage, have a decent paying job, be able to lose weight, or save an extra $200 per month? Whatever your goal is, start working on trying to achieve that goal. Try to not focus on too many goals. For now, focus on just one of the goals that you have listed. Feeling that setting goals is a waste of time or believing you do not have control over your situation is a sign of emotional immaturity.
- Accept your failures and believe you can change. Continue to be positive and realize that you may have some failures but that these can change. Everyone fails at some point. This is a process that everyone has to overcome. You will overcome this and it’s okay to fail sometimes.
- Be responsible. Start accepting tasks that have some degree of responsibility. Start small and try to not overwhelm yourself. Do something that will involve you to step out of your boundaries and accept responsibilities. Make a promise to your significant other and stick to it. Ask to try and learn a new skill for your job. Commit to volunteering somewhere for a few hours per week.
What are some ways you can handle emotional immaturity? Any tips or suggestions are welcome!