I posted this sentence on Instagram, “Emotional maturity is soooooo fucking attractive”. Then a few minutes later, I received a message on WhatsApp. A young lady asked me to define what emotional maturity is. I had to think about it. In academic circles, emotional maturity is called “emotional intelligence”, which can be defined as, “the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions” according to Wikipedia. That is the general definition. Sociologists and psychologists haven’t yet agreed on a specific definition, but you get the general idea.
The young lady’s request took me by surprise, and it left me flabbergasted. I sat in my living room, at 4:08am, thinking of an answer. I didn’t know what to say. Then, as it usually happens, I started writing on my phone and I couldn’t stop. Granted, I have my own views and biases on almost every subject, but I thought I would share my answer with you. I have amended a few things, but the original text’s spirit is still alive and well. Perhaps, in a few days, depending on how this goes, I might write a second text about emotional maturity, who the fuck knows? So, here goes…
A person with emotional maturity isn’t perfect, or any way near perfect. A person with emotional maturity is like any other human being; flawed, incomplete, filled with strengths and weaknesses and if they choose to be, they will be a work in progress until their last breath. We recognize an emotionally mature person through their actions, rarely their words. We all know words can be beautifully put together, and the person can appear wise. Yet, what is wisdom if not an empty shell when it’s separated from actions? Just sayin’…
A person with emotional maturity is an individual who accepts, understands, and finally manages their emotions. Along the emotional maturity journey, things won’t be easy because very few people are taught to accept, understand, and manage their emotions properly. Usually, we must learn most things about emotional maturity ourselves, unless we go to therapy or find a book on the subject. It is a long way to go, and it is hard as fuck! Acquiring anything is hard…Emotional maturity is extremely hard to obtain but it is possible. By the way, nobody starts off emotionally mature; one becomes that!
Emotionally mature people don’t run or hide from their emotions; they accept them! They absorb them, digest them, and the picture becomes clearer through that process. I am talking about a person who isn’t a slave to their emotions, a person who isn’t run ruthlessly by their emotions. I am talking about a person who stops, breathes, and says to themselves “I am angry, happy, upset, disappointed, mad, hurt, heartbroken, joyful, proud of this and that, thankful, grateful, ashamed, humiliated. I am failing, I don’t know what to do. I am tired. I can’t do this anymore. I need a fucking break. I don’t need a break. I can fight on. I will stop now. I need help. I need a hug. I need a kiss. I want human contact. I feel weak and empty. I want to love and be loved. I am struggling” and so many other things we are afraid to admit to ourselves. This fear of admitting things to ourselves ruins our lives…
I am talking about a person who has found the strength, the courage, the fortitude, and the will to forgive themselves. They must find the strength because no one is born strong; we become strong as we go through life, fire, blood, and obstacles. I am talking about emotionally mature people who forgive themselves after feeling the weight of remorse and the freedom of contrition. I am talking about people who care about themselves enough to find the inner strength to forgive their actions and words and then who find the grace and humility to apologize to those they’ve hurt.
An emotionally mature person will never, ever try to be perfect because they understand perfection is a fairy tale and a bad one at that! I am talking about a person who doesn’t blame the rest of the world for their life. They look inward to see how they might have participated in their own predicament! External actions and events are the things we will never control; the only thing we control is how we think, feel, act, talk and live life. Emotionally mature people don’t point fingers repeatedly; they stop and look at themselves. They take ownership of their lives, mistakes, flaws, shortcomings, failures, and they vow to themselves to do better!
Emotionally mature people take the good and the bad from life. They know the good and the bad are intertwined forever and one cannot exist without the other. They don’t lash out at others but rather, they find a way to cool down, to think before talking and acting. They don’t rush; they pause because they know the value of slowing down and the destructive power of reaction and quick answers! They don’t engage right away. They calm down first and foremost. They know how to fucking walk away from unnecessary fights and people. They choose their battles wisely! I am talking about people who fully understand messing up every now and then is part of the journey and not the end. Mistakes aren’t the end but part of the process.
An emotionally mature person would rather forgive than stay angry. They know the devastating power of anger, resentment, grudges, and the liberating might of forgiveness and moving on with their lives. They don’t forgive others to look good; they do so to obtain inner peace and attain a certain level of joy in knowing they have just lost the weight of grudges and anger that was on their shoulders. I am talking about a person who has a sense of humor about things in life and especially about themselves. We are all ridiculous every now and then. We might as well laugh at ourselves.
I am talking about people who appreciate things and mostly people. I am talking about people who know dealing with people is a full-time job and understanding their own emotions will lead them to understand other people’s! When you are happy or angry, you know how you look and feel. Therefore, you will recognize happiness and anger in others. That goes for every emotion you can think of because humans are the same wherever you go on this blue planet of ours.
Did I just describe the perfect individual? Perhaps. Nonetheless, this whole list is filled with doable things. It doesn’t mean you must do everything at the same time or that you need to excel at everything. Fuck no! Do your best. Perfection, appearances, public image, the opinions and perceptions of others distract us; they harm us more than we think and we forget to look within. Culture and traditions have taught us a bunch of bullshit about emotions, and we are paying the price today, still.
Listen, nothing can be fixed in a blink of an eye. That’s for damn sure! I believe every human being has a moral and personal responsibility to mature emotionally. Yes, I fucking said it! You owe it to your fucking self to make your own life better. You fucking do.
Damn, I just sounded like a motivational speaker! Please, for your own sake, seek emotional maturity. Once you accept, understand, and finally manage your emotions in a proper and healthy way, your life will change for the better! It is literally the best thing you can do for yourself.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day!