I was fifteen when I heard my mom call someone a boy and the other person a man. For a while, before I turned twenty I thought that it was because the one had no money, house nor car and the other, well, had his own enterprise, which translates to money. But now at twenty-two I know that she'd meant something entirely different from what my teenage brain had assumed.
She'd meant that the other could accept reality as it was, could deal with losses and regrets, could solve his problems promptly, was adaptable and capable of change, could take responsibility for his finances, maintain his integrity in the face of temptations, compromises, and conflict and most of all could feel good about himself and enjoy his relationships. In a nutshell she meant he was emotionally mature.
Maturity is the ability to stick with a project or a situation until it is finished. It is the capacity to face unpleasantness, frustration, discomfort and defeat without complaint or collapse. It is the ability to make a decision and stand by it.
Maturity is the ability to live up to the responsibilities of a love relationship, and this means being dependable. It is the ability to harness your abilities and your energies and to do more than is expected in your relationship.
We grow from babies to adults passing through various stages of maturity. We are expected to undergo physical, cognitive, emotional and relationship maturity. But when our bodies age and our muscle mass and body shape define itself, does our emotions follow suit? If there is a balance between your physical age, IQ, social maturity and emotional maturity, then you've really grown up.
How old you are emotionally shows through various loop holes:
- Egocentricism: Emotionally immature individuals are self centred and selfish. They have little regard for others and are preoccupied with their own ideas and feelings. They deeply believe that they are somehow special therefore demand constant attention, respect and sympathy. For these individuals love is a need yet they have difficulty showing and accepting love. They demand affection and love but avoid any sign of weakness. Emotionally mature individuals understand that love is sharing hence they foster a sense of security which allows vulnerability and strength by expressing love and accepting expressions of love.
- unco trolled emotions: immaturity expresses itself in temper tantrums, prolonged pouts and rapidly changing moods. Emotionally immature individuals get frustrated easily and over-react to perceived criticism. They are unwilling to forgive and are prone to jealousy pangs while their emotionally mature counterparts use their emotions as energy sources. They understand perfectly the process of energy transmutation. When frustrated they set goals and seek solutions.
- Gratification: children and childish adults often want everything now, and avoid enduring any thing they do not like. They know little of personal responsibility and often rely on other people for care and protection. Their behaviour is superficial, thoughtless and impulsive. Their loyalty lasts only as long as a relationship seems useful and their management of finances is chaotic. If you are mature, you can delay your gratification and desires, and you can maintain your self control.
- Dependent: Indecision is a sign of immaturity. Emotionally immature adults are indesicive, impulsive, easily influenced and avoid responsibilities for their actions and deficiencies. They are sensitive to criticism, but insensitive others' feelings and stay in unpleasant relationships to avoid change. On the other hand, emotional maturity produces independence, empathy, compassion and co-operation with others.
- Attitude: immature individuals have a hard time with integrity. They avoid and deny money and relationship problems which demand integrity and seek to pass the blame. Some are willing to give, but not take; others willing to take but not give. They avoid reality and attack prople when frustrated. They also do not learn from experience while their opposites see life as a learning experience, accepts responsibility, learns from feedback, looks for opportunities and moves on. Emotionally mature individuals understand that giving helps enhance the quality of life of beloved people, they ask for help when they need one and accept help from others.
Emotional maturity is a requirement for starting and maintaining relationships. It is a prerequisite for long term happiness. Emotional immaturity is associated with entanglements, transferences and unsatisfying shallow relationships.
WHY BOTHER ABOUT EMOTIONAL MATURITY
A relationship has to be healthy for both parties to be happy. The characteristics for healthy relationships include co-operation, humor, quick conflict resolution, intimacy and caring, honoring, giving and receiving, equality, honesty, assertiveness, healthy boundaries, accommodation of change, community and extended family contact, space for privacy, balance between work and play, stabilizing and energizing qualities. These characteristics are possessed by only the emotionally mature.
We all know that a relationship requires a combination of time, energy, identity, attachment, finances, extended family and other social relationships. These investments are assets of the relationship. The more you invest into a relationship the greater your chances of profiting and finding happiness. If you've experienced the ill of losing an asset then you'd understand the cost of risking a relationship breakdown after you've put in your all. Now, if you want to chose the right partner who'd complement you you need to deal with yourself first; start with your own emotional maturity. Being emotionally mature enables you to heal toxic emotional bonds and accept yourself as you are. Self-acceptance lets you express your emotions. If you avoid your emotions you may become overly reserved, dissociated or robot-like. If you on the other hand avoid expressing your emotions when you feel it you may falsify your relationships. Push your partner away from you, undermine your health and delay personal development. There is still yet another danger in expressing your emotions wrongly.
When you become emotionally mature you will find your relationship blossoming because in the place of the ‘I want it now' attitude is the capacity to face unpleasantness, frustration, discomfort and defeat without complaint or collapse. Instead of the mindless possessiveness maturity permits you and your partner the freedom to pursue your individual interests and friends without restriction. This allowed level of separateness brings lovers closer together. It acts as a bond not a wedge. Partners get to bring their uniqueness into the relationship.
Childish adults detest responsibilities. Maturity is the ability to live up to the responsibilities of a love relationship. It means being dependable; keeping your word; coming through in the clutches and not breaking promises.
Maturity, in general, is many things. Maturity in a love relationship is everything! Need I say more? With maturity partners know that by working together, the state of unconditional love will present itself and mature with time in the relationship. They understand that a strong relationship doesn't just happen; that there would be sweet and sour moments yet still being able to enjoy the instant gratification that comes with the romance of the moment while knowing the best is yet to be and being patient while your love grows.
One thing I love about mature couples is their knack for side-stepping resentment and focusing on the good. Plus their capacity to accept, forgive and understand each other's differences. Emotional maturity is an essential part of a relationship.