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I’m sure people would be wondering why I keep repeating the issue on maturity again and again but that is simply because we underestimate the importance of it in our lives. Maturity is the beginning of everything; positive thinking, living wisely and moderately, getting to our goals, having a focus, acquiring true happiness and much more. All our success in life depends on maturity.
According to the oxford dictionary, maturity is the quality of thinking and behaving in a sensible, adult manner. While the antonym to this is immaturity or what others would consider as childishness. What most fail to understand is that ‘immaturity’ and ‘childishness’ may have almost or same meaning but they do have a difference that is not all that distinct. During my research on this I came across the most convincing definitions that can at least show the difference.
Childishness: is being childlike, liking things that would appeal to children, being so-called “young at heart”. Most of the time, childishness is harmless.
Immaturity: is failure to mature and take the responsibilities of an adult, failure to behave like an adult, failure to control your emotions like an adult.
As much as these words could be similar or different, most of the times maturity, immaturity and childishness vary according to the context and the person’s own perspectives. When one person attacks another in public especially in front of an important audience like in a meeting or conference and start a fight with another, that may be considered as immaturity. When the other person who has been attacked decides to stay calm and not fight back, that’s what we’d call maturity. But to bring forth the difference
between immaturity and childishness can be quite tricky. For example, I may consider that a boy above twenty years who still wears conspicuously coloured clothes with funny hairstyles that can make you notice them at the furthest end of the road, as immaturity while some may consider this ‘swag’ as fashion. One may consider it childish when a married person still watches cartoon while someone else may consider that as mere fun.
You may meet a person at his job place. He may be so noisy and plays pranks at his mates and irritates them…they’d consider him to be childish but you may be surprised that that same person could be the best employee in the firm, he knows exactly what his responsibilities are and can act maturely when he sees fit. So its not strange at all to find a person who is considered childish yet they are mature enough.
As much as childishness is oftenly used in a disapproving manner it is still considered harmless or at least, less harmless than immaturity. The word ‘childlike’ is used in a more approving manner for example having a childlike imagination or fantasy.
Since I’ve always been over emotional about everything I’ve frequently been considered to be childish but its harmless! It doesnt make me immature or lack of responsibility.
Another example, when a student decides to go out for a party when they have an exam the next day that is immaturity while when a lady boss comes to work with a hello kitty top to work, that’s childishness. Starting to get the difference now?
Emotional maturity refers to your ability to understand, and manage, your emotions. It enables you to create the life you desire. A life filled with happiness and fulfilment. You define success in your own terms, not society’s, and you strive to achieve it.
Emotional maturity allows you to take charge of your life. You have your own vision for your life and your own ambition for success. Focusing on realising your vision, you can create a happy, healthy life where you respect yourself and others. When you develop emotional maturity, life becomes a joy rather than a chore. Your happiness and fulfilment are in your hands. Emotional maturity doesn’t evolve overnight. It takes effort, practice and patience. If you can improve a little every day, you will soon be living a happier, more fulfilled life.
According to psychologists, these are signs of emotional maturity
Each person has a different level of emotional maturity. It is something which you can consistently work on and improve over time. You can use the following signs of emotional maturity to gauge your own level:
You are able to see each situation as unique and you can adapt your style accordingly.
You take responsibility for your own life. You understand that your current circumstances are a result of the decisions you have taken up to now. When something goes wrong, you do not rush to blame others. You identify what you can do differently the next time and develop a plan to implement these changes.
3. You understand that vision trumps knowledge
You know that you do not need to have all the answers. As long as you can identify the problem, you can visualise a solution and research the best way to implement that solution.
Meeting the challenges of tomorrow requires learning and development today. You have a desire to learn and a thirst for knowledge. Learning and development activities form a key part of your schedule.
5. You seek alternative views
Knowing that the way things are done can always be improved, you willingly seek out the opinions and views of others. You do not feel threatened when people disagree with you. If you feel that their way is better, you are happy to run with it.
Variety makes the world a more beautiful place. Even when you disagree with people, you do not feel the need to criticise them. Instead, you respect their right to their beliefs.
There will always be things that go wrong. There will always be setbacks and major disappointments. While you may initially be a little upset, emotional maturity allows you to express your feelings, identify the actions you can take, and move on.
It’s hard to be calm 100% of the time but you are able to remain calm the majority of the time.
You are not deluded. You know that success requires effort and patience. You do, though, have an optimistic disposition whereby you believe you can cope with whatever life throws at you. You also believe that there are opportunities out there for you, so you seek them out.
You are usually easy to get along with and people feel comfortable approaching you. Building relationships is never contrived; it comes easy to you.
You appreciate when others praise or compliment you. It feels good when they approve. However, you know that there will always be people who disapprove but you are confident in who you are and what you do. If you believe that a particular course of action is right for you, you will do it, whether they approve or not.
You don’t take yourself too seriously. You are able to enjoy a good laugh with friends and colleagues, even when you are the butt of the joke.
Other qualities of a matured person as per psychologists are as follows.
1. A mature person is able to keep long-term commitments.
One key signal of maturity is the ability to delay gratification. Part of this means a student is able to keep commitments even when they are no longer new or novel. They can commit to continue doing what is right even when they don’t feel like it.
2. A mature person is unshaken by flattery or criticism.
As people mature, they sooner or later understand that nothing is as good as it seems and nothing is as bad as it seems. Mature people can receive compliments or criticism without letting it ruin them or sway them into a distorted view of themselves. They are secure in their identity.
3. A mature person possesses a spirit of humility.
Humility parallels maturity. Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less. Mature people aren’t consumed with drawing attention to themselves. They see how others have contributed to their success and can even sincerely give honor to their Creator who gave them the talent. This is the opposite of arrogance.
4. A mature person’s decisions are based on character not feelings.
Mature people—students or adults—live by values. They have principles that guide their decisions. They are able to progress beyond merely reacting to life’s options, and be proactive as they live their life. Their character is master over their emotions.
5. A mature person expresses gratitude consistently.
Mature people see the big picture and realize how good they have it, compared to most of the world’s population.
6. A mature person knows how to prioritize others before themselves.
A wise man once said: A mature person is one whose agenda revolves around others, not self. Certainly this can go to an extreme and be unhealthy, but I believe a pathway out of childishness is getting past your own desires and beginning to live to meet the needs of others less fortunate.
7. A mature person seeks wisdom before acting.
Finally, a mature person is teachable. They don’t presume they have all the answers. The wiser they get the more they realize they need more wisdom. They’re not ashamed of seeking counsel from adults (teachers, parents, coaches) or from other sources. Only the wise seek wisdom.
I hope the insights by the different psychologists will help you develop into a better person; a matured leader of tomorrow.