Would you consider yourself an “emotionally mature person”? What do you think is the difference between emotional maturity and emotional immaturity? While it may be hard for some of us to put into words, we all understand that maturity is more than just a matter of age. And emotional maturity, most of all, doesn’t come easy. It’s something even the best of us find ourselves struggling with for years.
Simply put, emotional maturity is all about the way you treat yourself and those around you. Emotionally mature people are understanding, empathetic, and considerate of others. They have a secure sense of self-worth and they’re always in control of their emotions. They’re honest to themselves about who they are and they live their lives with a sense of inner peace no obstacle or difficulty will ever be able to shake.
If you’d like to start trying to be a better, more emotionally mature person today, then here are 8 things emotionally mature person don’t do:
Arguably the most important hallmark of emotional maturity is the ability to keep our emotions under control. No matter how stressful or upsetting the circumstances, emotionally mature people always know better than to let their feelings get the best of them and make them say or do things they’ll later on regret. But emotionally immature people? They don’t know how to keep their emotions in check so they overreact to everything! They have a short temper, have frequent mood swings, get angry when things don’t go their way, and they don’t know how to deal with difficult situations in a calm and constructive manner (Saul, 2007).
2. Hold Grudges
Think back on the last time a friend or family member hurt you. Did you hold a grudge against them about it? Was it even worth fighting about in the first place? While it’s only natural for us to feel upset, disappointed, or frustrated with the people we love for doing us wrong, we shouldn’t hold it against them forever, especially if it’s just a little thing they didn’t even mean to do. It takes a lot of maturity to be able to forgive someone who hurt you, and even more to try and understand things from their point of view. But emotionally mature people are empathetic, considerate, and forgiving; while those who are not tend to be petty, spiteful, and vindictive (Sharma, 2012).
3. Emotionally Blackmail People
Do you know what the term “emotional blackmail” means? A concept popularized by psychotherapist Susan Forward, emotional blackmail is a common dynamic in many toxic relationships wherein one tries to control and manipulate the other through tactics such as fear, obligation, and guilt (Pastey & Ambinbhavi, 2005). And though it may seem like such a terrible thing to do, people who lack emotional maturity tend to rely on emotional blackmail to get what they want and have the upper-hand in their relationships. Common examples include: giving someone the silent treatment; withdrawing affection; acting passive-aggressive towards them; and threatening to end the relationship or replace them with someone else.
4. Deny Their Problems
Another thing an emotionally mature person would never do is run away from their problems and live in denial of them. Because no matter how hard things get, someone with emotional maturity would understand that overcoming our problems, pushing through our struggles, and facing our fears is the only way we can truly grow as a person. They’re resilient, flexible, resourceful, and optimistic about the future. They don’t waste time running away or avoiding their troubles because they’re honest with themselves about who they, what they want, and what they’re willing to do to get it.
5. Blame Others
Always blaming other people for the things that go wrong in our lives is an unhealthy way of coping with the shame and guilt we feel when we do something wrong. People who are quick to play the blame game and point their finger at everyone but themselves lack the self-awareness to own up to their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions. And until they learn how to hold themselves accountable and deal with the consequences, they will never really grow up.
6. Beat Themselves Up
Aside from never being able to take responsibility for their own actions, another way emotional immaturity may manifest is through constant and excessive self-criticism (Nicholls, Levy & Perry, 2015). Do you easily get mad at yourself for even the tiniest of mistakes? Or beat yourself up over things that aren’t even your fault? Well, an emotionally person wouldn’t because they understand the value of self-love and self-compassion. They don’t set themselves up to fail by setting unrealistically high expectations for themselves and they find it easy to forgive themselves for their honest mistakes.
7. Act Self-Absorbed
Emotionally mature people have a secure sense of self-confidence. They don’t crave attention or validation from others because their self-worth comes from within. And as a result, emotionally mature people are often humble, generous, and altruistic. They don’t feel the need to be the center of attention all the time or serve their own self-interests. They’ll never demand that you give in to what they want or do as they say because they don’t have a sense of entitlement. They genuinely care about other people and know how to put their loved ones’ needs ahead of their own when need be (Leung & Sand, 1981).
8. Always Need to Be Right
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, an emotionally mature person doesn’t feel the need to always be right. They’re not interested in getting everyone to praise them or agree with them because they’re open-minded people who value the perspectives and opinions of others (Hyatt & Hyatt, 2007). So if you ever find yourself in an argument with an emotionally mature person, they won’t ever try to convince you that your opinion is wrong. They’ll most likely smile, say “I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree,” and that’ll be that.
So, do you relate to any of the things we’ve mentioned here? Are you sometimes guilty of doing any of these very same things? Even if you are, don’t worry. Like we said, emotional maturity takes times, but it’s a great quality we should never stop striving towards. Because it speaks volumes about our character as a person and it can go a long way in strengthening our relationship not only with others, but also with ourselves.