Emotional Maturity: What It Looks Like
Some people are adept at managing their emotions better than others. These people can be characterized as emotionally mature people. They are better able to navigate through the wide emotional spectrum where others often end up feeling overwhelmed with emotions. And that’s the difference between emotional maturity and immaturity.
Of course, other factors also play a role when it comes to managing emotions – from personality to self-control and from temperament to attachment styles – everything plays some or the other role.
However, there is one aspect that specifies how well someone can manage or handle emotions during distress or other unexpected situations. During these stressful times, the ability to manage emotions without losing one’s composure is called “emotional maturity” or being emotionally mature.
In this Blog, we’ll take a look at the signs of emotional maturity and how you can improve your emotional maturity.
What Does It Mean to Be Emotionally Mature?
Many people often get confused between emotional maturity vs emotional intelligence. Let’s clear that up first! Emotional maturity can be defined as being able to identify and maintain one’s emotional composure during distress whereas emotional intelligence means being able to identify and label one’s emotions.
Emotional maturity is also about understanding what you’re feeling, the ability to express emotions healthily, and recognizing emotions in others as well. As you grow old, emotional maturity isn’t always assured. Childhood experiences, parenting styles, and other relationships you form during childhood and adulthood can all play a role in your being emotionally mature.
A psychologist defines emotional maturity as, “the art of being self and socially aware when it comes to recognizing emotions in yourself and others.”
Let’s take a look at the signs of emotional maturity below.
10 Signs Of Emotional Maturity
1. You Take Responsibility For Your Emotions
If you are emotionally mature then you are aware of your emotions and will take responsibility for them as well. This means you do not blame others for what you feel. You allow yourself to be accountable for what you’re feeling. Instead of complaining about your distress or the unexpected situation, you take action to improve your situation.
2. You Are Empathetic
Emotionally mature people are quite empathetic and approach life by helping and supporting others around them. You understand the value of putting yourself in others’ shoes and how others feel. You are concerned about others and are always striving to help them.
3. You Own Up To Your Mistakes
You are not afraid of owning up to your mistakes when you do something wrong. You make no excuses for your mistakes and will admit them while coming up with ways to fix the situation. If you’re emotionally mature, then you don’t feel the need to be right and will acknowledge that you can make mistakes and might not have all the answers.
4. You Are Not Afraid Of Being Vulnerable
An emotionally mature person is not afraid of being vulnerable. You’re willing to open up and share your feelings and struggles with your trusted ones to feel less alone. You don’t strive to be “perfect” and acknowledge that imperfection is just as good. You try to be honest with yourself about your feelings and are true about your actions.
5. You Recognize And Accept Emotional Needs
An emotionally mature person will recognize and accept their emotional needs as well as of others. You are not afraid to admit when you need help or when you find yourself on the brink of burnout. You’ll recognize that you need time away for yourself and you’ll communicate with others to work on them.
6. You Understand How Emotions Are Stored In Your Body
An emotionally mature person is aware of their emotions and where they come from along with where they are stored in the body. Being self-aware of those emotions, they can easily manage and regulate them without letting their emotions affect their emotional, mental, or physical health.
7. You Don’t Hold Grudges
Even if someone did something wrong, you don’t hold grudges against them. While you’ll disagree with them, you won’t hate on them just because you have a different perspective. You understand that holding grudges won’t help you deal with their actions or will pacify your emotions.
8. You Appreciate Little Things In Life
As an emotionally mature person, you understand the importance of little things in life and appreciate the little joys life brings. An emotionally mature person understands that it does not take much to enjoy happiness and that life is all about ups and downs. You don’t let life’s little adversities drag you down.
9. You Know How To Express Emotions
An emotionally mature person knows how to healthily express their emotions. You know the value of expressing yourself – feelings and thoughts – and don’t let them come in your way. To you bottling up emotions means a one-way road to further distress, so you have learned how to express your emotions.
10. You Remain Calm Even During Distress
The ability to remain calm and composed is another trait or sign of an emotionally mature person. You don’t let challenges in life drag you down and make you feel overwhelmed instead you remain calm and allow yourself to manage your emotions even during stressful situations.
What Causes Emotional Immaturity?
Knowing what contributes to your emotional immaturity can help you understand how you can grow and become emotionally mature. Some common reasons you may be emotionally immature can include;
- Childhood trauma (such as childhood neglect, abuse, etc.)
- Low emotional IQ
- Unable to stay in the present moment
- Poor sense of self
- Poor sense of identity
Here’s an example that can help you understand emotional immaturity better; You are arguing with your sibling and say something hurtful in the heat of the moment. Here, you did not take time to consider your sibling’s feelings, and just for the sake of the argument, you brought up past disagreements and fights. During all this, you also refuse to take responsibility for your actions.
Having a sense of accountability shows that you are not afraid of criticism and learning from your mistakes. This is a sign that you are emotionally mature. When you go against everything and lash out without considering the consequences, this shows that you are emotionally immature.
It’s also important to understand that having grown up with emotionally immature parents can also influence your emotional maturity. Emotionally immature parents have a relationship where you can’t express or meet your emotional needs. This means that you don’t grow up feeling comfortable with your feelings and don’t have a bond with your parents that is based on trust.
Without that trust and connection, you feel lost and grow up with stunted emotional development. Not only that, but emotionally immature parenting can have effects well into your adulthood as well, including;
- Having feelings of anger, resentment, and betrayal
- Loneliness and trust issues
- Poor boundaries with others
- Low self-esteem and self-compassion
- Risk of depression and anxiety
How To Improve Emotional Maturity?
One of the best ways to understand how emotions are affecting you and your health is through journaling. Journaling can help you express what you’re feeling and label your emotions. This is also a great tool for self-awareness. If you’re not sure where to begin, you can start by naming colors that align with your emotions.
Also Read: 55 Journaling Prompts For Self Discovery
2. Appreciate Your Emotions
Emotions are less scary when you remind yourself that they are your body and mind’s way of telling you something. Try to appreciate your emotions and look at them as messengers of your body and mind.
3. Set Boundaries
Emotionally mature means you are all aware of your boundaries and make others aware of them as well. You should understand that when constantly hanging out with people who drain you of your energy, you erect a boundary to protect your self-respect and feelings.
Also Read: How To Set Healthy Boundaries For Yourself and Keep Your Energy Intact
Final Thoughts on Emotional Maturity
Emotional maturity is a broad concept that includes communicating, recognizing, and handling your emotions even when in distress. It’s OK to not know if you’re emotionally mature or not. I hope these signs of emotional maturity help you understand yourself.
If you’re stuck and don’t know how to manage your emotions well, then it is recommended that you seek a mental health professional’s help. With enough patience, effort, and time you can learn to become emotionally mature one step at a time.
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Thank you, this article is very helpful for me and hopefully will help me to improve my emotional maturity!