How do we know if we have reached emotional maturity?

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It isn’t usually on our list of ‘must haves’ and ‘can’t stands’ but emotional maturity is a vital ingredient in developing happy, lasting relationships Many people say they feel younger on the inside than they are on the outside and being in touch with your childlike nature and having a youthful, optimistic outlook are all good qualities. Emotional maturity isn’t about losing any of them but more about having developed the skills to cope with the ups and downs of life while still having lots of fun.

Here are the main characteristics to look out for:

Objectivity

Someone who is emotionally mature will be able to stand back from a situation and view it objectively. Even though they might be deeply affected by what is going on they are not swept along by their emotions instead they are able to remain calm as well as involved, a great person to have around in a crisis.

Can cope with criticism

This is a vital quality to develop especially when it comes to relationships. People who can’t cope with criticism tend to get defensive and argumentative in the light of any negative feedback making it impossible to negotiate boundaries which are necessary for developing intimacy.

Perspective

An emotionally mature person will be able to place themselves in someone else’s shoes and see their point of view. This means that they are less likely to do things that are hurtful or cruel because they can fully imagine what it would feel like to be on the receiving end of it. Rows and disagreements are more likely to stay balanced and constructive and in relationships they are able to emotionally support a partner as they have a strong sense of empathy.

Good with people

Emotional maturity brings with it an appreciation of all people and the importance of treating everyone with respect. As we mature emotionally the self obsession of youth leaves and we begin to see that everyone is unique and valuable in their own right. In a relationship a person who has developed this quality is great because they will get on well with your friends and family and will shine in social situations.

Makes decisions based on facts rather than on feelings

This is an important aspect when it comes to dating as many people are so governed by their feelings that it stops them from getting what they really want out of life. The number one offender is fear – some people don’t go on dates, won’t call and ask for a second date or speak up when there is a problem because they are being ruled by their fear of rejection. At the other end of the spectrum there are people who get so overwhelmed by positive feelings they rush headlong into risky situations because they haven’t stopped long enough to consider the facts. Feelings aren’t facts and allowing them to run your life is unlikely to help you get what you want.

Able to put the past behind them

This is really important when it comes to developing a new relationship. No-one wants to be with someone who is full of resentment and bitterness about the things that have happened to them. Everyone has a past and has been hurt at some point but not everyone will carry it with them and let it stop them from ever being happy in the future. Holding onto anger against someone who hurt you is a little like taking poison yourself and hoping the other person will die – it only damages you and the other person is probably getting on with their life totally unaware. Setting the past free and making peace with whatever happened to you is a sure sign of emotional maturity.

Honesty and willingness to change

Most people live in denial about things until the day comes when they are ready to take a good long look at themselves to see what is no longer working in their lives, careers or relationships. Seeing what needs changing is only part of the story, the emotional maturity begins when this awareness is followed by action.

Everyone is a work in progress but it is easy to see how developing emotional maturity will benefit relationships and help us to live in a more balanced, healthy way.


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