What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of maturity? Do you associate it with age; the older a person is, the more mature one will be? Or maybe your mind brings you to the mango tree in your backyard, how the colour of the mangoes have changed from green to yellow, and how the beak and shoulders of the fruits have filled out.
The word maturity is derived from Latin word, Maturus, which means “ripeness”. This is a specialised term for fruit.
Also, what if we tell you that age is just a number and it has no guarantee of maturity? Would you believe it?
With that said, below are 7 signs you are maturing (even if you don’t think so!):
- You discuss ideas, not people.
All of us perhaps have heard of this classic adage by Eleanor Roosevelt before, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
When you converse with your friends, what do you usually talk about? Are you talking about the weather and how it is becoming warmer and brighter? Or is your main point of discussion about one of your friends’ personal and intimate details? There is nothing wrong to talk positively about a person whom you admire. However, a problem arises if you feel good or somewhat satisfied when you keep talking about a person in a negative light. Maturity is when you move away from talking negatively about people to talking about ideas.
- As much as you love anyone else, you also love yourself.
“I’m not worthy of love.”
Has the above thought ever crossed your mind? Or perhaps, are there incidences where you doubted yourself? Maybe you think you don’t deserve to feel happy or receive anything good. One sign of maturity is when you break away from needing validation from outside sources. Maturity is when you care for yourself as much as you care for others. Like Princess Diana of Wales has once said, “Everyone of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves.”
- You take responsibility for all that is yours.
When you have made a mistake, are you swift to deflect it to other people, or do you set aside your ego and own up to it? Being responsible means owning your mistake and imperfection. When you avoid making excuses and don’t point fingers at other people, you show maturity. However, sometimes the scale can tilt in the opposite direction. Maybe you feel overly responsible for taking on everyone’s task. Perhaps you are someone who assumes that you are doing something wrong when your loved one has a bad mood. Holistically, being mature means you own your blunders, but at the same time, you are not people-pleasers who repress yourself to minimise conflict.
- You understand that not everything requires your opinion.
When your friend shares an opinion about a specific issue, do you tend to add unnecessary input? Maybe you notice that their take is wrong and you can’t help to correct them. You feel that you simply need to give your opinion as it meets your need for significance. You thrive on being viewed as smart. There is simply nothing wrong with giving your opinion. However, you need to be aware of your intention. Are you serving yourself without actually thinking about what the other person needed or didn’t need to hear? One of the signs of maturity is realising that not everything requires your opinion.
- You know how to give and receive
When someone compliments you, what is your response? Do you accept it with ease and gratitude, or do you tend to minimise it? The act of giving has always been celebrated in society at large. You learn how to be a great giver. However, you find it difficult when it is time for you to receive. Even though giving is gratifying, it can only be effective if someone receives it graciously without feeling guilty or undeserving of the gift. Giving others a chance to give while also becoming a giver is truly a sign of maturity.
- You quiet the voice in your head that insists that something is always wrong.
Have you ever noticed the tiny little voice in your head, the one who’s unceasingly narrating your life as it unfolds? Perhaps your teacher compliments how well you complete the homework in front of the whole class. Then, the voice inside your head said, “The teacher is just being nice. My essay is not perfect. I mean, she’s a teacher, so she’s just doing her job, right?” Maybe your inner narrator keeps telling you to do more and be more. It tells you that what you are doing right now is not enough. Being mature means you can breathe and tell yourself that where you are at and what you are doing is enough. You trust that you are doing the best you can to cope, and it’s enough. You are enough.
- You manage your emotions instead of being controlled by them.
When your emotions are running high, have you ever uttered something awful that later makes you regretful? Or maybe you are met with a genuinely disheartening experience, but you repress and suppress your sadness because you want to look strong to other people. Indeed, sometimes when you feel so overwhelmed, you cannot control your emotions like you control your room heater by setting the dial in your thermostat. However, you can learn to manage your emotion. One sign of maturity is when you do not immediately offload your emotion. You learn to identify it, sit with it, and accept it. When you are mature, you are able channel your emotion in a constructive over destructive way.
Age isn’t a measure of maturity – it’s built through experience. It is the ability to respond, cope, and reason appropriately for the situation. Occasionally, we all exhibit knee-jerk reactions and childish behaviours—even people who are considered wise beyond their years or who are patient and discerning slip up occasionally.
Maturity is a lifelong process. Despite reaching adulthood, someone or situation can bring out the adolescent within us, and we say or do things that we later regret. Therefore, it is important not to beat yourself up but instead continue to practice maturity in everything you do.
Coller, Nancy. (2017). How to quiet the little voice in your head. Psychology Today. Retrieved March 29, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/inviting-monkey-tea/201710/how-quiet-the-little-voice-in-your-head
Martin, Sharon (2019, May 31). What is self-love and why is it so important? Psych Central. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/imperfect/2019/05/what-is-self-love-and-why-is-it-so-important#Putting-self-love-into-practice
Raypole, C. (2020, April 28). How to control your emotions: 11 strategies to try. Healthline. Retrieved March 29, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-control-your-emotions#read-the-room