The dictionary defines maturity as the state of being mature. A rather redundant and vague definition, but it implies that you have fully developed–grown. But, how does one measure maturity? What does it mean to be mature?
Many believe that age is a good barometer. However, some elderly people are very immature and some young children are wise beyond their years. So, age has nothing to do with maturity.
I, unfortunately, cannot give you a specific definition of what it means to be mature. But, here are some signs that can give you some idea if you are maturing or not.
- You realize how little you know about life.
The older I get, the less I know about life. Ideas and concepts that seemed so simple now feel more complex and profound–they strike a different chord. It is difficult to describe, but this new understanding comes from seeing, listening, and living more. You witness and experience things that challenge your old way of seeing things.
With age, it’s easy to become arrogant. Many people rely on their years and use them as a way to assert authority. They pretend to know everything and as a result, become domineering. They speak foolishly about things they don’t know.
But, as you mature, you realize you don’t have the answers to everything and there is so much you still do not know.
- You listen more.
As a result, you become more inclined to listen. Not hear. You listen with the intent to know more about the world, yourself, and others. You also listen to find the intent behind people’s words.
- You stop carrying so much about what others think.
Another reason why you might listen more is that you no longer feel the need to defend yourself from others. As children and adolescents, we tend to try to prove ourselves. Whether it is to our friends, families, or others. We try to make our way in the world and convince others of who we are.
The same applies to arguments. We try to defend our point of view and ideas by arguing what we feel is right. Or, by making excuses for ourselves.
As you mature, you start to realize that your actions are louder than your words. Hence, you no longer feel the need to care about what others think of you or prove to them otherwise. You start to care more about what you think and what you can prove to yourself.
- You prioritize your well-being.
Another sign that you are maturing is that you care about your well-being. You stop sacrificing your well-being for something else. When we are children, we do not have a concern over our well-being because that is our parent’s concern. This idea travels with us when we are teens.
When you become an adult, you realize that you have to start carrying about yourself. You make efforts to eat better, work out, and sleep before 1 am. Slowly, you realize that your health is a priority.
- You learn to be gracious and grateful.
Many of us tend to focus on the negative things in our lives. While this phenomenon is easily explained via evolutionary psychology, it is not an excuse to remain attached to negative biases. Yet, many of us, unwittingly, choose to do so. But, as you mature, you become more self-aware.
You notice your negativity more, you question it, and then you try to change it. You learn that unforced gratitude keeps you from your negativity. And, even if whatever you are going through does not present you anything to be grateful for, you’ve realized that failures, losses, and other negative moments are opportunities.
- You take responsibility.
Another sign of maturity is responsibility. this is partly the reason why we assume older people are mature. They tend to have more responsibilities; therefore they must be mature. However, you can still have many responsibilities and behave irresponsibly.
Responsibility is more than taking care of your chores. It is holding yourself accountable for your success, failures, and every moment in between. It is the ability to see beyond how your actions affect you.
Regardless of age, those who learn how to be responsible are already maturing.
- You are humble.
One last sign that you are maturing is if you learn humility. Humility is not meekness. Humility is a quiet strength that comes from knowing and believing in your worth. It comes from confidence. But, confidence and knowledge can transform into arrogance. Arrogance is the opposite of maturity. Arrogance comes from trying to mask insecurity.
But, humility is accepting your insecurities and strengths. It is also being secure in the knowledge of who you are.
Maturity is susceptible to many factors because it all depends on how you approach each moment you experience. You won’t always behave with maturity, and that’s fine. Life sometimes presents you with something you were unprepared for. So, think of maturity as a cliff against the sea. It braves the waves of the sea the best way it can.