“Youth ends when egotism does; maturity begins when one lives for others.” ― Hermann Hesse
There are certain terms we all like to throw around without understanding what they actually mean. Maturity is one of such terms. How to be more mature? Many people ask this question at some point in their life.
The problem with understanding “maturity” is not that it is some incredibly complex and utterly ambiguous term. On the other hand, it is usually challenging to master because it can sometimes appear so simple.
To make matters even more complicated, the term “maturity” also takes on a whole lot of different meanings to different people. To learn how to be more mature, though, it is essential that we first get a deeper meaning of what the term means.
○ What Does it Mean to be Mature?
Some would define maturity as the feeling of being physically grown. To others, it is a measure of how calmly certain types of people respond to uncomfortable situations.
At the end of the day, no matter how different our definitions and perspectives of maturity are at the surface, deep down, the basic principle of the term remains the same.
It is simply a measure of how astute we are in responding to complex challenges in our environment. Maturity levels can also indicate a clear vision of purpose and intentions in life.
Generally, those who have a clearer vision of their purpose and objectives in life tend to act with a more mature mindset than those who don’t.
○ Does Age Have Anything to Do With Maturity?
Contrary to many popular beliefs, maturity is not a direct consequence of age.
There is no denying that the more time we spend on earth interacting with our environment, observing and learning from our mistakes, and those of other people, the more mature we get.
This is not to say, though, that the only way to be mature is to have spent the most time on earth. In many situations, the most mature person in the room is not necessarily the oldest.
Again, maturity is a measure of how well we can deal with incidents that occur in our environment. But it is also a measure of how quick and willing we are to make these observations, correct our errors, and initiate adjustments that put us in a better position to deal with these circumstances a lot better in the future.
Since many of us tend to learn, observe, and process information faster than others, it is possible for a much younger person to be more mature than an older one.
Emotional Maturity & Intellectual Maturity
Seeing as there are quite a few facets of human relationships and interactions, it only makes sense that there should be quite a few facets of human maturity, too. To this end, we have physical, ethical, and social maturity.
However, without a shadow of a doubt, two of the most basic forms of maturity are emotional maturity and intellectual maturity.
○ Emotional Maturity
When many people make mention of the word maturity, they usually mean emotional maturity, which is a consequence of “emotional intelligence”.
Emotional maturity is the ability to process the emotions of life experiences properly. So the signs of emotional maturity are that one can identify their emotions, feel them fully, and healthily express them. Emotionally mature people can always keep their emotions in check no matter how critical the situation.
If you are not emotionally mature, it means that you are not able to manage your emotions. You might be easily agitated or sad. And when faced with adversity, you will not know how to react or cope with the situation.
○ Intellectual Maturity
Intellectual maturity is the ability to reason, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, and learn from one’s mistakes. Intellectual maturity is an essential component of cognitive intelligence.
In simple words, it is the person’s ability to deal with situations outside our comfort zone with the right amount of thoughtfulness. Whenever intellectually mature people are thrown into situations that require a judgment call based on complex factors, they usually end up making mature decisions with a positive attitude.
○ Maturity test
It is indeed possible to understand our level of maturity in life. We can do this by being constantly aware of our reactions to social, ethical, emotional, and intellectual challenges in our daily lives.
It is also possible to do this by taking our minds back to recent events. How did we respond to a recent stressful situation that required self-control? Did we manage to keep our composure or lose our cool? How did we feel afterward?
If we leave a challenging situation feeling bad and uncomfortable, there is a good chance we may have lashed out, lost all measures of self-control, and made a wrong decision instead of mature conscious decisions. It is alright, though, seeing as no one is a hundred percent perfect in life.
Mastering the art of maturity is a never-ending task. Everyone can learn how to react to tricky situations and challenges in life better. Everyone can learn to be more composed and methodical in their reactions.
Below are 8 simple and effective ways to understand how to be more mature in life.
8 Simple and Effective Ways to Be More Mature
Just like the entire concept of maturity itself, the steps involved in mastering it are quite simple yet elusive. Here are some of the most simple and most effective methods on how to be more mature.
1. Listen More and Talk Less
Listening more and talking less seems like such a simple rule to live by, yet it is one of the hardest principles to stick to within real-life scenarios.
Talking too much is generally frowned upon in society, and everyone knows this. When we talk too much, we remove any element of mystery we may have about ourselves; we put ourselves at the mercy of others, and what’s worse, people get tired, bored, and irritated by us quite quickly.
Why, then, do so many people talk so much even when they know about all of these negative thoughts and consequences? They do this because it takes little effort to know that we are talking too much when we’re the ones doing the talking.
Hence, being mature means, we must take special note of how much we speak and know that speaking does not usually make us right. More often than not, it is infinitely more advisable to listen more and talk less.
2. Consider multiple perspectives
“Maturity, one discovers, has everything to do with the acceptance of ‘not knowing.” ― Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
It is all too easy to be vindictive and annoying when we think that we’re the only ones with the right perspective in life. This is also a very common deficiency. We’re only humans, after all.
We think our personal opinions are the only right ones. We disregard other people’s opinions and wish everybody could see the world the way we see it.
Maybe we’re right sometimes, but nobody is right all the time. This is why we must, at all times, consider every scenario from the perspective of others by adoption perception checking. How does this person see this? What are they considering that I’m not? Am I wrong to be so adamant? Being a open-minded person is a sign of maturity.
An immature person sticks to the wrong path because they are too vain and self-obsessed to care about the perspective of others. They believe that they don’t need to because their thoughts and beliefs are the only things that matter.
A sign of maturity is always leaving space to consider different possibilities even as they pertain to the same scenario.
3. Build Self-Confidence without Rigidity
Directly related to the point above about considering multiple perspectives is building self-confidence. How are they related? Well, too many people confuse rigidity with self-confidence. It is worth mentioning that they are two terms that couldn’t be any more different.
Matured people consider multiple perspectives, but they are ultimately assured of their final decisions thanks to their self-confidence. Many rigid and chauvinistic individuals justify their rigidity by claiming it as self-confidence and self-esteem.
A mature person knows how not to fall into this trap. The life goals of a matured mind is to strike the perfect balance between self-confidence and consideration for others.
So, unlike an immature mind, we’re not trying to be center of attention, not always looking for approval from others, and yet we’re able to consider their input and perspectives when it matters while having great confidence in ourselves and our ultimate mature decisions.
4. Accept Yourself, People, and Situations
Acceptance is another vital step in mastering maturity that seems quite simple at the surface but is incredibly challenging to put into practice. Of the three facets of acceptance practices in life, accepting oneself is without a doubt the most difficult.
Accepting people requires a deep understanding of bigger picture and how society works. Society consists of different people with different minds. This diversity is an important aspect of having healthy relationship with the society and helps us all be better in life.
Accepting situations is quite challenging because we usually feel as though we deserve better than our current situations. Always remember, though, in our whole life, everything happens for a reason (Both positive and negative outcome). Before we can do anything to change it, we must first accept it and not complain about it.
Lastly, accepting ourselves must be the starting point to any other form of acceptance. If we can’t accept our own selves, we’ll find it hard to accept others. Quite ironically, before we can make ourselves better and enjoy life’s good fortune, we must first accept ourselves for who we are.
5. Get Incessant Mind Chattering Under Control
Sometimes our greatest enemy is right within us. This is none other than that voice inside our head that never stops talking. It never stops telling us how inadequate and inept we are.
This voice is usually what forces us to react to situations in the wrong way. Capitalizing on our deep-seated insecurities, the voice pushes us to lash out without thinking.
Widely recognized spiritual leader Eckart Tolle discusses the idea of “inner mind chatter”. He says that this is a little voice inside our head that is constantly talking to us. To counter the incessant mind chatter, he suggests that we choose one thought at a time to focus on.
To further understand how the mind works and what one can do about this, check out the book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. This book has been a fundamental text for the mindfulness movement.
6. Avoid Responding to Insults
One of the fundamental tests of identifying a mature man is to observe how they react to insults. Nobody wants to be insulted. Usually, it is a confirmation of so many of our insecurities and weaknesses.
So whenever an immature person receives an insult, they lash out and respond with more insults of their own. Before you know it, the situation escalates, and both parties come out of the situation worse off for it with no one taking responsibility.
To take a tangible step on your journey towards maturity, you must learn how to not respond to insults. Of course, it is easier said than done, but once you have the right mindset, it becomes easier to deal with.
So, what is the right mindset? The right mindset knows that people insult you to elicit a response from you. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
Recognize that nobody is perfect. When they insult you, focus on your strengths. Believe in your uniqueness and good deeds. If needed, provide a mature response with spirit of humility in mind. Do this, and their insult will bounce off you as though it was never there.
7. Take a Step Back Before Making Decisions
When we make decisions in the heat of a moment, we tend to make mistakes. Immature people act immediately when things are still tense, and their emotions are all over the place.
Mature minds take a step back, get their emotions under control, and only make decisions once they are much calmer and in a better place psychologically.
Once you master the art of taking a step back before making important decisions, you master the art of self-control. By mastering self-control, you attain a level of maturity that very few ever reach.
○ Don’t React to your every Emotion
In other words, learn to let little things go. An immature mind always feels the need to react to everything. It shows in their body language. When we react to our every emotion, we’re actively ensuring that we always remain a slave to them.
When they’re happy, they go on a rave. When they’re sad, they go on a fit. When they’re angry, they throw a tantrum. This is clear sign of emotional immaturity. However, an emotionally mature person knows that emotions tend to change very quickly. They keep their emotions in check so that they are never at their mercy.
8. Understand The Importance of Silence
Silence is power, but many people don’t know this. People who keep quiet are usually regarded by many in society as shy and weak. This could not be farther from the truth.
Silence is mystical. Silence keeps people guessing, so they never know what we’re up to. They never know our strengths. Of course, once they can’t predict our next move, they can never stop us.
This is something mature people usually master to the fullest, while immature people never can. It usually takes little effort to maintain silence in the midst of noise because it tests us. People attack at every angle to get us out of our comfort zone, and we feel the need to respond.
This, though, is the best time to maintain silence.
In the end, once they see that they cannot get to us, they start to respect us more. They start to reverence you. This is the importance of silence. This is how you become a mature person.
Maturity demands that we respond to different situations with the same level of calmness and expertise. This is why the whole idea of maturity is never a direct consequence of old age alone. Our levels of maturity get better with experience, observation, and learning, all of which can be mastered fairly easily in life before it’s too late.
Of course, the importance of mastering maturity in our current world climate cannot be over-emphasized. There are so many challenges and so many people who want to see us fail that we can’t afford to add to all of the adversity by being our own worst enemies through immature behavior and reactions.
Once we learn how to build self-confidence without being rigid, keep our emotions in check, and recognize the importance of silence, we’re very well on our way to mastering maturity and carving out a much higher chance for success in the real world.