Being emotionally adult doesn’t depend on the age, we can see people with the age of 35 or 50 acting like a small child or a child with the age of 11 acting like a responsible adult. What are exactly the key capacities of an adult behaviour and mature relationships?
When we are talking about being an adult the first thing which pops up in people’s mind is responsibility.
Responsibility for actions: often we can’t control our thoughts and emotions in a certain moment but when we act deliberately we control that, indeed.
Responsibility for fate: an adult is an active participant of what is happening with or around him/her. His/her own belief is being the one who is able to shape own life. If something is going wrong, knowing that he/she has part in it and not looking herself/himself as a victim who is submitted to life or others. So, if she/he doesn’t like something willing to change.
Responsibility for own words: doesn’t feed anyone with promises or make them rashly.
Responsibility for making decisions: deliberately setting up goals and go for them. An emotionally adult person can decide what is important in her/his life and makes a sacrifices for it.
Exist independently – independency
Independency is connected to reach the responsibility level. An adult is able to make decisions without waiting for others’ guiding. Able to create security and asks help just if she/he is stuck or doesn’t know something. Establishing financial independency is important for creating security.
Own reality – stable identity
Finding own personality is one of the objective of adolescence, so having a fully developed and mature identity is one of the most important part of being an adult. Knowing that who I’m and what I’m capable of. Emotionally mature people are able to see themselves from outside and make efforts to create own image by everyday experiences. They have a clear view about their negative and positive characteristics and able to see their relationships real. They make efforts to know their driving forces which are under the surface and difficult to detect them. Emotionally mature people let themselves to feel own emotions but when it’s time to act they make rational decisions. They are able to handle separately the emotional and intellectual-conceptual processes and choose by which they are going to decide. They live by their own values and guiding principles, in unity with themselves. Part of being emotionally mature also is not reacting defensively for feedbacks. They don’t deny negative critics obviously, they are happy when they get constructive critics and opened to explore new things for expanding their knowledge.
The presence of us – mature relationships
Emotionally mature people strive for equality in their relationships not like emotionally immatures. Emotionally childish people react for old, often unsolved conflicts and easily assume a character a parent or a child. Who is emotionally mature doesn’t want to see just the security provider parent in her/his partner since she/he is able to provide that without others. Wants a person who is equal and learns to give and get love.
Sometimes we don’t work in “adult mode” and completely normal to feel hurt when we get a negative critic. However we can have a fruitful and happy life if we have established the “adult mode” as a basic condition.
How can we become emotionally mature?
According to Eric Berne (transaction analyses) we work in different modes in social interactions. He separated three modes, like child mode, adult and parent mode. The child mode is the source of emotions, intuitions, needs, creativity and life energy and works mainly based on personal experiences. In adult mode a person works like a computer, based on facts and information instead of intuitions.
In adult mode a person solves problems logically and doesn’t let taking possession of the child or the parent mode. The adult mode calls out equality in relationships.
What kind of skills we need to learn to become emotionally mature if it hasn’t happened yet?
- Be present!
Emotionally mature people’s relationships are built on presence needs instead of the past. Here and now philosophy is very important because that’s how we learn to decide responsively. When we are present we become more aware of happenings and our own reactions and helps to avoid acting on a usual, negative old way. Being present gives us the awareness and the control. Think of an important happening! What did cause your reaction? What did you think when you experienced it? What kind of feeling did you feel? What was the outcome of the situation? If we asked this questions from ourselves we would be able to find the answer in which situations we feel good or bad. We are able to see patterns and figure out when we actually have a choice. With this kind of “outside” view we are able to get know ourselves which is the basic stone of a stable identity.
- Accept the reality!
A lot of people think that reality is actually subjective. However there are parts which exist independently from an opinion. Some real elements are chosen by us, like who with we get married for instance, other elements we owes or can’t be influenced, like our figure. Often is difficult to see what we can change and what we can’t. In the development of emotional maturity we are able to explore what we are able to change. If we accepted and respected our reality we would have a better chance for having happiness and effectiveness than to fight against. With denial, complaining or the refusal of thinking about uncomfortable reality elements we just run away from the reality what actually we live in. For instance if you worry about your relationship, sit down and think what is exactly bothering you. How did it become a love-less relationship? When did it start? What is your part in this change? Nobody said that these things are good to think of, but the opposite because this way of thinking is a kind of stepping out from the comfort zone. But if we became aware of this part that would give us back the control and after the supporting to find the solution how to change it.
- Take responsibility!
Responsibility is one of the key element of adulthood. The quality of our life depends mainly on what kind of decisions we have made or if we have set up the right goals. We believe some situations didn’t depend on us, we didn’t have a choice or it was not our fault. Are you sure? We all know things don’t happen just like that, we have influence on them. Try to break your negative patterns, see and understand them before react, we always have a choice how we act. Keep in mind your long-term goals and try to eliminate those behaviours which can hinder your achievements. We always have a choice how we act in a situation!
- Make our perceptions clear!
We become happier when we are able to set up a satisfying and mature goal and when we have the internal motivation to reach it. We must know what we would like/want to reach. If we knew what the most important or significant thing in our life it would be easier to think and act in important situations. With keeping in mind our goal we are able to see the optimal outcome. Without clear goals we might get easily disturbed by circumstances and impulses. Define what your desires are! Often our desires are out of our comfort zone but that doesn’t mean they are bad.
- Do for your goals and be authentic!
Being responsible for our own words is also an important part of being an adult, what we want is in tune with what we say. Our precepts and actions are correlated. Choosing commitment and discipline instead of easy solutions and comfort. For instance our business partner (who with we have a great relationship) is setting up a database but we don’t like its structure and we know using it is going to bring some annoyance to us. When it’s coming to talk about it we can decide not mentioning our problem with it. We are able to maintain our relationship with him/her but we become annoyed every time when we use it. Or we can decide that standing up for our opinion, even if it brings some arguments. At the first choice we don’t even give a chance to change. (Typical in very conformist or co-dependent people) but at the second after few uncomfortable minutes we may be able to set up a database system for our future success. In this example you can see that we must pay prices to reach long-term goals. We might get into an uncomfortable situation or we might don’t feel secured for a while. This is the price of our precepts and desires become real.
Becoming emotionally mature is a long term process and it doesn’t work by itself. What we can do is awaking, paying attention and taking responsibility. Paying attention to ourselves is the first step because without it all the others are impossible to be done.