MATURITY

When we’re young, we are immature. We are vulnerable. We can easily be led astray. It is not an insult, but rather a natural starting point for growth and maturity.

What defines Maturity? Is it based on how tall or stout we are? To gain an in-depth understanding, I will like to start with a quote from Samuel Ullman

Maturity is the ability to think, speak and act your feelings within the bounds of dignity. The measure of your maturity is how spiritual you become during the midst of your frustrations.

To refer to maturity without being clear about what it means can lead to confusion.  We must therefore grab hold of this concept by its horns, wrestle it to the ground, and yank off its mask.

Under most laws, young people are recognized as adults at age 18. But emerging science about brain development suggests that most people don’t reach full maturity until the age 25. Most of the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood are legally granted by the age of 18. That’s when you can vote, enlist in the military, move out on your own, but is that the true age of maturity? A growing body of science says, no. That critical parts of the brain involved in decision-making are not fully developed until years later at age 25.

In psychology, Maturity is the ability to respond to the environment, aware of the correct time and location to behave, and knowing when to act, according to the circumstances and the culture of the society one lives in.  Adult development and maturity theories include the purpose in life concept, in which maturity emphasizes a clear comprehension of life’s purpose, directedness, and intentionality, which contributes to the feeling that life is meaningful.

People nowadays have been stunted in their maturity. They seem to require more time to actually “grow up” and prepare for the responsibility that comes with adulthood. This is a result of many factors, including well-intentioned parents who hover over kids, not allowing them to experience the pain of maturation. It’s like the child who tries to help a new butterfly break out of the cocoon, and realizes later that they have done it a disservice: That butterfly is not strong enough to fly once it is free.

The status of maturity is distinguished by the shift away from reliance on guardianship and the oversight of an adult in decision-making acts. Maturity has different definitions across legal, social, religious, political, sexual, emotional, and intellectual contexts. The age or qualities assigned for each of these contexts are tied to culturally-significant indicators of independence that often vary as a result of social sentiments.

People studying the body often talk about maturity as it relates to bodily changes.  Thus, as children mature they grow taller, and as they mature more, men oftentimes grow facial hair, their voices deepen, etc.  When I talk about immaturity and maturity, I am not referring to bodily changes but more of emotional maturity.

To have emotional maturity, then, is to have a specific control over one’s emotions. An emotionally mature person has experienced the spectrum of emotions, understands the consequences of each, and knows the benefits of being in control of them. Most importantly, an emotionally mature person knows what kinds of things sets off different emotions in them, and they know how to identify each emotion, clearly. They don’t fall into a panic trying to determine what they feel, and how they should react. They know, and they manage themselves accordingly.

A mature 10-year-old is aware of who can run the fastest in his or her class at school, who is the best at math, and other comparisons. This helps children differentiate their skills and attributes from an early age. By recognizing where they have strengths, and where they may need to focus more attention, kids can feel a sense of self-efficacy—and finding an area of strength can help develop self-esteem.  —Hilary Levey Friedman, professor of American Studies at Brown University.

A mature 18-year-old is able to declare wants, needs, and beliefs. Self-maintenance is also important: In my experience, if there is one predictor of how well a kid will be able to cope with the demands of independence, it is the management of money. Some kids are at the mercy of their own impulses, still caught up in the tyranny of now.  —Carl Pickhardt, psychologist and lecturer in Austin, Texas.

A mature 29-year-old has a well-established identity. This means deciding what kind of life you’re going to live. It’s knowing what direction you’re going in, in terms of work; having a committed relationship, or at least knowing what you want from one; and having confidence that you know what you believe about things—values that you trust and that guide your decisions. —Jeffrey Arnett, professor of psychology at Clark University.

A mature 40-year-old is able to benefit from experience. In relationships, it’s knowing the buttons that get pushed easily and how to control those buttons: You can reflect on something that used to make you fly through the ceiling, and say, “I know why this is bothering me, and I’m not going to respond as I used to.” —Susan Krauss Whitbourne, professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

A mature 55-year-old is selective about relationships and priorities, able to focus his or her social life around people who are rewarding, and gently move away from those who are not. This person begins to focus more on experiences and other people than on things as sources of meaning and pleasure. He or she sees setbacks as opportunities for growth and change. —Karl Pillemer, professor of human development at Cornell University.

A mature 70-year-old has the ability to take stock of what has happened so far and to think about what it means for what’s yet to come. Such people can consider what kind of legacy they want to leave behind and the value of their lives to the broader society. They are able to focus on the more positive aspects of everyday life. —Dawn C. Carr, research associate at the Stanford Center on Longevity.

I believe psychological maturity is reached when persons choose to be responsible for themselves and holds themselves accountable for their own attitudes and actions. A person who hasn’t reached that point in themselves blames others for their own actions, acts out of a space of vengeance and uses their own emotional reactions as a threat to control others.

What happens in emotional maturity is that the brain prunes itself, going through changes that will allow a young person to move into adult life effectively. “Ineffective or weak brain connections are pruned in much the same way a gardener would prune a tree or bush, giving the plant a desired shape,” says Alison Gopnik, professor of child development at UC Berkley.

As evidenced by neuroscience, the frontal cortex—the seat of judgment, self-control, and sensible planning—matures very gradually into early adulthood. It is out of sync with the early development of the emotional brain, and as a result there is a gap between early sensation seeking and later self-discipline.

Adolescents experiencing these brain changes can react emotionally, according to Ian Campbell, a neurologist at the U.C. Davis Sleep Research Laboratory. Mood swings and uncooperative and irresponsible attitudes can all be the result of these changes. Sometimes, students can’t explain why they feel the way they do. Their brain is changing from a child brain to an adult brain.

Sexual maturity is the capability of an organism to reproduce. It may be considered synonymous with adulthood, but, in humans, puberty encompasses the process of sexual maturation and adulthood is based on cultural definitions. Sexual maturity is brought about by a maturing of the reproductive organs and the production of gametes. It may also be accompanied by a growth spurt or other physical changes which distinguish the immature organism from its adult form. These are termed secondary sex characteristics, and often represent an increase in sexual dimorphism. For example, before puberty, human children have flat chests, but adult females have generally larger breasts than adult males. However, there are exceptions such as obesity and hormone imbalances such as gynecomastia.

Spiritual maturity is achieved through becoming more like Jesus Christ. After salvation, every Christian begins the process of spiritual growth, with the intent to become spiritually mature. Christian maturity requires a radical reordering of one’s priorities, changing over from pleasing self to pleasing God and learning to obey God. The keys to maturity are consistency and perseverance in doing those things we know will bring us closer to God. These practices are referred to as the spiritual disciplines and include things such as Bible reading/study, prayer, fellowship, service, and stewardship. No matter how hard we might work on those things, however, none of this is possible without the enabling of the Holy Spirit within us.

The ultimate aim of effective social development in status-hood is the attainment of social maturity. A social mature adult shows a few important characteristics. He is able to adapt himself successfully to his fellowmen and to adapt his fellowmen to himself. It includes such behavioural forms as group compatibility, kindness and sympathy, fair play emotional adjustability, courtesy and politeness, dependability, self-confidence, co-operation, leadership and cheerfulness…

What are the marks of maturity? We all love it when we see a young person who carries themselves well and shows signs of being mature. They interact with adults in an adult manner. Those people are downright refreshing and make major strides in every aspect of their lives.

  1. A mature person is able to keep long-term commitments. One key signal of maturity is the ability to delay gratification. Part of this means the person is able to keep commitments even when they are no longer new or novel. They can commit to continue doing what is right even when they don’t feel like it.
  2. A mature person is unshaken by flattery or criticism. As people mature, they sooner or later understand that nothing is as good as it seems, and nothing is as bad as it seems. Mature people can receive compliments or criticism without letting it ruin them or sway them into a distorted view of themselves. They are secure in their identity.
  3. A mature person possesses a spirit of humility. Humility parallels maturity. Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Mature people aren’t consumed with drawing attention to themselves. They see how others have contributed to their success and can honor them. This is the opposite of arrogance.
  4. A mature person’s decisions are based on character, not feelings. Mature people—students and adults—live by values. They have principles that guide their decisions. They are able to progress beyond merely reacting to life’s options, and be proactive as they live their life. Their character is master over their emotions.
  5. A mature person seeks wisdom before acting. Finally, a mature person is teachable. They don’t presume they have all the answers. The wiser they get, the more they realize they need more wisdom. They’re not ashamed of seeking counsel from adults (teachers, parents, coaches) or other sources. Only the wise seek wisdom.

Becoming more mature positively impacts every area of your life. People respond better to maturity than immaturity, and in return, life becomes easier for you.

The first step in gaining maturity as an adult is to understand you need wisdom. In all thy getting, get wisdom and understanding; because the world operates under these principles. The Bible states emphatically that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So surrender in complete reverence to the fear of the Lord and in due time, you shall gain the Wisdom of Solomon.

Next, develop your interests. Lacking dynamic or developed interests or hobbies might contribute to your seeming immature. Finding something that you enjoy doing and becoming an “expert” at it can make you seem more experienced and mature. It will also give you something to talk about with others, whether or not they also participate in your hobby.

In addition, set goals and work towards them. Part of maturity is being able to assess your current strengths, determine areas that you need to improve, and set goals for the future. Keep the future in mind and let it inform the choices you are making about your life right. Once you have set goals that are clear, actionable, and measurable, take action to work towards them.

Know when it is okay to be silly. You do not have to be serious all of the time in order to be mature. Real maturity is to know your audience and figuring out when it’s appropriate to be silly and when it’s important to be serious. It’s good to have different levels of silly so you can scale your actions appropriately.

Finally, be respectful of others. We all have to live in the world together. If you do things to intentionally annoy others, or if you do whatever you want without keeping the feelings of others in mind, people may view you as immature. Trying to remember the needs and wants of other people around you will help you cultivate a reputation as a mature and respectful individual.

In ending, shall we revisit this quote from Gordon B. Hinckley

The willingness to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity. It is one of the great virtues to which we all should aspire. Imagine a world filled with individuals willing both to apologize and to accept an apology. Is there any problem that could not be solved among people who possessed the humility and largeness of spirit and soul to do either — or both — when needed?

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day!

Eliezer

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Aj says:

    Am always impressed when I read any of your articles. I just like the fact that you inco-operate religious aspects in it. Reading your articles always teaches me something new. Thanks and we would be waiting for the next chapter.

    Like

    1. Eliezer says:

      Adjoa! I am glad I am being given the title of a lecturer via my posts.. i feel privileged to be teaching. Thanks for reading and I hope to come your way with more

      Like

  2. phinciknows says:

    Good! I’ve learned something new: that there’s actually scientific literature on maturity. I’m so doing psychology after undergraduate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eliezer says:

      Psychology welcomes you with open arms and a warm embrace after completing school. Its been a while! I trust you are doing well?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. named.com says:

    It’s also a vital check on the wellness of your eye.

    Like

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