“You find maturity through knowing what you’re going to do and, not only concerning yourself with the present, but thinking about the future as well.”
This was how a friend of mine described maturity to me. It was not in those exact words, but I hope she could forgive me for paraphrasing. After she said it, she asked me what I thought maturity was. I couldn’t come up with an answer I was confident in at the time, but I found myself having a hard time agreeing with what she had suggested. It didn’t seem like enough to me. Her idea seemed too simple.
I feel I do agree with her, in part. Maturity has a great deal to do with awareness. One must be aware of what affects oneself and what one has an affect on in order to carry themselves in accordance with maturity. But, it would be erroneous to say that knowing what you were going to do, or knowing what you wanted to do, was the fundamental element of maturity. There are a great many people who are uncertain of the path they wish to take, and to think these individuals would then be unable to carry themselves in a mature nature is unfair. Furthermore, there are people who know what they want and are going after it by egregious means. If that defines maturity, I think we need to reevaluate the way we value the quality.
Albeit, maturity is a state of knowledge. It is a state of knowing what to do, what not to do, and how to be in accordance with oneself. The most difficult part is not deceiving the self. People talk, and they like to talk in a way that makes them feel like they are in control. They want to know they have things figured out. So, when people talk, if they do it well, it is easy to be swayed by one person or another and feel like they have some secrets to life that you must follow. This is a trap. Other people, and the things they have to say – their opinions, their ideas, their beliefs, their experiences – are valuable, but they do not apply to everyone. It is a mistake to be under the impression that something someone else says is directly related to you. There is value in the words of others because it opens a window to the realm of their experiences, but that does not always mean their words are poignant onto your own life.
The mature understand this, and they will listen, they will learn, but they will not be easily changed. This does not mean the mature will never be affected by others. That would be more in accordance with arrogance or stubbornness. In fact, the mature will be affected by all they come into contact with because they recognize everything has some importance and relevance, even if it is not directly onto the self. In this awareness is another important trait to maturity. It is impossible for one’s beliefs, hopes, desires, intentions, and acts, to always be in accordance with those of the people they meet. This does not make the other person wrong or evil, it only makes them different. The mature can recognize and respect different paths chosen. Sometimes, the best thing to do is step aside. The mature is aware of moments to engage in interaction and moments when it is wise to sever ties. Maturity does not need to destroy others to reach it’s goal. The mature understand that every step taken against another is merely a way to compile wrath against the self.
Now, I must concede that I’ve said a great deal about awareness being an important part of maturity. It is important to know yourself so that you will not let the wrong people have too strong an effect on you., and it is important to know what your actions do to others. But, I also stated that I felt not knowing what you wanted to do or what you were going to do should not be a vital part of maturity. It is easy to fall on contradictions. The mature will do it, and the immature will do it far more often. It is something in life that is difficult to avoid, but the mature become aware of their contradictions when they are revealed and make an attempt to correct them. It is through correcting these inconsistencies that one becomes closer to discovering what is best for them, what it is they truly want, and where they want to be.
It might be best to define maturity as a journey of progress. A journey of learning about the self with and through other people. It does not require a perfect set plan, but it does call for progress. It calls for a direction and a meaningful intent in that direction, even if it turns out that it won’t be the right one. Maybe this definition doesn’t fit perfectly for everyone but, in an attempt to abide by one of the frameworks I’ve already laid, that’s okay. People have different experiences that result in differing opinions. Neither are right or wrong, they are just the result of their own experience.
What do you think?
What part of this definition of maturity do you agree or disagree with?
How do you define it yourself?
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Thanks for reading.
Peace be the Journey