When you spend time counseling people, it’s easy to recognize that our world doesn’t lack in the area of intelligence, rather it struggles with overcoming emotional baggage.
The world places great emphasis on I.Q.; they fund and develop individuals by providing bursaries to further their education but unfortunately they fail to build emotionally stable individuals.
The simple truth is this: You can possess all the knowledge in the world, but if you lack emotional maturity, you will still bring less to society than a person who might know less about what the latest text books says, but who is able to handle the pressures of any given situation.
Often caught up in educated minds, there is a small child that doesn’t know how to handle being told “No”.
Many try and deal with such individuals by handing out more information, hoping to make them “smarter” about life in order to see them move forward.
Intelligence has its part to play, but if people are not able to deal with the pressures of life in a mature way, that intelligence may be lost to the world.
Sadly, we find a lot of intellectual, emotionally damaged individuals seated in positions of power. This doesn’t bode well for the people they oversee as they end up causing greater damage in the long run.
The way you react matters
I see many individuals who try and portray emotional maturity by either choosing to hide how they really feel or deny (to themselves and those around them) that they have the entire situation under control.
While this seems like a good way to appear mature, especially by not lashing out at those around them, this is certainly not what true emotional maturity is. Sooner or later a situation will catch up and how you deal with it then matters just as much as how you would have dealt with it in the beginning.
The key words being: “Deal with it.”
Hiding your head in the sand won’t lead to maturity.
There really is no way around it; all of us must learn how to deal with our problems. The sooner we learn how to deal with those internal struggles, the sooner we will be able to move forward and mature.
We need to keep in mind that people don’t just react negatively to those around them; they do it because they don’t know how to deal with their unresolved hurts.
Knowing how to do something and actually implementing it is two different things. This is definitely something our society struggles with; having all the knowledge at a click of a button, yet being unwilling to put that information into practice.
This marks the difference between knowledge and wisdom, intelligence and emotional maturity. One knows and the other simply does.
A good indication of someone’s maturity is in how they react to a situation and then to those around them.
Maturity is built on our past experience
All emotional hurts which hinder our ability to mature stems directly from one place, the past. We carry this with us into the present and into the future.
You will often discover that at the time of trauma, people do not always know what is happening to them. The reason many people still sit with those hurts many years later, is because they are plagued by what they could have done differently at that moment.
Unfortunately no amount of wishing will ever take them back to that moment.
The only choice now is, either:
- Choose to walk around with that pain and the many “what if”’ or “what only” questions; or
- Recognize the moment and choose to build on it / solve it.
This is how maturity works: it doesn’t wish away, hide or deny a situation; rather it chooses to reflect on how the situation was handled and then decides to deal with it now in a different way.
With each attempt to approach the situation differently, you will eventually arrive at a place where you are able to find what works and the peace to move forward.
This is how emotional maturity works. It is a journey in dealing with the past in a manner that will show others how to do the same in order to move forward.