I believe a person is emotionally mature when they reach a point in which they are better at handling life’s troubles and, therefore, have more time to enjoy its pleasant and recreational aspects.
Perhaps the main trait of a mature person is their tolerance to the inevitable frustrations and setbacks that happen to us all. Tolerating frustration well does not mean it doesn’t cause suffering, or even not doing our best to avoid it. A high tolerance to life’s pain requires docility; an ability to absorb blows as quickly as possible, to be free of sadness or resentment over the event.
Mature people also get upset when frustrated, but they don’t “take out” their anger on others who have nothing to do with what happened. Freud believed that maturity meant substituting sadness for anger; I think he was right. I added another ingredient to this formula: we should also get rid of sadness as fast as possible.
Emotional maturity is very much connected to what is called today emotional intelligence (EQ): an ability to relate to all sorts of people, avoid unnecessary conflict, and even to harmonize conflicting interests and work toward building a positive and pleasant environment. Therefore, mature people also seek moral evolution, which makes them act with equity and grant equal rights to all, including themselves.
People with a high EQ also tend to be emotionally stable: their moods are not unpredictable. Of course, being stable does not mean always being happy; well-balanced people’s moods respond to what’s going on, but sadness is experienced with dignity.
People who tolerate frustration better, are morally evolved and have stable moods inspire trust in those who live with them, which makes them good romantic partners, friends, business partners and work colleagues.
Maturity comes with a series of qualities, all of which bring a lot of satisfaction to those who reached this point. It goes without saying that we are always evolving and should never believe we are “done.” Constant evolution tends to determine a positive mindset and fair optimism regarding the future – yes, because people who are always growing can expect good things from the days to come.
Maturity is also characterized by a sense of personal responsibility, and solid discipline: it means keeping all our emotions, especially laziness, under rational control. Strong rationality also controls and manages envy, jealousy, erotic and romantic desires, as well as anger and aggressiveness. Being in control of oneself does not mean repressing, much less refraining to act on emotions; it just means that emotions are rationally analyzed, and only manifest themselves when appropriate. This is yet another reason why mature people are trustworthy: they have control over themselves.
The more emotionally evolved tend to be more daring and determined to accomplish their goals. They are less afraid of occasional – and inevitable – failure, because they believe to be strong enough to overcome the pain that comes with losing. They actually learn from their mishaps, acknowledge what went wrong and move on, even more optimistically and bravely. They tend to achieve better results than those who are restrained and overthink everything, characteristic of those who fear the suffering that comes from facing risks.
At last, we must accept an essential aspect of our condition, in order to live in peace and joy: we are governed by what I call the “principle of uncertainty”; that is, we don’t know the answer to the most crucial questions our existence: what is the meaning of life, where did we come from, where are we going and how long we will be here. It is on this quicksand that we must build our castle, with optimism and persistence, even knowing it can come down at any minute.
Tradução: Amanda Morris