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Emotional maturity is a huge part of growing up. It includes a wide array of skills such as identifying emotions, processing them in an appropriate manner, being sensitive to how others feel, and letting your own feelings guide you towards fostering healthy relationships.
These skills take time to understand and hone, even for those of us who are naturally emotionally intelligent, empaths, or highly sensitive people. But regardless of how you are wired, if you pay attention to your inner world and practice making decisions that honor it, you will reap its benefits over time.
Emotional maturity is built slowly, with equal parts resistance and resilience. If you’ve been leaning into an emotionally mature life, you will relate to the following.
1. You do not follow your first impulse to lash out when you are upset or angry.
2. You know that a lot of your responses are based on emotional triggers from your past that have nothing to do with the current situation.
3. You treat yourself with empathy for those responses.
4. You extend the same understanding and empathy towards others.
5. You can tell when your emotions cloud your thinking and choose to return to the situation with a clearer mind.
6. You know that eventually, all pain subsides. You can keep that perspective and still allow yourself to feel the pain you do.
7. You know how to sit with uncomfortable feelings like guilt, shame, jealousy, and envy.
8. You accept the feeling of anger and know when to let it simmer and when to embody it.
9. You know that everyone feels emotions, whether they show it or not.
10. You understand that your outer world has a direct link to your inner world.
11. You understand that emotional labor is energy spent.
12. You know your energy reserves, priorities, and who you would like to spend your time on.
13. You can identify the different ways anxiety feels and know when you avoid, procrastinate, and feel weighed down because of it.
14. If you are a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), you know that there’s a whole different list that applies to you! You’ve found a small community for yourself, in-person or online.
15. You understand that people take their own time to emotionally open up to someone new.
16. You understand that people don’t always want to talk about their feelings, regardless of how close you are.
17. You know how to hold space for someone to share without interrupting them or projecting what you feel.
18. You understand the fundamental differences between introverts and extroverts and know that both come with their unique set of strengths.
19. You know that healing and growth are both messy, nonlinear, lifelong processes and don’t feel the need to master either.
20. You know that kindness can look like a lot of different things.
21. You know that you can’t always tend to your emotions. Sometimes, you have to fulfill the demands of the external world and return to your inner world when you have the time.
22. At times when you don’t know how to relate to someone else’s pain, you can stay curious and listen with an open heart.
23. You understand that a high level of emotional maturity often comes with privilege. You grant gracious allowances to those who grew up at a different time or haven’t had the opportunities you have.
24. You don’t try to read people’s minds or assume what they are saying. You ask for answers you need and work with what people share.
25. You know better than to always take yourself seriously.
26. You know that different people feel their emotions with different intensities and that feeling more deeply is neither superior nor inferior.
27. You know when to express how you feel and the degree to which you must open up, depending on the person you are speaking with and the relation you share.