7 New Thoughts About Adulting That Will Turn Your World Upside Down
There comes a point in your life when you begin to realize that chronological age has nothing to do with being an adult. Experience does not make you smarter, better, wiser, or more complete. Doing grown-up things like having sex, drinking, smoking or having a job does not an adult make. Adulting is not about any of those things. There is no correlation between time and maturity. Unlike plants that grow and mature if nourished properly, people who have love and nourishment may never grow into maturity. Why? Because being an adult has nothing to do with your safety, security, or well-being.
Emotional maturity is not childish
My rude awakening came as a young mother. I suddenly realized that I was responsible for more than myself. When I looked into the face of my son, I realized that his existence depended upon me. I was 18 years old.
Mature adults take responsibility for their actions
Accepting responsibility is about choosing our own responses to life. It is about owning what shows up in our life by recognizing we have we always have a choice. It is easy to say "they" and "them." Blaming others for your own plight is a great way to avoid taking responsibility for your choices. And not taking responsibility for your choices is childish. Adulting is about owning your responsibility to choose.
“Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.” ― Maya Angelou, Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now
I was embarrassed to be a young mother. I felt the weight of responsibility on my shoulders. It was not easy but I gathered my resolve and made a choice. I decided that unloading my responsibility was not a choice. I stepped off the road and took another direction. I chose to be an adult.
Responsibility can be stressful
But responsibility does not come without its own set of consequences. It is stressful. Attempting to navigate disappointments and life's difficulties can leave us tired and depleted. At that moment, we become vulnerable to the string-pulling of others. (string-pulling = manipulation and control)
As a young mother, I tried to pretend that I had it all together. I pushed myself to conform to the expectations of other people just to feel accepted...and loved. This state of mind leaves you vulnerable to the string-pullers - the people who like to manipulate and control others. "Mature people love best." - Dr. Alen E. Nelson
Becoming emotionally mature requires you to step into adulthood and out of the valley of other people's expectations. When you choose our own path and commit to becoming an adult, it changes everything. Just like responsibility, commitment is a choice. Commitment is mature love. And it is not based on emotion. Mature love does not get into string-pulling. Controlling and manipulating others is a sign of emotional immaturity. When we try to control situations, people, and outcomes, we are not standing in our own strength. It is a sign that we are weak. Holding on to what we cannot control is a sign that we are not standing in mature love. We choose to trade mature love for the illusion that we are in control. We are never "in control." Life is a dance of decisions, responses, choices, and consequences.
At first, I tried to control my situation. But it only led me deeper down the rabbit hole.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked."Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
The only way to break free is to become an adult. Adulting is about establishing healthy boundaries that love without controlling or manipulating others.
Key Ways to Measure Your Emotional Maturity
Know who to trust and trust them
Find comfort in other people's strengths
Listen to understand
Understand with empathy
Support others to live their own way
Have confidence in yourself and those you trust
Questions to Clarify My Emotional Maturity
Do I require people to earn my trust?
Are the people that I choose to trust worthy of my trust in them?
Do I accept others without judgment?
Am I negative and critical?
Do I celebrate other people's gifts, talents, and abilities?
Do I ask for help when I need it?
How well do I listen?
Do I listen with a third ear?
Do I connect with other people's pain?
Can I cheer for others to succeed in their own way?
Do I accept other people where they are?
Am I confident in my own strength and ability?
Am I comfortable depending on others to help me?
7 Keys to Emotionally Mature Adulting
Know who to trust and trust them. Who you trust is as important as how much you trust. Trust people who are trustworthy.
Be open-minded. Understand that there is always another point of view. Stay open to other viewpoints.
Find comfort in other people's strengths. Accept that you can't know everything or be all things to all people. Lean on others.
Listen to understand. Hear what the other person is saying. Listen to the message and not your interpretation of the message.
Understand with empathy. Connect to what the other person is feeling. Try to imagine what it would be like if you were that other person.
Support others to live their own way. Accept people where they are. Don't dump your expectations on other people.
Have confidence in yourself and those you trust. You can't do it all on your own. Learn to depend on trustworthy people.
My adulting began the day that I chose to accept responsibility as a young mother. It was a choice made out of love. And it was the beginning of my journey to emotional maturity. My journey was not struggle-free. And your journey won't be struggle-free either. But I can tell you this: on the other side of the journey is love, peace, and joy. And that makes it worth the struggle. I am cheering for you!