Deepen Your Emotional Maturity & Trust Your Feelings When Under Stress
Often people come to me to bounce off life experiences — to either feel validated or get a reality check. They’ll say something like, “Maria, does this seem right to you? Is it okay to feel what I’m feeling?” I really appreciate being in their life this way. And I love seeing how their mindfulness deepens and adds richness to their emotional maturity over time.
Being mindfully aware of how we feel in our emotions and in our body and then making intentional choices in response is how we manifest emotional maturity. We own our feelings and the path we choose, without complaining, blaming, or making excuses.
This process of emotional growth never ends, because you experience new situations and new feelings. And your current well-being plays a huge part — what you can handle one day may seem overwhelming when you’re overly tired, undernourished or dehydrated.
Even when you have emotional maturity, there will be times you don’t trust your feelings, your intuition, or your gut. For example:
Recently, a mature and self-assured teacher shared with me that she was shocked and mystified when a colleague who was a highly esteemed professional became unexpectedly defensive and proceeded to berate her and shame her.
Obviously, this person was triggered by something and she was not aware in the moment. Later, when the teacher went back again to try to understand what had happened, she was met with more defensiveness, blaming, shaming and finger pointing.
The teacher felt confused and disoriented. She tried to be kind and gentle but there was no awareness or compassion available for the other person. These experiences are unfortunate. Even though, we all get triggered at times, our ability to re-center, gain perspective and acknowledge our contribution to a situation is vital to getting through life.
It’s beneficial to question yourself in the sense that you take a moment to step back to re-examine and make sure of your feelings. It becomes harmful when you doubt yourself and change your course of action to one that is out of harmony with your values, purpose, or intentions…you say or do something you later regret. I appreciate how Charlotte Maloney says this so well:
“So do not ignore your emotions. Instead, recognize them, step back to make sure they are not overpowering your ability to act, and determine how you can channel them to act in a productive manner. If you are able to do this, you will become a master of emotional maturity.”
Keep in mind that weak spots in our emotional maturity may show up when we face upsetting events that trigger strong emotions. How can you create consistency in the way you behave, irrespective of what’s happening?
7 ways you show you have emotional maturity when facing key moments in life…
- I am mindfully present. Life happens in the moment – the past is for memories; the future is for possibilities. By being present, you tap into your innate power as you observe the event, become fully aware of your reaction and consciously make YOUR best response.
2. I make peace with ‘what is’. Some realities you choose; others you inherit. Some can be changed; some can’t. These are your living boundaries. Be realistic about your situation and look for ways in which you can be content with your present circumstances. If you’re unhappy with something, honestly take stock of it and empower yourself to change it. Denying, resisting, avoiding, complaining, and refusing to think about uncomfortable realities will keep you stuck.
3. I am responsible for me. How you think, feel and act is your choice. You may be influenced by other people or circumstances, but these do not determine your choices. You regulate how much influence they have. The quality of your life depends on you making choices consistent with your best self and long-term well-being, despite what happens.
4. I know what I want. You’ll be able to quickly re-center, when you have a clear vision for your life. You’ll resist impulsive actions and the desire for immediate gratification. Keep your best interests front and center and draw on your inner strength, self-discipline and motivation.
5. I take meaningful actions. Taking a holistic approach to life, you consistently take baby steps that move you closer to your vision. While skill development is important, you don’t neglect things that nourish your spirit. It’s never a waste of time to include beauty in your life.
6. I make commitments and honor my integrity. Take a stand for what you believe in and align everything you do and say with that. Mindfully say ‘No’ to things that create disharmony, such as escapism, avoidance, or self-indulgence. Honor your ‘Yes’, and be willing to pay the price, as you keep your commitments to self and others.
7. I choose compassion over ego. As interdependent beings, we must be mindful of how our actions affect others. Be a good listener to fully understand all aspects of a situation. Ask for feedback. Operate more from a position of being of service rather than being self-serving. Work to bring your community together. Look for ways you can make a difference.
Steve Jobs powerful describes the way we can approach each defining moment with emotional maturity and success…
“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your job is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again. By being open-minded and flexible, you open up the possibility of changing the world around you. As a result, you become more proactive rather than responsive to your emotions.”
Your influence over self and others grows as you display consistent, positive behavior. If you’d like to delve into this deeper, I invite you to download my free eBook, 10 Steps to an Embodied Practice: Leading to a Deeply Fulfilling and Rewarding Career as a Therapist and Coach. This eBook is primarily for therapists and coaches, however, the principles apply to everyone. Learn how to unlock your power to practice embodiment, as you value, motivate, and bring out the best in yourself and the people around you.