Life is riddled with obstacles and difficulties, particularly when you have a disability. It’s easy to get lost in or held back by your emotions. We all do it. It’s OK to feel disappointed. But, we cannot allow ourselves to get stuck there! We must learn to overcome disappointments and setbacks. That is a sign of Emotional Maturity. That is where your road to success begins.
“The quality that distinguishes a successful person from an unsuccessful one who is otherwise like him is the capacity to manage disappointment and loss.” – John C. Maxwell
You may be reading this and thinking that this article doesn’t apply to you. It does. Emotional Maturity is not a destination at which we arrive, but a direction in which we move throughout our entire lives. What’s more, your emotional maturity, or lack thereof, will impact every aspect of your life, from relationships, to job success, to confidence, and more. It’s that important! Keep reading…
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I overly sensitive?
- Am I easily offended by corrections or constructive criticism?
- Do I blame others for the problems that befall me?
- Do I complain a lot?
- Am I overly argumentative?
- Do I lack respect for others’ feelings and needs?
- Do I expect others to cater to me?
- Do I experience excessive self-doubt?
- Do I avoid change?
Chances are you answered yes to at least one of these questions. If you’ve answered yes, there is room for growth. Please read on.
What is Emotional Maturity?
Emotional Maturity is having “an awareness of your actions and feelings and how they affect those around you. It also means that you value others, listen to their wants and needs, and are able to empathize or identify with them on many different levels.” [Source: Mindtools.com] It involves self-awareness and self-control as well as the desire and ability to understand where others may be coming from.
It takes a conscious effort and daily practice. You are never too old to begin improvement. Start today.
“All of our habits are acquired. We’re not born with any of them. We learn them, just as we learn our attitudes. They develop over time and are reinforced through repetition.” – Hal Urban
Did you read that quote at the top of this page? It’s easy for us to dismiss our behavior as simply being a part of who we are. How many times have you said, or heard others say “that’s just the way I am.” That statement implies that there is no room for change or improvement, that you have already done all of your growing and learning. In reality, borrowing from Albert Einstein, “once you stop learning, you start dying.”
Remember, to learn is to live. We can acquire new habits and attitudes. With time and practice, we can improve. Will it be easy? No, of course not. But things that are truly worth it never are.
Emotional Maturity is a Lifelong Journey
We have written a full length article that can be accessed online by visiting the link at the bottom of this post. In the meantime, here are a few strategies to get you started.
1. Practice observing your emotions and how they make you feel
Emotions are often involuntary. We rarely observe them, because we are simply too busy having them. Creating a habit of observation will allow us to better understand when and why we are most emotional.
2. Become aware of your behavior in response to your emotions and how those behaviors impact your relationships
Humans are emotional creatures; that is what sets us apart from other animal species. However, if we allow our emotions to drive our behavior, we begin to lose control. We can easily offend people. We can hurt people. We can hurt ourselves. Observe how you behave when you feel sad, angry, overwhelmed, or anxious. How do people react to you under these circumstances?
3. Learn how to feed and act on the right emotions
Negativity breeds negativity. Positivity breeds positivity. We can surely all attest to these truths. Therefore, it can be argued that acting in a positive way, despite your negative emotions can help you build positive emotions.
4. Practice responding with conscious thought rather than reacting
Emotional outbursts…they happen to the best of us, but with observation and practice, we can control them if not stop them all together. Even just the slightest pause can help curb our reactions.
5. Hold yourself accountable for your emotion-driven behavior
We must recognize the power our thoughts, words and actions have in our own and others’ lives. Take responsibility and hold yourself accountable for events that result from your behavior.
6. Practice empathy
This may quite possibly be the most important step. We must make an effort to develop a deeper understanding of others’ feelings and from where they may be coming. Empathy alone could diffuse countless battles. It will make us a better listener, a better communicator, a better debater. It just makes us better.
For more, download the complete article: The Key to Landing and Keeping a Job for Individuals with Disabilities: Soft Skills: Emotional Maturity