Cultivating a Mature Mentality

Cultivating a Mature Mentality

ma·tur·i·ty (m-ty r-t, -t r-, -ch r-) n. pl. ma·tur·i·ties. 1. a. The state or quality of being fully grown or developed. b. The state or quality of being mature.

To me, this definition is rather depthless. Despite describing a complex subject matter, it barely skims the surface of the profundity of the topic. What is emotional or cognitive maturity? Maturity can be crudely described as “the state or quality of being mature.” The question is; what exactly is maturity? Apparently, an individual is fully mature once he or she has reached the full potential of growth and development. Yet, does a person ever truly stop growing and developing? Does one fall into a near catatonic state at some point and resolve, “I have grown and developed. I feel I am finished with both. I shall no longer strive for maturation or growth. In fact, I will refuse to even let the natural synchronicities of life enact growth or development upon me. From this point forward I shall be static and immovable!”? Is this a conscious decision or does this quandary come about naturally? If there is indeed a group of people who possess this mentality, is there then not a contrasting group that holds the position of, “I shall never stop growing and developing. I refuse to let progress evade me! I will not allow myself to go through the rest of my like lacking purposeful advancement and I will stay fully alert and present in the Now.”?

So, factors dictate who is in each group?  Is it possible to purposefully cultivate one of these mentalities? Contrastingly, is one’s approach toward growth and development solely dictated through life experiences (e.g. theory of behaviorism) and is it then unable to be altered be a conscientious decision to strive for fruition? If maturity comes exclusively through life experiences, then it is impossible for one to force maturity upon oneself. In this case, a person must wait for growth and development to transpire naturally. Personally, I think humans have the capability to incite self-growth. Providing maturity can be cultivated within a person, what must a person do to ensure that this action transpires? I suggest that there is not a singular route a person should take, but many potential means to this continual growth…

I believe it is possible for an individual to be figuratively carried on the backs of those surrounding him and never fully internalize  growth or development. While some legitimate progression may ensue – simply by being surrounded by those with a higher level of development – I question how much a person is genuinely influenced if he or she does not internally adopt the higher level of maturation. In these cases, it may appear that full development and growth has occurred, but how is one to determine authentic maturation from a [possibly unintentional] façade of complete development? Is it possible that one could simply mirror the maturation of others?

Can it be that maturity in its entirety is simply a byproduct of internalizing the belief that growth and development should be a constant, interminable part of life that one must constantly work to cultivate? Friends, I hope to glean knowledge from your words and solace from your wisdom. Think deeply about your own growth and development. Is it stagnant and resistant to progress? If so, consider what you can do to ensure that you foster continuous growth and development within your own life. In fact, I request that you take this even a step further and contemplate how you can inspire growth and development in the lives of others so that they may be aided on the boundless path of maturation.

Namaste,

Andrea

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61 Responses »

  1. “I believe it is possible for an individual to be figuratively carried on the backs of those surrounding him and never fully internalize growth or development. ” Yes I believe so.
    “Personally, I think humans have the capability to incite self-growth. Providing maturity can be cultivated within a person, what must a person do to ensure that this action transpires? I suggest that there is not a singular route a person should take, but many potential means to this continual growth…” I am with you on this too, Andrea.

    To me some important answers are: reading and personal experience (esp. relationships). A really good reading habit since adolescence is very helpful with emotional growth, and prepares one better for loss, pain, fear, dissapointment — all of them become more severe and regular once one enters the adult world.
    Leaving parents home, hometown, even home country also helps :) so one learns to build relationship with the outside world and others in a more independent way. It also helps to put things into perspective instead of treating them as one’s entire world.
    And there is no linear progression, nor is there a point when one reaches maturity and no longer open to growth. We go back and forth, we trip and fall. We learn new meanings from past experiences that we thought are done and done.
    These are how I feel right now about maturity and growth.

  2. I am proud of you Andrea and I admire your Adventurous Spirit. Always remember, there is a True and Living God and He, the Real Spirit, the Holy Spirit, lives in you. Namaste: “I honor the place in you where Spirit lives. I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are One.” May you have peace and safety on you journeys. I love you, Dad.

  3. “Can it be that maturity in its entirety is simply a byproduct of internalizing the belief that growth and development should be a constant, interminable part of life that one must constantly work to cultivate?”
    Yes, I agree, and I would add that this constant part of my life is my great joy and fascination, to see what is coming around the corner when I “die” to who I was yesterday and open up to the growth of something new Today. There is the beautiful metaphor used a lot in the East: You cannot speed up the process of a green mango becoming a ripe and juicy one – it has its own rhythm – maturity is like that in my experience.

  4. I think I don’t one to be fully grown or developed anytime soon so I guess I will be called immature for rest of my life. The best thing about being immature is that you can get away doing anything you want like dying your hair purple or going on a trip without telling anyone ;)

  5. Andrea, great analysis! For me maturity means being able to create a moment of pause between a thought arising in your mind and acting on that thought. Using that moment of pause to judge the nature of the thought and decide what action,if any, should be taken.
    The length of the pause required to act “maturely” is inversely proportional to the experience the person has had.
    In addition to being able to create this momentary pause, maturity also includes the ability to differentiate the “right” from the “wrong”. Yes, both these are relative terms but within a limited framework like a single human mind, they are absolute quantities.

  6. Maturity is indeed a need for constant growth, the realization that life is not meant to be stagnant… while one may find themselves content with their current life there is always change happening, whether enacted by the individual or forced upon them by the nature of the world as time passes.

    Maturity for me is many things, one of which is realizing that there is always good to come from even the most detrimental of occurences and with that realization comes a sense of empathy and sympathy towards the world around you. For while understanding that you have had a learning experience with even the worst of situations you can also gather how worse off others in the world are to a point where you may then shed your own self-appraisal of how terrible your life may seem at any moment with a humility of knowing how lucky we all are for what things we have been blessed with. Only maturity and growth may grant us this appreciation as we learn over time to appreciate the knowledge we have, physical strength and health, as well as access to our “civilized” culture. I put “civilized” in quotations simply because in all honesty there are days when I question how “civilized” our culture truly is in its own lack of maturity in some instances.

    Furthermore, maturity is commanding this sense of empathy and sympathy to form understanding and compassion for others, not simply from a standpoint of helping someone who we deem to be “in need” but also in intellectual endeavours. One person’s opinion may differ from your own but that does not require a rebuttal nor attack on their beliefs, especially when taking into account how vital perception is in the realm of how one thinks. Every individual on the face of the Earth has had varying experiences and lifetimes spent in different cultures that cultivate perceptions of the world as polar opposite as can be imagined. While some may refuse to accept the perception of another; to me maturity is about taking the time to try and alter your own perception, even if only for a moment, in order to understand the point of view someone else holds on any subject.

    • Matt, so glad I finally had moment to respond to your great comment (and by that, I mean I’m sitting in class…)! As I said, I wanted to wait until I could really maul over your words.

      I digress, you’re totally right about finding the positive in situations. I would take it a step further and say that there’s no real purpose in designating a situation as either positive or negative…it simply is what *is.* All unhappiness stems from not being aligned with and accepting of the present moment. That being said, it is not easy to simply let go of these attributions that we have been making since our creation.

      I totally love your last paragraph and agree that maturity is needed to fully empathize and understand a person. While a child can experience empathy and sympathy, there is missing component that prevents them from fully understanding.

      Have a wonderful day!

      -Andi

      • I agree that in some sense there’s truly no need for resigning to viewing a situation as being negative nor positive (though I’d still gladly view all as positive) because in reality all we have is the present. I love reading classical philosophy and so I chose to revisit my favorite Marcus Aurelius who wrote:

        “Though thou shouldst be going to live three thousand years and as many as ten thousand years, still remember that no man loses any other life than this which he now lives, nor lives any other than this which he now loses. The longest and the shortest are thus brought to the same. For the present is the same to all, though that which perishes is not the same; and so that which is lost appears to be a mere moment. For a man can lose neither the past nor the future for what a man has not, how can anyone take this from him? These two things then thou must bear in mind; the one, that all things from eternity are of like forms and come round in a circle, and that it makes no difference whether a man shall see the same things in a hundred years or two hundred or an infinite time; and the second, that the longest liver and he who will die soonest lose just the same. For the present is the only thing of which a man can be deprived, if it is true that this is the only thing which he has, and that a man cannot lose a thing if he has it not.”

        So then it would seem by this perspective that indeed the present should be accepted as thus without regards to how pleasant or unpleasant we may view it as being but instead that we should simply not take it for granted because truly it’s all we can really claim to have at any given moment. Furthermore, in response to your statement “all unhappiness stems from not being aligned with and accepting of the present moment”:

        “Take away thy opinion and then there is taken away the complaint, ‘I have been harmed.’ Take away the complaint ‘I have been harmed’ and the harm is taken away. That which does not make a man worse than he was also does not make his life worse, nor does it harm him either from without or from within.”

        Therefore we should not begrudge one another for supposed harms done if it does no harm to our character. In fact by holding a complaint unnecessarily it may in fact do harm to our character and thereby we may self-inflict a true harm upon ourselves. Not every issue we may find others at fault for is truly worth our time and in reality even situations which are out of our control we should not look to give blame nor pity ourselves. Life is meant to be enjoyed and to develop ourselves into the best person we may be at the present time.

        With that I apologize for the length of my response because I do tend to get carried away, especially when relating to such text excerpts. I hope that you may find time (perhaps outside of class) to read this lengthy and longwinded response haha.

      • Matt, you write the greatest responses! I sincerely appreciate your intellectual mind.

        What a beautiful quote! I had never heard that before. “For the present is the only thing of which a man can be deprived.” That was probably my favorite line. While being in harmony with the present is vital to being happy and living life to the fullest, it’s such a tough thing to do. Both the past and the future are constantly calling people out of the present. I try and put things into practice to draw me into the present moment (i.e. taking note of the details of surroundings, feeling textures, consciously breathing, tapping into my life energy, etc.). While it takes great effort to remain in the Now, the results are undoubtedly worth it.

        In regard to your bit about releasing any negativity toward a person for their wrongdoings, again, it is easier said than done. I heartily agree that in projecting this negativity outward, a person is simultaneously harming his or herself internally. I strive to readily release any negativity I harbor toward individuals. Yet, I am still a work in progress…

        You are truly a developed individual, Matt, and I value immensely our communication.

      • Marcus Aurelius was truly an inspiring individual whom I would recommend everyone to study at some point. His writing of “The Meditations” is brilliant! Surely it may also be somewhat overwhelming a read at times but if you dissect his words carefully there’s a certain depth to be found and it may help you self-explore your own thoughts. It’s always interesting delving into the thoughts of another to bring to light some inner beliefs as you ponder at the beliefs of another.

        As for your mention of these things being “easier said than done” that seems to be the nature of many a thing, but even by attempting to put such practices into place it has already set you up far better than most who would take for granted even an attempt to do so. Simply by trying to both take full advantage of the present and not hold others in contempt are you not already benefitted? To be more aware of your mental and emotional state is truly a feat in and of itself. Many times even I find myself as well as others reacting instinctively to a situation without stopping themselves to consider WHY their reaction is thus. In a manner of speaking your disposition while not necessarily being able to be controlled per se is a muscle to be developed as you can reason as to what causes a certain response, postulate as to what underlying motives there may be and then utilizing a more well-informed self be able to then respond with how you truly feel about a situation. Often our first gut reaction does not take into consideration everything that we later realize as we further analyze what has happened.

        Unfortunately this further complicates things for me because naturally it is quite impossible to take in EVERY single detail about a situation instantaneously (unless you’re somehow omniscient which would be an amazing feat indeed). Thus, it is also a constant change in emotional state as you digest a constant influx of new information. It’s interesting then to also consider what the true definition of the “present” is since it is forever instantly changing so even by simply expressing your feelings of your “present” state it is no longer your true state. It’s weird to think about in a scientific way because if you truly contemplate the implications of how we as organic beings function we’re actually always living in the past… light, sound, taste, in fact all sensation takes time to process and so what we “feel” (emotionally, mentally, even physically) is all a state of our being from the past. So then I suppose that it follows when we die we’re truly robbed of our instant future we would have experienced a split-second after we die.

        Yes, as always I managed to get somewhat side-tracked so before I do so once more I will say what I have observed from what you wrote: You say that you are “still a work in progress…” but that does not mean you should ever hesitate about the wondrous individual who you already are… certainly everyone could do with some sort of self-improvement but that is not to say you aren’t already exactly who you are meant to be in that moment. Everyone is beautiful and none should ever see themselves as otherwise. A perceived flaw is just that, a perception, which from any number of other individuals woudl still be part of a whole which rings true as perfection. It’s like the saying of something being “perfectly imperfect.” Furthermore, no praise should be required of one to be beautiful within or without for:
        “Everything which is in any way beautiful is beautiful in itself, and terminates in itself, not having praise as part of itself. Neither worse than nor better is a thing made by being praised. … Is such a thing as an emerald made worse than it was, if it is not praised? Or gold, ivory, purple, a lyre, a little knife, a flower, a shrub?” So too it may apply to people.

  7. My three cents: I reckon maturity correlates with how much you’re willing to admit you don’t know. Or, to fart some eloquence; maturity sprouts when self righteousness frays. Yeah, I shall role with that.

    P.s – have fun on your travels!

    • I definitely agree!

      I went for a long time under the assumption that I was much more mature than I really am. When a good friend finally brought the issue (which had been engrained in me for many years) up, it shook my self-concept.

      Luckily, I am not able to accept who I am and not feel the need to be “beyond my years.”

      Thanks so much for stopping by and keeping up. :)

  8. Thank you for calling in and deciding to follow my blog. I shall enjoy following your travels.
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your analysis and think it demonstrates someone with a very thoughtful mind. I also feel that ‘grown up’ is a state of mind rather than an age. Some of us choose not to grow up too much!
    Enjoy your adventures, they sound very exciting and I’m sure will add maturity to your mind, as travels do to us all if we are open to the experience.
    All the best to you :)

  9. I think that maturity comes from experience only, and some of us are mature when we are born and some not. It depends on who we are and where we are on the road of our spiritual journey. It’s not something we need to intellectualize about. We just do the journey and it happens all by itself. Lots of love angel. You look just like my daughter! She’s a stunner too.

    • I completely agree! I definitely see people who have had more experience than I, but less years on earth, as more mature. Similarly, I see people who have been very sheltered as less understanding of the ways of life.

      Aw, how sweet of you! How old is your daughter??

  10. In fact, I request that you take this even a step further and contemplate how you can inspire growth and development in the lives of others so that they may be aided on the boundless path of maturation. — greatest line of the entire post. If we cannot inspire others to follow then there would never be growth in humanity.

  11. Hi Andrea – there’s certainly some maturity right there in your post. Me – I’m a bit philosophical. I think what counts as ‘mature’ depends on your culture and changes through the centuries. But there seems to be a central theme which remains, one which makes me feel that our western culture is still very immature.
    Maturity can be measured by how much you can love others – which is to say, love them, not your idea of who they are or should be; tell them the truth even if that is risky and painful; love them even if they hurt you; love them because we are all part of the whole body of life and to hurt others is to injure yourself.
    You appear to be grasping life and I admire you for it… keep it going :)

  12. Fantastic post! I, too, want to continually grow and mature while at the same time maintaining a sense of childlike wonder and playfulness. When a person thinks they could never be, say for example, gracious, then they will never strive, but I believe with the Spirit’s help, we can, indeed, promote change. I also believe people can wear a façade of maturity, but every once in a while something done or said can reveal what’s really underneath. I think a large part of what distinguishes between maturity and immaturity is motivation… why we do what we do. Thank you for visiting my blog and giving me the opportunity to ‘meet’ you.

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  14. I like how you mentioned the syncronicities of life as being integral to fostering growth and maturity. I feel maturity comes from a profound respect and relationship with the unknown. If one ebraces it and allows it to open doors for them it will naturally awaken elements within the individual they didn’t know existed. I think a lot of times the striving and the pushing oneself had the end goal of achieving some form of status and comfort, when the person feels they reached it they no longer have the same drive. It calls to question whether the journey they were on was one of self development and spiritual growth or the quest to accumulate material things and the respect of those around them?

    • Sorry about the delayed response, I just saw your comment.

      I completely agree. I’m at the point right now where I’m working on accepting the unknown and that some things will always be unknowable. I agree that this it the pinnacle of maturation. Unfortunately, many people don’t ever get to this point.

      As far as you closing question, I think many individuals inadvertently fall into the latter category. Hopefully, the growth of the collective consciousness becoming enlightened will cause a shift.

  15. I believe that maturity comes through relfection. Growth is trickier to get a mental grasp of for me, there are so many ways and speeds in which it is possible to grow. There’s the gradual growth that comes from everyday life, and then there’s the upphill struggles and moments of grief or suffering as well as love and joy. One the things that I’ve always pondered is why we never seem to be aware of our own growth until we reach a point where we’ve become so different that a sudden realisation dawns upon us ‘I’m different now.’

    What we mean when we speak of maturity is perhaps then the reflecting nature often imparted upon us after profound experiences, good or bad, and a will to understand the world around us and how we fit into it. Respect also plays its part, it is impossible to understand something if we don’t respect it just as it is extremely difficult to know something or somone without empathy and compassion for them. In that sense maturity itself becomes a tool and is, in a way, something obtainable.

    Lastly, I believe that by encouraging people to think and reflect as much as possible and teaching them early on in life that their thoughts and answers aren’t ‘wrong’ and that not being able to answer a deep question is completely okay is a good way to equip them with the tools they need to develop maturity. It is a little like perfection, it is a worthy goal to strive towards because of it being unreachable. In sweden there’s an expression that goes “Man lär så länge man lever.” It means “You learn as long as you live” i.e. as long as you’re alive you’ll continue to grow.

    • Fredrik, so sorry for the delayed response! I just saw your comment.

      Reflection is certainly vital to progression, as long as one doesn’t get lost in it. I agree, growth is a concept that is very hard to conceptualize. There are many setbacks. However, sometimes apparent setbacks actually help us grow. Yes, is so fascinating, how we often don’t realize growth until it appears blatantly!

      Hmmm. I really appreciate your mention of respecting the experience. I had genuinely never thought of that aspect before.

      I absolutely adore your belief that we should try and encourage others. I still struggle with finding it okay that I do not know the answers to some of my deepest questions. That Swedish statement is beautiful. I’ll definitely have to reference it.

      • No worries, I’ve been spending christmas and new-year’s in Kenya so my internet access is very limited. Not always a bad thing, haha!

        More than happy to contribute with my two cents. I get the feeling that you’re a little like me in some ways, a seeker and perhaps an old soul as well. For me it is in my nature to question, to seek – and to refuse not finding the answers I’m looking for.

        But then again life has a funny way of sneaking pieces of that puzzle in when were not looking for them. Not that looking is a wasted effort, far from it. It is as you said, there’s always a risk of getting lost or sidetracked. The search is part of the thrill, at least for me.

        Sooner or later, though, the answers tend to appear in one way or another. I have faith in my patience, a hint of stubbornness, and a happy heart. I realise I’ve drifted a little off topic now but I want to ask anyway, what drives your search?

      • Wow, what an amazing experience!

        Yes, synchronicity has a tendency of appearing randomly. It’s a beautiful thing!

        You know, I feel an inward drive to seek. I’m not sure where it stems from. I was raised in a Christian home that as centered around God. Now that I’ve relinquished that specific view, I want to formulate my own.

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