For Harsha Singh, who works with a multinational company in Kolkata, being the best in a group was routine. A topper at studies, Singh, 23, now found it difficult to work in groups of high performers.
“I found it hard to fit in and accept that someone was doing better than me,” she admits. Her classic case of emotional immaturity could easily find an echo among many who are drawn out of their comfort zone. In her place, mature individuals would have spotted a chance to learn and grow in their career.
Emotional maturity is all about introspecting, reasoning and training one’s thoughts and emotions to make the best out of a challenging situation.
Luckily, as Singh discovered, this attitude was something that she could develop over time. She says, “I am thankful that my friends and my mother helped me to manage and analyse my emotions. Now, when I see someone performing better than me, I no longer feel terrible. In fact, it pushes me to do well.”
Importance of emotional maturity
Dr Seena M Mathai, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Union Christian College, Aluva, Kerala, says, “Emotions give colour to our lives. Appropriate use of emotion based on a particular situation is needed in our day-to-day interactions.”
Dr Mathai’s research is on the topic Emotional maturity and loneliness as correlates of life satisfaction among adolescents.
She suggests that emotional maturity helps to build relationships, and if one works in a team, it makes one a good team player. It reduces stress, defuses conflict and helps one to get over disappointments.
According to Dr Ali Khwaja, counsellor, columnist, and life skills coach at Banjara Academy, a counselling centre in Bengaluru, behavioural scientists attribute over 80 per cent of an individual’s success to emotional intelligence and not to cognitive intelligence. We know them otherwise as emotional quotient and intelligence quotient – EQ and IQ respectively.
He says, “In future, handling oneself and others will become a prime life skill requisite as computers, robots, and machines take over tasks that require a high IQ. Those with emotional maturity will be the most successful.
Signs of emotional maturity
Dr. Munia Bhattacharya, consultant psychologist at W Pratiksha Hospital, Gurgaon, lists a few common traits of emotional maturity:
- Being aware of one’s emotions and constructively handling positive or negative emotions.
- Being able to express emotions in a healthy way and accepting the same from others.
- A capacity to make adjustments with oneself, one’s family members, and peers across different levels.
- Being able to appreciate others, learn from others, and be able to give measured responses in tough situations.
- Seeing a positive or growth opportunity in difficult situations.
Mark of maturity
- The person is willing to take on responsibilities and challenges in life or at work.
- Has empathy towards other people and associates
- Is willing to accept mistakes and can communicate it well
- Expresses emotions openly
- Is able to cope with any demanding situation.
How to become ‘cool’
According to UCC’s Dr Mathai, emotional maturity starts in one’s childhood, where the child absorbs how its parents handle people, situations and emotions. “Usually, we model our behaviour and expressions after those of our parents,” she says.
Here are a few tips on how one can become an emotionally mature person:
- One consciously tries to be aware of oneself.
- One tries to understand the emotions of others –that is, develop empathy.
- Communication with others is essential.
- Healthy boundaries must be put in times of disagreements or conflicts.
- One should learn to monitor, analyse and modulate one’s emotional responses.