How To Become Emotionally & Psychologically Mature

Daniela Marin
ILLUMINATION
Published in
5 min readDec 20, 2022

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image by Pixabay

According to the American psychology society, psychological maturity is the ability to deal effectively and resiliently with experience and to perform satisfactorily in developmental tasks (biological, social, cognitive) characteristic of one’s age level.

But what’s the opposite? What does it mean to be psychologically immature? Well, immaturity means “not fully developed yet.” So someone who has not fully developed and explored their psyche and improved their sense of identity, self-worth, integrity, and mental health is probably psychologically immature. But don’t feel bad because, for the record, most of us are psychologically immature.

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Maturity comes with time, experience, wisdom, and lessons. Unfortunately, depending on our age, we may need more time to claim our maturity. Nonetheless, there are things you can do to enhance the process of your psychological maturity.

But why is it important? Why am I promoting this? Being psychologically mature can help you reach successful resolutions to problems and keep problems from overwhelming you. It can help you have better relationships. Wiser reflections. A job that is aligned with who you are. It can help you have a healthier family system and social circle.

Psychological maturity can help you reach your best potential.

There are different ways to measure and assess your psychological maturity. Today I will tell you how I do it with my clients.

First, let’s explore the hierarchy of Maslow:

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Maslow created this pyramid to explain human motivation and why we get “stuck” In life sometimes. He believed humans are motivated by five basic needs that go in a particular order for a reason:

  1. Physiological needs
  2. Safety
  3. Love and belonging
  4. Esteem
  5. Self-actualization.

If you think about it, without being able to meet our physiological needs, we will not even be able to think about love and belonging. Suppose I need water, food, and clothing. Then, how will I have mental space for friendships, love, self-esteem- status, a job, and self-actualization?.

The beginning of psychological maturity starts here. If you are struggling in one of these categories under self-actualization, it may be time for you to focus on that and spot forcing yourself to be “better” and “love yourself.”

Start from the bottom, and ask yourself whether your physiological needs are taken care of.

For example: Do you sleep well? Eat well? Do you have job security and shelter? Do you have healthy interpersonal relationships? Do you have healthy self-esteem?

If the answer is no, make a plan to work on those. There’s no shame in that. By the way, it will give you strength to have that foundation.

Once you have met the essential needs from the pyramid of needs, you can go over these five hallmarks of psychological maturity:

#1 Emotional Maturity: Emotional maturity means that you know your emotional self and have developed a good understanding of what affects you, why, and how. People with emotional maturity take themselves accountable to cope with challenging emotional situations, and they try to develop the best course of action.

Questions that you can ask yourself to assess your emotional maturity are the following:

  • Are you perceived as an emotionally intelligent person by others?
  • How would you rate your emotional intelligence on a scale of 0 to 5?
  • Do you recognize your emotional states?
  • Do you know how to regulate your emotions?
  • Do you confidently behave in ways that project your true essence?

#2 Personal Responsibility:

Assess this area by asking yourself:

  • Do you overreact or underreact in situations?
  • Do you blame others before reflecting on your actions?
  • Do you avoid situations that seem stressful?
  • Do you dwell on stressful situations?
  • Are you able to forgive people that have wronged you?
  • It may seem odd that forgiveness is in this category. Still, personal responsibility requires facing and resolving past conflicts internally, which in many cases, will require you to make peace with others.

#3 Personal Honesty:

Personal honesty demands integration with our inner world. To honor our personal honesty, we must be in tune with our core ideas, emotions, feelings, values, and motives. However, the noise from the outside world often influences us and leads us to mindlessly go in a particular direction when we really want something else. Sometimes our people-pleasing tendencies lead us to neglect our personal needs. To assess this one, ask yourself:

  • On a scale of 0–5, how honest are you with yourself?
  • Do you engage in a deep analysis of who you are and how you act?
  • Are you a fair judge of your actions?
  • Do you have honest motives, or do you manipulate situations?
  • Do you make efforts to mask the way you feel?
  • Do you neglect your personal needs to please others?
  • Are you genuine, transparent, and authentic?

#4 Compassion:

Developing a healthy level of compassion towards yourself and others will foster acceptance of situations and encourage good interpersonal relationships.

The urge to change and control people will tire you and disconnect you from your inner world. At the same time, not relating to others will limit the expansion of your self-actualization. We need to have healthy relationships with others to grow and learn. Ask yourself:

  • Do you try to fix and control people?
  • Do you have perfectionist tendencies?
  • Do you listen to others graciously?
  • Do you show up for people that you care about?
  • Do you give unsolicited and unwanted advice?
  • Are you compassionate or critical?
  • Do you complain constantly?
  • Do you fail to appreciate other people’s efforts?

#5 Spiritual Maturity:

This is one of the concepts of psychological maturity that some people dismiss. Those without religious affiliations find unnecessary the need to create a meaningful connection with a higher power or their soul. For neutrality purposes, let’s define the spiritual as a quality of being beyond existence’s physical or material domain.

Please, challenge yourself with these questions:

  • Do you believe there’s only mind and body? Or a mind, body, and soul?
  • Do you think there is a higher power?
  • Do you engage in practices that nourish and acknowledge your soul?
  • Do you believe there are parts about you that you could unlock through non-material means?
  • What are your thoughts about life and death?
  • Does your Ego rule you? Or are you aware of and in control of it?

Your next project is to focus on the categories that you answered poorly. It’s simple! Go on google and look up how to improve the areas you need to strengthen and mature on. If you have a therapist, communicate to them your results on this assessment, and have them guide you through the process of self-improvement.

Daniela Marin, LMHC | Youtuber | Therapist

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