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Emotional maturity is not something that just happens, you have to put in a conscious effort to become emotionally mature. This means that emotional immaturity is a trait that can be worked upon, since it is not characterised by chronological age or position, it has to do with the mental state and growth. However there are key moments that helps us in defining how we can develop emotional maturity. We don’t become emotionally mature when everything seems all rosy and calm and everything is going just the way we want it to go. When we are faced with turbulent seasons; when the storm is out on the ocean and the violent winds gets to blowing, we are tempted to act out our fears, insecurities, hurts or resentments. That’s how we grow in maturity. The way we handle such raging emotions is our defining moments. However for some people it never happens like that. The question then is, how do we deal with emotional immaturity?
Below are some of the ways to deal with emotional immaturity if you see it in your partner or yourself.
- Don’t be ashamed.
- Recognize your triggers.
- Journal it
- Exercise responsibility and accountability
- Wear the shoes of others
1. Don’t be Ashamed
The first step to successfully develop emotional maturity is to drop the shame of not being emotionally mature that you have soaked yourself in. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a lack of amount of emotional maturity. What is indeed wrong is to know that you have work to do in developing your emotional maturity and not doing anything about it. Now, that’s where you need to cover your face in shame.
Once you have the feeling of shame sorted out, you can now move on to the practical ways to actually deal with emotional immaturity.
2. Recognize your Triggers
It is important to know what triggers you to act out in an emotionally immature way, such that you would be able to know what you need to work on in order to fully develop your emotional maturity. Hence, there is a need for you to pay close attention to your emotions. Pay attention to what causes a big emotional reaction in you. Is it something in particular that people say or do? Is it a certain situation? At first it might seem hard because you have always not had time to process your feelings and emotions before acting them out but since you are on a journey of personal growth; your emotional growth, after a short while you will get an hang of it but in the main time, there is a need for you to form conscious awareness around your emotional triggers.
3. Journal it
Once you have taken the time out to identify your emotional triggers, it would be helpful to keep a list of these triggers on a notepad or on your phone to jog your memory whenever you want or need. On your notepad, you write out the following; what was the triggering event? What, specifically, about the event triggered your reaction? What were your thoughts? Feelings? What did you do? What were the consequences? The importance of this exercise is to give you a learning experience that you would not have paid attention to.
Journaling your triggers and the experiences of when you gave in to them gives you the room to look for lessons in each experience as you go over them or write them down. Which is why you just don’t write these stuffs out, you need to take up the responsibility to reflect on what you have written down and you identify what you have learnt and what you could have done better. You then consider how the lesson you have learnt and absorbed can help you to become a better person and how it can help you become emotionally mature.
Hence, the next time you’re feeling all the feels; perhaps you just lashed out on someone on impulse or you exhibited any traits attributed to that of an emotionally immature person, let it flow onto the pages of your notepad or to the screen of your phone. Write out what led to your actions, what caused it and how it ended. Then, once you’re feeling more settled and in a more balanced headspace, be intentional to re-read what you wrote in the heat of the moment. You assess whether you reacted with optimum emotional maturity, from there you get to see how you might have acted better, or what you shouldn’t have done. You get to answer questions like; what choices did you make? What were the consequences? What other choices might you have made? How would they have led to a different outcome?
This whole reflection process just gives you an opportunity to learn from the experience whilst you are learning about new ways to handle certain situations that might occur in the future.
4. Exercise Responsibility and Accountability
Emotional maturity comes with a lot of responsibility and accountability which is one of the major trait that an emotionally immature person lack. There is a need to exercise full responsibility if you want to develop your emotions. However such a task won’t come naturally to you since you have trained your mind to blame others and to project your errors on others. So, taking on full responsibility for your actions won’t be easy to you at first, but with time it would get better. You just have to train your mind towards it. For you do that, it is vital to know what responsibility means.
Responsibility has to do with the choices you make, how to think, feel and act about reality. It means that for every action you take you are in charge and in control of it regardless of the outcome. No one is to blame for the actions you take. Anybody can act anyhow they want towards you but the power to react to it is in your hands. There is a need for you to come to that place of understanding that you take full responsibility of whatever happens in your life; both the good and bad. Taking responsibility for what you've done wrong shows that you are mature.
Hence, take an honest look at all the blames you have put on others, all the errors you have projected on others and all the trouble you have created so far for yourself. Consider what set of actions you need to take to change those behaviors. Some of the major actions you can take include; apologizing, exercising accountability for your actions, admitting when you have a made a mistake, practice saying phrases like ‘I'm sorry’ and ‘that was my mistake.’ All of these intentional actions will go a long way in your journey to emotional maturity.
5. Wear the Shoes of Others
One of the characteristics of an emotionally immature person is that they like to think everything is about them and that the world revolves around them, they typically only see one side of the situation. Which is their own. They tend not to see what someone else could be going through. As a result of this, they never fully understand what the other person is going through and they never allow themselves to see things from other people’s perspective, mainly because they feel like only their feelings and emotions matter. However, in order to develop your emotional state, there is a need to see beyond yourself and see that there is more to life than just you. Which is why this point is important. There is a need for you to put yourself in other people’s shoe just to see how they think as well. Maybe if you practice this act you would learn something new about yourself and others as well, which could in turn influence the way you act. So, next time you have a disagreement with someone, consider things from their perspective. Don’t just act rashly and selfishly.
I am emotionally matured but I have an emotionally immature partner, how do I deal with that?
When dealing with an emotionally immature partner, there is a need for you to understand that you can’t force them to change. Mainly because it might be difficult for an emotionally immature person to realize that they need to change. So, once you understand this, it would be a lot easier for you to deal with them and you would realize there is little you can do. Just so you don’t feel powerless or discouraged. The only thing you can possibly do to get by would be to take control of your own reaction, your behavior and how you interact with them.
Here is something you can do;
Communicate how you feel to your partner- although, emotionally immature people find it difficult to listen to criticism. But it won’t hurt for you to talk to them. Take for instance, your partner is someone you want to keep in your life for a long time, you might want to talk to them about how their behavior makes you feel so that you won’t be frustrated for the rest of your life that you intend to spend with them. However, if that is not the case for you, you might as well let them go.
When you talk to your partner, prepare yourself for them to become defensive at first because that’s what comes naturally to them. What is important is letting them in on how you feel, which is really the first step that you might want to take.
If they are willing to get better and develop emotionally, you can then suggest ways on how to go about it. For instance, you can start by naming the behavior you consider immature, the effect it has and how they can work on it. You might even suggest that they talk to a counselor or someone who can help them learn how to communicate and behave maturely. But have it at the back of your mind that this whole process is not an easy one, at first, like learning any new skill. But as they practice, they will get better. They will gradually become more emotionally mature.
Just like learning any new skill, it’s not easy at first but when you put your mind into it, you will see the growth that you desire, so also it is when it comes to becoming an emotionally mature person. If you are willing and open, with time and practice you would see the growth that you desire.
- Signs of Emotional Immaturity in a Relationship
For a long time, people often make the mistake of judging a person’s maturity based on their chronological age but over time, it has been revealed that age doesn’t reflect emotional maturity. Emotional immaturity can cause great havoc in a relationsh
Marissa (author) from Nigeria on October 23, 2020:
A lot of people like to think they can change their partner. While in truth people don't really change because you want them to. They only change if they want to.
At the end of the day, we all know what we can deal with and what matters to us. It's worthy to note that we can only control our reaction to others and not their action towards us.
As always, thank you for reading and sharing your own thoughts.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on October 23, 2020:
Excellent advice! (Especially #5)
Most emotionally immature people don't think beyond themselves. They oftentimes lack empathy because their focus is always on what is (they) want or need. Immaturity is grounded in selfishness.
Having said that the only person you can control is (yourself).
If you deem your partner to be "emotionally immature" more often than not you are better off moving on then trying to change them.
Generally speaking people don't change unless (they) are unhappy. Life is too short to be trying to change water into wine.
The goal is to find someone who (already is) what you want.
Marissa (author) from Nigeria on October 23, 2020:
You are absolutely correct Tayo. I'm glad you enjoyed the article.
Marissa (author) from Nigeria on October 23, 2020:
Thank you Kin-kin and Topps for your encouraging words. I really appreciate it.
Tayo on October 23, 2020:
Thanks for writing about ways of dealing with emotional maturity.
You may not be able to control every situation and its outcome, but you can control your attitude and how you deal with situations.
I believe a mature person is teachable. They don't presume they have all answers. The wiser they get the more they realize they need more wisdom. They're not ashamed of seeking counsel from adults (teachers, parents,pastors) or from other sources.
Only the wise seek wisdom..
Topps on October 23, 2020:
A lot of workable ideas here. Thanks Marissa.
Kin-Kin on October 23, 2020:
Thanks Marissa for this great information...