Guiding Light: Emotional maturity

-- Swami Brahmavidananda

Why the word, ‘Emotional Maturity’? I want to differentiate it from physical maturity. Very often we think that we have lived a certain number of years, seen some experiences in life. We are automatically mature. Physical maturity happens if you just survive, eat well and exercise well. With time as the person grows, the body of a youngster is in his or her teens is mature enough to be a parent. But to be a parent emotionally will take a few more years. This maturity does not happen automatically. Physical maturity does not seem to require too much effort. Emotional maturity one has to pay attention to.

Just going through life‘s experiences need not make one emotionally mature. If you analyse one’s experiences one could. Let me give you an example. Here is a ten-year-old boy playing with a balloon, happily. The balloon bursts. He responds with tears and grief. Fifteen years pass. He is a young man of twenty-five. No more interested in balloons. He is a trader in the share market and makes good money. He has the skills. But the share market is also like a balloon. The share market balloon bursts. His response is one of tears and grief. So, in his activity and desires, he has graduated from balloons to the share market but in his response to the loss, there is not much maturity.

Does this mean that emotional maturity means one should not feel sadness etc? Emotional maturity is being able to experience the whole gamut of emotions right from joy and happiness, to sadness and anger, the range of emotions a human being is capable of. At the same time, emotional maturity is not to be so elated with a joyful experience that I lose track of what I am doing. Or I am so down in the dumps that I cannot act and do what has to be done. So, emotional maturity is to be able to experience all emotions and be in charge by handling them and have a balanced response to the situations of life.

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