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44 Views· 17 March 2024

What Is It to Be Emotionally Mature: Part One


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Part Two: https://youtu.be/TuE7uDd_kfY

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“Emotional maturity is a state few of us ever reach - or at least not for very long. But it may help us to try to lay out what some of the ingredients are so that we have an idea what we might aim for:

If we were to grow into emotionally mature people, this is some of what we would have learnt how to be:

- We would understand the key role of self-understanding in helping us to grow into more reliable and predictable partners, parents, friends and colleagues. Our greatest ambition would be to reach a heightened understanding of our own minds.
- We would constantly be aware of not being able to complete more than a fraction of this elevated goal and would hence be deeply cautious in all our assertions and conclusions. ‘Sorry’, ‘perhaps’ and ‘maybe’ would be some of our favourite words.
- We would recognise what unfaithful allies our conscious minds are for the project of self-discovery; how much of us wants to know ourselves and how very much more doesn’t want to in the least. We would be humbled by the strength of our inclinations to distraction and denial.
- We would properly realise that we were going to die and would put this terrifying thought to use on a daily basis to nudge us towards greater appreciation, authenticity and focus. It would help us to say, at points, and at last, ‘no.’
- We would realise, with considerable dark humour, that we were fools. We are idiots now, we were idiots then and we will be idiots tomorrow. There are few other options for a human being.
- We would shed our pride; we would realise how much we constantly misunderstand - and never more so than when we begin to have faith in our competence and sanity.
- We would acknowledge the influence of the body on the mind. We may sink into existential despair not because there is anything objectively tragic at hand, but because we are in urgent need of an orange juice or missed out on an hour of sleep.
- We would respect the art of diplomacy and the importance of politeness; we would acknowledge the surprising thought that other people may be just as easily hurt as we are.
- We would learn, painfully, to use language to give those around us an indication of what is at play within us. We wouldn't hold it against them that they didn't understand things we had never bothered to teach them.
- We would realise how much others long for warmth and reassurance and would be less inhibited about offering those two very serious categories of gifts: cosiness and sweetness.
- We would acknowledge that it was impossible to be friends with, or liked by, everyone. Attempting to please universally ultimately only leads to offending many; we would know how to disappoint frankly and quickly to avoid drawn-out appeasement.
- We would feel more carefree at the idea of being strange. Public opinion would matter less, because we would have seen enough of the shallowness and reflex moralism of crowds. This would be our one life, we would know; and we would have the courage to be oddballs where we needed to be.
- We would take our own boredom as a guide. Everyone else might declare it a brilliant book or an extraordinary play. We might toss it aside or walk out.

This is some of what we might think and feel if we ever became those paragons of true intelligence: emotionally mature people.”


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Produced in collaboration with:

Hannah O’Brien

Title animation produced in collaboration with

Graeme Probert

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