It’s the staple attack point that most of us have made at some point and even do so continually in our relationships — “Grow up!” While we think we don’t really mean it and it’s just a condescending remark made in the heat of the moment, what makes it an effective insult is the fact that there is some truth in it.
Emotional immaturity is something that people just frown upon without actually trying to understand the root behavioral factors involved. We’ve all come across the thought that you’re probably not really that different emotionally as an adult from what you were as a child; that we’re just “acting” as adults while still struggling to make sense of the world we live in.
In our times of weakness, we tend to generalize this hypothesis just because it makes sense at the time. However, we realize the fallacy of this theory when we come face to face with adults who actually do have it together, know what they’re doing, and behave in a mature way, so adult-like.
The hypothesis that still holds water though is that as adults, we are not fully developed in every aspect of our emotional spectrum. There are invariably going to be variations in how developed different aspects of our personality will be regardless of how old we get. Here, we try to have an understanding of some of these aspects.
Feeling unsure about yourself
As children, we were constantly trying to discover ourselves and our place in the world. There was always the conflict between what we wanted to do and what we needed to be doing. We also yearn acceptance from our peer group. These are all characteristics that flow into adulthood.
We ask the same questions fundamentally, but the difference is that they are framed within a more profound context simply because, through experience, we understand that we don’t always get the right answers to our questions, and seek more dimensions to the answers we get.
As adults, we all need someone to provide us with reassurance when we feel unsure about ourselves. This is generally someone inside our inner circles, such as a close friend or spouse. You may also tend to rely on the instincts of someone more distant, such as a trainer, a life coach, or a professional counselor.
Dealing with poorly developed faculties
We’ve been programmed to put our efforts into becoming the best at whatever we apply ourselves to. Most school curriculums enforce a wide range of faculty training to tap our potential. From athletics to arts, communicative skills and leadership traits, and academic prowess, we are taught to excel at everything. However, we tend to become frustrated with our inadequacy in certain faculties and this feeling overshadows our appreciation for the skills we actually have.
By the time we get into adulthood, we realize that it’s not about excelling in a wide range of faculties, but rather, ignoring the development of certain faculties, and focusing on others. We integrate everything to form a prototype or working model that facilitates what we desire. Being an adult, we have reached an understanding that there will always be things that we perform poorly, but it’s compensated by the fact that we are pretty good at other things.
As adults, we believe in and strive for being independent, and yet we are living in a continuous cycle of dependence all our lives. One of the most primary personality shifts that an adult goes through is going from being taken care of to taking the same responsibility for oneself. Yet, having to constantly take crucial decisions for someone else’s wellbeing can be a challenge that can be excruciating after a point, and you need to have a temporary shift back into being taken care of, of being pampered a bit.
Every adult needs to have the opportunity to be able to assign his adulthood responsibility to someone else from time to time. The absence of such an opportunity may lead to mental duress that manifests negatively on the people around them.
Addressing our emotional immaturities is healthy and it helps you project yourself as a responsible individual who is capable of functioning independently. Some of us are better at it than others, but it’s important that we all make the effort to nourish the inner child in us.