How old are you?

How old are you?

Maturity does not always come with age. Sometimes, the age just shows up on its own.

It has been a standard parenting strategy for quite some time: instructing older children to be more compassionate towards their younger siblings and advising the younger ones to show greater respect towards their older counterparts. In essence, everyone was encouraged to grow up. But what does it truly mean to grow up? Does maturity imply dealing with life differently than one did as a child? How can we ascertain the level of maturity in an individual? The answer, it turns out, is rather simple.


I recently came across a beautiful framework that addresses these questions. It offers five reflections to help determine how mature you are. Maturity does not always come with age; sometimes, age shows up on its own, and you will encounter the following situations:

When Someone Disagrees

Recall a moment when someone disagreed with you, whether a simple difference of opinion or a profound ideological clash. Reflect on your reactions – what did you do, how did you feel, and what was your response? Analyzing these situations provides valuable insights into your emotional maturity.

When Someone Pokes Fun

Humor is universal, but not everyone handles jokes about themselves with ease. Emotionally mature individuals, or those with high self-esteem, can gracefully accept a good-natured jest. However, backhanded compliments and sarcasm fall outside the realm of good-natured humor, warranting the right to disengage. How do you generally react when friends poke fun at you?

When You Want Attention

The rise of social media highlights society's craving for attention, validation, and recognition. Some seek not just a lot of attention but demand all of it, driven by deep-seated insecurity. Politicians, in particular, often fall into this category. Reflect on your own feelings when attention seems insufficient – how does it affect your perception of self, others, and the world around you?

Understanding and reflecting upon these scenarios can be a powerful tool for gauging personal growth and maturity.

When You are Confused

Often, our internal conflicts lead to confusion, representing a battle within ourselves. Reflect on how you navigate moments of confusion regarding a particular course of action. Generally, individuals raised in a loving and respectful environment handle confusion more effectively than those from abusive or deprecating backgrounds. When faced with inner conflict, some may become aggressive, others may withdraw, and many grapple with self-doubt. How do you approach and manage confusion?

When You Do Not Get What You Want:

One of the most significant challenges is dealing with disappointment when desires go unmet. Reflect on your response—are you inclined towards an infantile reaction, reminiscent of a tantrum, or do you exhibit a more mature response? It's worth noting that politeness in asking doesn't transform a demand into a request. A genuine request accepts a refusal without causing a disturbance. How do you handle not getting what you want?

Framework to Assess

These five situations offer a practical framework for assessing your emotional maturity. How you handle disagreements, jests, confusion, and unmet desires provides a nuanced perspective on your personal growth. This assessment is a reliable indicator of your emotional age and the baggage you may be carrying. Understanding and refining your responses in these scenarios contribute significantly to personal development.

It's a common reality that many individuals never truly grow up; some may even resist the idea of growing up altogether. Meanwhile, others might be oblivious to the fact that, despite outward appearances, they haven't fully embraced adulthood. If you're inclined to gauge your own progress or that of someone else, the framework outlined below offers a convenient tool. Feel free to utilize any scale that resonates with you to evaluate and measure the aspects discussed earlier.

Disagreement: Reflect on how gracefully you handle dissenting opinions, as it's a key indicator of emotional maturity.

Poking Fun: Assess your ability to laugh at yourself and whether you can distinguish between good-natured humor and more malicious forms.

Confusion: Consider how you navigate inner conflicts and confusion, especially in the face of challenging decisions.

Unmet Desires: Reflect on your response when things don't go as planned or when you don't get what you want. Evaluate whether your reactions are more mature or akin to an emotional outburst.

By applying this framework, you can gain valuable insights into your emotional growth and maturity. Remember, the willingness to self-reflect and improve is a key aspect of the journey toward genuine adulthood.

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