The Unfiltered Truth About Maturity. By Dr Linda Berman.



Variation: Maturity and Youth – (Alexej Georgewitsch Von Jawlensky)

  • Maturity Is About Being Able To Think For Oneself.

imageMan Thinking. Geoffrey Arthur Tibble. Wikioo.

“Maturity is having the courage to use one’s own intelligence.”

Immanuel Kant.

Maturity is very much about having the ability to make our own decisions, to use and trust our intelligence, whilst respecting and listening to others’ views.

“Maturity is doing what you think is best, even when your mother thinks it’s a good idea.”

Paul Watzlawick

  • Maturity Means Not Shooting From The Hip

imageGun. Andy Warhol. Wikioo.

“The danger of shooting from the hip is hitting yourself in the foot.”

Frank Sonnenberg.

Shooting from the hip refers to an emotional form of being trigger-happy, a state of recklessness, a shooting first and asking questions later.

This is qualitatively different from spontaneity, in that recklessness implies a certain amount of danger and risk, without caring or thinking about others.

Spontaneity, on the other hand, is about deciding to  do something unplanned, on the spur of the moment. Being reckless is never a good thing, whereas spontaneity can lead to fun, and exciting opportunities.

Obviously, if one is too spontaneous, however, this could descend into recklessness….

Thinking before you speak or respond to another is crucial; unbridled anger is like a riderless horse.

Maturity may mean having the resilience to stay with a difficult situation and see it through. It may also be about knowing when to walk away.

In either of these scenarios, it is important to think before acting.

“The first sign of maturity is not reacting to others’ immaturity.”

D. Muthukrishnan

  • Ageing And Maturity May Not Necessarily Be The Same

imageThe Artist’s Mother At 18 And – (88) – Thomas Phillips.

“‘Age’ is the acceptance of a term of years. But maturity is the glory of years.”

Martha Graham.

Long years of experience can lead to good sense, maturity and self-confidence. Many older people wish they could ‘put an old head on young shoulders,’ but know this is not possible.

“Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.”

Tom Stoppard.

However, it is not necessarily so that ageing brings maturity. Sometimes, younger people can be wiser and more mature in their outlook than the elderly.

There are some people who do not achieve maturity, or respect the young, instead becoming bitter and resentful in their later years. They do not give to others, clinging to the past. 

“The error of youth is to believe that intelligence is a substitute for experience, while the error of age is to believe experience is a substitute for intelligence.”

Lyman Bryson

imageThe Old Man (also known as Yellow Beard) Alexej Georgewitsch Von Jawlensky.Wikioo.

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”

George Bernard Shaw

Sadly old age can bring physical illness or depression and, for some, it may be a difficult and painful life stage. This is a far from universal, however, and many people stay fit and well for most of their life.

There are also some older people who have not developed the grace to acknowledge their own shortcomings, thinking that age should command respect, however they behave to others.

“We don’t mature through age; we mature in awareness.”

Byron Katie

Old age is not always synonymous with wisdom or maturity. There are some who age and repeat old behaviour patterns, old ways of thinking, and do not grow flexibly.

This is sad, and it does not have to be so.

“There is no good reason why we should not develop and change until the last day we live.”

Karen Horney

  • Maturity Is Not About Losing Your Childlike Self.

imageAlexej Georgewitsch Von Jawlensky. Girl With Doll. Wikioo.

“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age…”

Aldous Huxley

Ironically, it is those who can maintain a childlike attitude of wonder and awe with the world, who become the most mature, wise and creative, to benefit the world around them.

“You are never too old to become younger.”

Mae West

“Isn’t it amazing, how the opposite of childishness is childlikeness?”

C. JoyBell C.

Allowing yourself to feel like a child means that you will still be able to marvel at the world, at the wonders of nature, and the miraculous circle of life.

“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”


  • Maturity Is Caring About Others


Mother and Child. Richard Hamilton. 1984. Wikioo.

“Caring – about people, about things, about life – is an act of maturity.”

Tracy McMillan.

Caring for other people reveals compassion, despite any problems you may be grappling with yourself.

imageMother and Child, (1964) .Emilio Grau Sala. Wikioo.

“Maturity is when your world opens up and you realize that you are not the centre of it.”

M.J. Croan

This is maturity: the ability to carry on despite everything, caring for another, and making them the focus of your attention, reaching out beyond your own needs.

Making such sacrifices shows resilience, the ability to love, personal strength and responsibility.

  • Maturity Is Being Able to Cope With Ambiguity And Contradiction.

imageMona Lisa. Detail, Mouth.Wikimedia Commons

“What if you rested in between contradicting energies? What if you practiced holding contradictory views at the same time with no fantasy of them ever being resolved?”

Nate Green

This is a key quotation. Being able to keep two opposing views in mind simultaneously, without feeling that we have to come down on one side or another, shows that our ways of thinking are flexible, measured, and mature.

It indicates that we have the ability to reflect, to weigh and balance opposites, to discover contradictory truths that may both have value. 

This also means that we are taking time to ponder and consider, which are in themselves mature acts.

“The awareness of the ambiguity of one’s highest achievements – as well as one’s deepest failures – is a definite symptom of maturity.

Paul Tillich

  • Maturity Involves Self-Reflection.


Reflection. Maurits Cornelis Escher. Wikioo.

“I think part of maturity is knowing who you are.”

Rob Lowe

Being able to self-reflect, to ponder on who we are and what we think, feel and believe, is an indication of maturity.

Knowing oneself, through therapy, through others and through life-experience, is a key to feeling more whole and content.

6605803241_055e7c349c_oRobbie Wraith .Alexandra, Reflection. Flickr.

Awareness of who we are enables us to see others around us with more clarity and with less projections from our own inner world.

The Russian writer and political prisoner, Solzhenitsyn, discovered that long periods of isolation actually helped him find out more about himself.

imageSmall Prison Scene. Joseph Wright Of Derby. Wikioo.

“Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.”

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago.

  • Maturity Is Being Able To Wait…….

26658455241_b2b92674fc_oJamie Perry – Waiting Room #4 [2015]. Flickr.

“Grown-up people can wait.”

Ann Landers.

25873904006_a6a9124aaa_oDaniel Greene – Waiting, 116th Street [2012]

“Maturity is the ability to postpone gratification.”

Sigmund Freud

Being able to wait, to have the self control not to demand instant gratification, is an indication of a mature outlook on life.

We live in an ‘instant’ world, a push-button, online-ordering , fast-food, quick-fire culture that wants what it wants NOW! There is little ability to wait, to cope with uncertainty, delay or not-knowing.

Fast results are the order of the day. Every day.

Not knowing and uncertainty are a part of life and it is so important for us to experience and accept this reality, and to learn to tolerate it with wisdom and maturity.

“Maturity, one discovers, has everything to do with the acceptance of ‘not knowing.'”

Mark Z. Danielewski

Life is full of uncertainties; we cannot know what is round the corner.

However, developing a capacity not to know and to stay with feelings of uncertainty can be a highly creative and freeing experience, even during difficult times.

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”

John Allen Paulos

imageMother with Two Children – (Emile Nolde)

“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

©Linda Berman


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