The struggle to mature

The mature man is the person who makes his own decisions and accepts full responsibility for his failures as well as his successes.( the word man will often be used in its generic sense in this book, to include both men and women) we will now discuss three kinds of maturity.

Intellectual maturity : This simply means the acquisition of sufficient knowledge to have a meaningful life. Most people become intellectually mature.

Social maturity: This means having sufficient self confidence to mix with ithers. Practically achieves this form of maturity.

Emotional maturity: This means accepting full responsibility for oneself without being unduly worried about the opinion of others, whether of one’s peers, those junior to us or our superiors. The emotionally mature person accepts himself fully with all his faults, sins and weaknesses. The mature man is neither proud nor self effacing. He accepts himself as he is, usually with a good sense of humour, able to laugh at himself. He also accepts others as they are and does not try to dominate them or to defend himself. He Is open, unashamed, transparent. He hides nothing. This form of maturity is difficult to achieve in any high degree. It is what we all aim at. Often, it comes with old age but not always. Most of us wear masks. We lie. We pretend to be more perfect than we are.we hide our true selves from others and even from ourselves. We are ashamed of ourselves. To the extent of that, we are emotionally immature. However, recognizing and accepting our limitations is a major advance on the long road to emotional maturity.

In our teens we begin to discover our individual selves and we become conscious of inner conflicts that disturb our peace. These conflicts can undermine a person’s studies and even health. They are the evidence that a great awakening to maturity is taking place in the heart of each young man or woman. It takes three forms, all of which are interconnected. There is (a) an awakening to freedom; (b) an awakening to one’s physical powers and especially to sexual desire; and (c) an awakening to personal values which enables young people to decide for themselves what they want to do with life. It can only be described as an explosion of physical and spiritual power. It is an exciting time.

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The awakening of emotional development in male and female.

Youth is an exciting time, a time of awakening to maturity. Full emotional maturity is a life long process. It begins in baby hood when a little child learns to love someone other than himself. The first sign of emotional growth is being concerned about other people.

A baby awaken’s to love

Watch an infant grow. His physical development is clearly seen, the first stand_up, first step, first word; all are parts of big thrill of living for that little man or woman. Not so obvious is a child’s emotional growth. In the beginning a baby thinks of nothing but his own small person, his needs, pleasures, annoyances; and I refer to both girls and boys. He wants to play with toys of other children but he will not lend his own. Then quietly almost unnoticed, he begins to love. He wants to make his family happy and to give them pleasure. A desire to give and not only to receive is just awakening in him. This is love. The little child has tasted for the first time the joy of loving as distinct from the joy if being loved.

Have you ever seen a small child offering his mother something he values, for the first time in his life-a toy or a flower? If she refuses he cries; his love is rejected.if she accepts he gurgles with joy and returns to take it back and gives it to her again and again. His new found delight in giving is just too wonderful. Later,watch him give sympathy. If he finds his mother in tears he will cry too. A loving pity stirring that small heart for the first time. He may even touch her face to try to comfort her with his love, the only thing he can give her. It is the love of his father and mother for him that awaken’s his own young love. St. John tells us, we love God because he loved us first (1 John 4:19). It is as though the power of love is loved into us.

True love however, is one of the slowest emotions to mature. Learning to love takes a lifetime and it does not happen smoothly. Again and again like the child taking back the flower from his mother, self_love creeps in. By that I don’t mean a healthy love for one self but a turning in on one’s own person so that we are engrossed in selfish pleasures, no matter what they may cost others. Perhaps sometime you have been conscious of a battle going on within you, between good and bad. You are not alone, but you can overcome the conflict as million of others have done.