Table of Contents
1. Pay attention.
Start by noticing areas in your life where you tend to have difficulty with being mature.
This awareness can be the most difficult step, as most of us don’t want to acknowledge how we might be acting childishly.
But awareness is the first step toward change. So take a deep breath and try to be completely honest with yourself.
Think about the immature behaviors you’ve noticed in others to see if you consistently engage in any of these.
Make notes about any behaviors you don’t like in yourself or that you notice others pointing out in you frequently.
2. Be aware of triggers.
There may be certain situations or people who trigger less than mature responses from you.
Maybe it’s something your spouse says that makes you defensive or the way you revert back to allowing your mom to baby you when you visit your parent’s home.
Understanding what triggers immature behaviors can help you change. Think about why the situations or people trigger these responses in you.
- Does it go back to an event in your childhood?
- Did you never learn a more mature response in these situations?
- Do you feel entitled to indulging your reactions, even when you know they aren’t mature?
Once you have a better idea of why you are triggered, think about ways you can respond differently.
You may need support from a counselor to deal with any old wounds from the past that are holding you back and preventing you from changing your reactions and responses.
3. Avoid the blame game.
As the saying goes, “Reality bites.” It’s uncomfortable to deal with the challenges, disappointments, and difficulties that life presents us.
An immature person rails at reality and tends to blame the world for his or her circumstances. They will avoid, deny, or complain without taking appropriate action.
But being mature requires that we accept reality and work with it.
Rather than whining and moaning about our “bad luck,” we deal with the situation at hand, managing it the best way we know how, and then we can move on with the knowledge that we’ve done our best.
4. Practice personal responsibility.
Between an event and your response to it is that brief moment when you decide how you will react.
By claiming your power to choose how you respond to life, you can jump off the treadmill of unconscious reactions.
Will you react automatically, giving up your personal power to a knee-jerk reaction?
Or can you break the negative pattern of immature responses and create new, more emotionally intelligent responses that align with who you want to be?
5. Define your ideal self.
Who do you want to be in this life? What kind of parent, spouse, friend, sibling, co-worker, adult child, and neighbor do you want to be?
- How would you like to treat others?
- What kind of words do you want to use?
- How do you want to respond to life challenges?
You can’t fully act mature until you define what that means for you.
Sit down with a pen and paper, and write down exactly what you want from yourself in your relationships and in various life situations (the positive and the negative).
You may not be able to achieve your ideal all of the time (we are human, after all), but you now have an ideal worth aspiring to.
When you fall short, forgive yourself quickly. Offer forgiveness to others if needed. Then move on.
6. Define your integrity.
Part of creating your ideal self is knowing what integrity means for you.
Life is so full of mixed messages and conflicting views of right and wrong and good and bad.
You may have adopted your parents’ value system or borrowed your sense of integrity from your peers.
This is a common fallback position, as many of us don’t take time to look within ourselves and ask the important questions about what our own guiding principles should be.
Often we are presented with decisions about our integrity the moment we come face to face with a situation that demands a particular response from us.
Rather than waiting for this moment to force our hands into a response that may not reflect our integrity, be proactive by determining your ethical and moral principles in advance.