Emotional maturity plays a significant role in the longevity and success of a relationship. But what exactly is emotional maturity and how do you even measure it? Check out my previous post that discusses these questions.
So how can you become more differentiated and healthy emotionally? Here are four practical tips to get you started. These aren’t magical beans that will change you overnight. Rather, they are guidelines to help create the structure and environment you will need to stay on the path towards emotional health. This journey is often not fun and can be downright painful. It is truly easier not to take this path and cling to our habits. But exploring your deeply rooted motivations, fears and emotional issues can truly open our eyes to experience the world and relationships in a new, powerful, and beautiful way. It is totally worth the struggle and I hope the following tips will help you on this marathon journey of being the best you.
1. Know your own emotional maturity
How do you find that out? Read my last post and get a baseline of your emotional health range from 0-100. Observe yourself over a couple of weeks or more and note the different emotions and reactions you have towards different people and situations. Ask five of your closest people in your life— significant other, parents, friends, co-workers, neighbors— how they would assess your emotional maturity and where they see gaps. Be forewarned, it may be hard to hear, but it’s an important first step in your growth process. It is understandable that most of us want to avoid looking at or admitting areas of weakness – but being able to see our blind spots is the most important and courageous first step in this journey.
2. Be in a community
You can’t grow emotionally and learn how to be in relationships if you are isolated from people. When you rub shoulders with people, that’s when you can truly gain a deeper understanding of yourself, your sensitivities and your areas of pride. And working these things out with a core group of people that you trust on a regular basis, is one of the best ways to grow. A small group in your local church is an excellent resource to find regular community. These groups are designed to help you build a consistent relationship with people who can speak truth and bring life into you. Find a group and stay in the group.
3. Read books on emotional maturity and talk about it
Emotional maturity won’t happen if you aren’t intentional about it. And sometimes it is really hard to decipher what’s going on inside. You need language to help you talk and discover yourself. I recommend reading books on emotional health and discussing them on a weekly basis with your small group or community. This is a great way to be intentional and discuss these big issues in a safe environment. A great book to start this off would be Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero. This book gives you a good biblical overview of emotional and spiritual health as well as practical ways to mature.
4. See a counselor/ therapist to talk about these issues
Sometimes our friends and community groups aren’t trained or well equipped to handle some of our deeper emotional issues and past experiences. It would be wise to seek after a counselor who can professionally guide and walk you through some of these issues. Maybe you don’t think therapy will work or have reservations about being someone who wants counseling. I get it. Counseling is still often stigmatized especially in the Asian American community, but a good therapist can help you navigate through difficult emotional road bumps with their training and insight. They can ask you the right questions and really give your issues the needed attention to grow and heal. I highly recommend this.