I wanted an answer to the question – What is maturity? So, I went in search of answer to this question by first consulting a dictionary.
Maturity as per Cambridge dictionary has 3 different contexts. In the context of mental development, it defines maturity as
- The quality of behaving mentally and emotionally like an adult
- A very advanced or developed form or state
I was surprised to see the word emotion used in defining maturity, so I turned to psychology to check what does emotionally behaving like adult mean. I found the answer in Transactional analysis – a piece of work done by Eric Berne (& thanks to Mr Jayaram for this beautiful article here). He says that our personality is made up of three components, the parent, the child and adult.One part is dominant in every situation.
In the parent and child mode you can have a negative or positive frame depending on your upbringing. For example if you had controlling parents, you will behave like a parent to partner having specific rules, dominance and controls. Or you may a nourishing parent being just a guide.If you are using a child’s frame of mind, you are likely to over-react to events that are not very significant. You will see world you as dangerous and dominating and handle a situation with uncontrolled emotions.
But as an adult you have just one frame and will always use experience, analysis and rational thinking. It is not necessary to use adult frame all the time, but as long as we do not use the negative sides of child and parent frame then you will have better emotional control.
Adult life should be more simple, your objective of showing adult maturity is to move to the path of happiness, peace and love wherever environment, situation or mind wants to takes you. You need to be like a pendulum. Your balance is in the middle. Whichever way you are pulled you need to return to your balance in no time. That is the real safe state. That is the state of no suffering. A state of love. That is maturity.
Transaction Analysis also documents various relationship problem patterns that can happen in a relationship when different frames are used by two people. Eric calls it games people play. I will explain that in another post. I believe that these games will also happen when you are stuck in the love/belonging level of Maslow’s hierarchy.