Featured Local Business

Most Read: Wellness

Are Your Kids Caffeinated?

Find out why caffeine and kids don’t mix. Read more

Chatting About Online Safety

Nowadays kids of all ages are connecting with friends and fa... Read more

Why Yoga is Good for Kids

Little Cecilia Kocan, age 5, sat perfectly still, meditating... Read more

Family + Sports = Fun

Fitness starts early—from a child’s first steps! When Mom an... Read more

Nuts About Nuts

Holiday vacation time is approaching, and I already feel lik... Read more

The Dirt on Dirt

“Don’t track mud in the house!” “Wash your hands before din... Read more

Why Manners Matter

Start your children on the right foot by teaching them manne... Read more

Put an End to Bullying

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged ... Read more

Walking the Middle Path

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a relatively new appro... Read more

Zits for Grown-Ups

Cafeteria cliques may be a distant memory, but if you’re sti... Read more

Make Sleep a Priority

  Parents often use bedtime stories and other peaceful... Read more

Concerned about Fever?

One the most common reasons I see a child in my office is fo... Read more

Let's Move

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in Amer... Read more

Bringing Home Baby

As a parent-to-be, you are probably feeling overwhelmed as y... Read more

Fitting in Fitness

When was the last time you played with your children—really ... Read more

Girls Fighting Fire

While going on nature hikes, singing songs, and roasting s&r... Read more

To Cell or Not to Cell

My husband and I were sitting on the couch chatting one nigh... Read more

Eat Your Veggies!

Summer’s bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables offers a... Read more

Plan a Summer Cookout

Some of my favorite summer memories were times when my dad b... Read more

Mild Concussions

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to Dave Baron, DO, ... Read more

2021 Apr

Emotional Maturity

Seek the company of people who are emotionally mature. Here’s why.

Sometimes we give others power over us, such as when we apply for a new job, select a new teacher or leader, or enter into a legal partnership. The level of emotional maturity in these other people can make a huge difference in your quality of life.

For instance, emotional maturity in leaders means that they can care about something or someone outside of themselves. It also means they can deal with reality on its own terms, show empathy for others, and demonstrate self-reflection and accountability. We trust that such leaders or bosses will take responsibility, fix their mistakes, and take into account how others think and feel.

People in positions of power, such as parents, bosses, teachers, and leaders, need emotional maturity because so much of their job requires being fair and caring for others. Emotionally immature (EI) people have trouble with both these things. Being fair and caring for others run against the grain of an immature person’s prime directive to meet his or her own needs first. To be under the control of an emotionally immature person is miserable. That’s why the other person’s emotional maturity is an important factor in considering any new venture.

People in power are capable of fairness when they can step outside themselves and imagine not only what is best for them, but what will be good for others too. Emotionally mature people do this naturally. They feel uneasy when something is unfair to someone, even if the imbalance might be to their benefit. They have a basic sense that other people—at some fundamental, human level—deserve fair treatment too.

EI people, on the other hand, are so self-preoccupied that they instinctively take advantage of others. They’re often oblivious to what others go through because they’re unable to imagine other people’s emotional experiences. They lack that extra viewpoint in their personality to wonder what it’s like for the person who is being treated unfairly. As long as it’s not happening to them, they have no incentive to stand in someone else’s shoes.

They may try to act concerned, but inevitably EI bosses, leaders, or business associates will do something so surprisingly egocentric that you realize how little they consider the welfare of other people. This trait usually comes out when a big issue is at stake, but you can be sure there were countless little signs earlier when they showed their absence of caring.

When we feel cared for, it creates an atmosphere of security and empowerment. To be our best, we need to feel that people who have power over us can handle reality, treat us fairly, and feel for what we’re going through. These abilities originate solely from the other person’s level of emotional maturity. For the emotionally mature boss or leader, we are all in this together. For the emotionally immature, we are all in it for them.

When you are considering a commitment to people who will have a measure of control over your life, look at the following: Are they realistic enough? Do they show fairness, especially in the little things? Do you feel cared about in a basic human sense? Do they listen to your point of view as well? If you are working with people like this, you will get the best out of yourself because you will feel safe and secure.

Fairness, being valued, and empathic attunement bring out our best talents and energies. Emotional maturity brings contentment, not only to the people who have it, but also to the people who must live around them. When you partner with people who can care about you, everyone is lifted up together. You are more than a means to someone else’s success. When it’s necessary to grant power to others, make sure you give it to those who want to protect your well-being along with their own.

Lindsay Gibson

Lindsay Gibson, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist in practice in Virginia Beach. She is the author of Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents and Who You Were Meant To Be. Visit www.drlindsaygibson.com for more information.

Enter to Win a FREE Subscription to Tidewater Family Plus Magazine

We're hosting an extra year-end giveaway and are excited to gift 5 FREE subscriptions to both Tidewater Family Plus Magazine, a $20.00 value! Entering is...

Free to Enter!