Skip to content

Weekly dose of self-improvement

Sign up
change your perspective

6 signs of mental and emotional maturity

How do you become more mature and improve your quality of life? Here are 6 major signs of mental and emotional maturity that you can start to follow.

Ed Latimore
Ed Latimore
Writer, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

Everyone gets older, but not everyone becomes more mature.

There are adults with the maturity of a high schooler and high school kids who have been through more difficult situations–and learned from them–than most people will ever endure.

However, it’s not just enough to face difficult challenges and overcome them. You also need emotional intelligence and enough time to reflect on what you’ve experienced, learn from it, and apply it in your own life.

Mature people do not just learn from their experiences. They also apply that knowledge in a way to make themselves and everyone around them better. We all experience the ups and downs of life but we don’t all learn the lessons that tragedy and triumph can teach us.

Getting older is mandatory. Physical maturity is a process that every human goes through. It just happens.

Emotional maturity is a choice. To develop emotional maturity, you have to proactively push against the challenges in life.

I want to help you not only get older but wiser in the process. In this post, I will show you the 6 major signs of mental and emotional maturity and give you the tools to become a more mature person yourself.

I’m not just going to tell you the signs of maturity. I’m going to also help you become a more mature person as well.

Healthy boundaries

A sign of maturity is being able to walk away from a situation that everyone thinks is best for you, but you know it isn’t. This is the ability to know yourself and be confident in your chosen path.

Healthy boundaries are easy to maintain when the environment is healthy, but a mature person is able to keep their own point of view and perspective even when the peer pressure is on.

When we talk about peer pressure, we think of children giving in to social pressure and becoming like everyone else around them. They do this so they can fit. They want to fit in so they can avoid the pressure that comes from standing out.

Children are, by definition, not mature people. They aren’t finished growing, they lack experience, and they aren’t even capable of learning from the limited experience that they do have. While we hope they don’t give in to this peer pressure to do or become something they don’t want to become, we don’t fault them for it because they are young, growing, and immature.

This is why a big sign of maturity is the ability to resist the pressure exerted on you by your surroundings.

Society will always try to mold you in its image. A mature mind has its own plans and refuses to give in—even if the situation seems to be a good deal. Your ability to walk through hell to get what you want instead of taking the path of least resistance is a hallmark sign of maturity.

Emotional control

A sign of maturity is the ability to suffer embarrassment without having an embarrassing reaction.

Embarrassment is an interesting emotion. Many things that make us feel embarrassed aren’t even noticed by other people. They may laugh at our misfortune, but it’s only when you’re worried about what other people think that you can suffer from embarrassment.

As you mature, you stop worrying about what everyone thinks and you focus on yourself. This keeps you from falling victim to the oppressive forces of peer pressure and feeling like a failure when you fail to meet them.

If you can learn to laugh at yourself, then you won’t ever worry if other people are laughing at you.

The ability to disagree without being disrespectful

Disagreement doesn’t warrant disrespect.

You shouldn’t treat someone as less of a person just because they don’t have the same opinion as you.

There are over 7 billion people on the planet. The odds of you agreeing with all of them on all things is nearly impossible; But as long as the person’s opinion doesn’t call for causing harm to or taking advantage of innocents, a difference of ideas is not worth a disturbance of emotions.

This sign of emotional maturity is the ability to separate how you feel from how you think. Immature people are unable to do this. There are levels to emotional intelligence and maturity.

This is due largely in part to a lack of emotional control. When we think of emotional control, we usually think about how we interact with others, but this is only part of it. This is also related to your ability to effectively manage your thoughts without your feelings getting involved.

The prefrontal cortex and maturity
The prefrontal cortex is involved in planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior. It doesn't mature until about 25 years of age. This probably explains the immature behavior of some 'adults.'

Can you force yourself to make the best choice, even when your desires beg for you to give in to your indulgence? Can you be disciplined when your emotions cry out for you to take it easy?

Those things may seem unrelated to respectful disagreement, but they’re not. If you don’t have the ability to keep your emotions from controlling your physical actions and mental process, then you’ll never be able to keep them in check in the face of different opinions.

Can take responsibility

It takes a certain level of maturity and humility to accept the role that luck plays in your success. It takes the same level of maturity and humility to accept the role that you play in creating your own problems.

The biggest factor in your development into a mature human being is your ability to recognize the difference, plan accordingly, and never blame others—even when it actually is their fault. This means being responsible for everything that happens in your life.

While it’s true that there are things beyond your control, if you’re living maturely and responsibly, you’ll see that you can still put yourself in a position to either take advantage of the good or protect yourself from the bad.

Immature people are afraid to practice this level of awareness because it forces them to refine their decision-making abilities and take full command of their life. When you take responsibility for everything in your life, you’re forced to accept that your life is the way it is because of everything you did (or didn’t) do.

You can’t control your level of intelligence or where you were born. You do have control over how hard and long you work. Immature people will always look for an excuse and that excuse will always blame other things or people.

On the other hand, one of the biggest signs of emotional maturity is refusing to ever place blame. Even if something interferes with their plans that is genuinely beyond their control, emotionally mature people refuse to place blame.

Few people have the emotional maturity and mental fortitude to take responsibility when it doesn’t benefit them. Even fewer can make the hard choices when it matters most and most won’t be happy with their decision.

Ed latimore is emotional mature
I'd like to think I've reached a certain level of maturity and sophistication at 35 years old

It takes tremendous emotional and mental maturity to start a tough conversation, even when you know that you aren’t going to like the outcome. It’s one thing when someone springs a heavy topic on you and you have no choice but to engage. It’s another thing altogether when you’re the one who initiates a conversation that you don’t want to have.

All growth is the result of initial discomfort. You can accelerate your personal growth by anticipating and leaning into it.

This level of maturity will always make you a valuable person and put you in a position to lead. The world is sorely lacking when it comes to finding people who are willing to lead from the front and never pass off blame to those in the back. We demand maturity from our leaders for this very reason.

Immature leaders only take responsibility when things go well and shift the blame when they don’t. The mature leader gives credit to everyone else when things go well and shoulder the blame if it all goes to hell.

You can admit when you’re wrong and you don’t need to rub it in when you’re right

People are not infallible. No one is always right or wrong. Making mistakes is inevitable, but learning from them is a choice.

Mature minds know that for every time they’re right about something, there will be times when they’re wrong about something else. Since they’re aware of this possibility in themselves, they don’t attack others when they’re wrong.

Likewise, they know how obnoxious an “I-told-you-so” type of personality is.

Benefit and burden walk hand-in-hand. If you can’t admit when things going wrong is your fault, you also don’t get to take credit for things when they go right.

Risk and reward are inexorably intertwined. Only the weak, naive, and immature believe that they can have it all without risking anything. A sign of maturity is understanding that anything in life worth having is a risky endeavor.

You accept the harsh truths about life

Naivety is a gift to children and a curse to adults.

When you become an adult, you no longer get to believe that the world is nice. Furthermore, adulthood requires that you accept a truth that is powerful, empowering, but ultimately sobering. That truth is this:

No one is coming to save you. Furthermore, no one really cares if you fail.

This doesn’t mean that people don’t care if you get hurt or if something bad happens to you. It also doesn’t mean that people are rooting for you to fail. It just means that no one cares if you’re successful or happy because they’re too busy dealing with their own problems.

They are neither rooting for your downfall nor overly concerned with your success. Most people are simply trying to live their life and your issues are irrelevant.

Summary of The 6 Signs of Mental and Emotional Maturity

  1. An emotionally mature person has healthy boundaries
  2. A mature person has emotional control
  3. A sign of mental maturity is that you can disagree without being disrespectful
  4. A sign of maturity is the ability to take responsibility
  5. You can admit when you’re wrong and you don’t need to rub it in when you’re right
  6. Maturity means accepting the harsh truths about life

Take this list and use it to fuel your personal growth.

The rest is up to you.

Ed Latimore
About the author

Ed Latimore

I’m a writer, competitive chess player, Army veteran, physicist, and former professional heavyweight boxer. My work focuses on self-development, realizing your potential, and sobriety—speaking from personal experience, having overcome both poverty and addiction.

Follow me on Twitter.