Elements to Making a Meaningful Life Makeover! 5 of 5
The final element in this Meaningful Life Makeover is the emotional makeover. Really, this is the internal conversation you have with yourself about how you will conduct yourself whenever you feel “out of control.” Will you take responsibility for your actions and your words? Will you choose to RESPOND or to REACT to the circumstances that arise? Will you continue to function within the mental health you gained in part 4 of this series and behave with integrity and not act out against yourself, your loved ones or in any illegal way – impulsively?
One thing is certain: When things are not going our way and we really want to pout, lay down in the middle of the floor and flail our arms and legs screaming wild obscenities,.some of us opt not to. Why? Because we’re able to rely on our emotional maturity.
Your job search and future career success may well depend on your being an emotionally mature person and making responsible – not impulsive decisions on behalf of your employer. Hiring managers can sense emotional immaturity during an interview; it’s almost never something that can be faked. This means you might have to mature a little emotionally. Are you ready for that?
What is emotional maturity? Does it come with age? Is it identified with the number or graying hairs on our heads? Is there a miraculous day in our lives when we suddenly realize we are “emotionally mature?” I dare say we’ve all known adults who are incredibly immature. I wonder why, then, do some people have the emotional maturity to respond to a circumstance in a dignified and rational way, responding with the appropriate sense of urgency to a traumatic event, such as being fired from a job, while others look to lash out at the employer, doing things that are irrational, possibly illegal, in an attempt to undermine them or react with sheer panic? I think it may be due to emotional maturity.
I found this very interesting blog post from James Burns and it really got me thinking! He titled it: Emotionally Mature People Are Responsible. In it, he says: “Emotionally mature people accept responsibility for their actions. They don’t look for excuses for their behavior. There may be reasons or circumstances why emotionally mature people act in an irresponsible way, but they don’t waste time making all kinds of excuses. Emotionally mature people don’t feel victimized by circumstances or other people. Even when circumstances or events are difficult, they deal with them without resorting to blaming others. … It becomes the responsibility of the individual to overcome difficult circumstances that were not really the fault of that person.”
I imaging Mr. Burns is quite familiar with the concept of Emotional Immaturity as he is best known for his presentations on Bullying, Motivating Disaffected Students, Diffusing Power Struggles, Character Education, and Leadership. Jim has worked as a teacher and administrator since 1977. In his 35 years of working with educators and bullies, I bet he has encountered more than a few issues with children and adults who have just never quite matured emotionally.
How emotionally mature are you? Take a fun quiz to find out!
The idea of “The Victim Mentality” is often associated with emotional immaturity and, in essence, is really about taking responsibility, as Mr. Burns states, to “…overcome difficult circumstances what were not really the fault of that person.”
Today, stop and ask whether you’re identifying yourself as a “victim” in your circumstance. Has everyone always been out to get you? Or, have you in any way contributed to your situation by permitting yourself to be treated poorly? Were you at least in part involved in getting right to where you are today? Perhaps a real emotional makeover, beginning with a thorough emotional inventory, is in order.
Will you commit to doing about an emotional inventory? Make a list of those who have wronged you (or you believe have wronged you) and take a look at freeing yourself from that resentment immediately. It’s not about releasing them from responsibility, it’s about freeing yourself! You’re in a self-made prison and you alone hold the key to emotional freedom from these scenarios. Finally, some of us suffer from a feeling of guilt that may or may not belong to us. Make a list of those you have harmed (intentionally or not). Upon further reflection, you may decide that you’re harboring guilt for something you don’t even have a reason for, but have nonetheless. You may think it’s appropriate to make amends to those you have harmed and you should seek guidance from someone you trust who can help you determine if and when this is appropriate to do. In whatever case, pledge to stop taking on guilt that does not belong to you for your own emotional maturity and to begin responding instead of reacting to circumstances. I think you will be glad you did this makeover!