How I Matured As A Person
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
Maturing as a person is so critically important in so many facets of life. A mature person deals with himself kindly, deals with people around him respectively, and manages work better. So why is it so hard to mature as a person, why is there not a school to learn it, and more importantly why don't we mature as we age properly?
I really wish I had the answer to them all. However, what I do know is how I matured. Maybe some find these useful for themselves in their efforts and growth. Here's what I think was critical to my consciousness and maturity.
Living away from Family
Although I have spent a lot of time with my family, I can pin-point major personal growth happening when I spent about eight years of time in total away from family in a different city or country by myself. You stop depending on your mom to do chores for you. You stop depending on your dad for money and making decisions for you. You stop depending on your siblings for support, advice, comfort, and love. You learnt to do all that alone. You resolve your conflicts yourself, plan your money, find partners and friends, etc, all by yourself. This also highlights how important your family is. You miss them and realize what each and every one of them means to you. You develop love and become more grateful.
Travelling although in general builds character and maturity, however this one kind of travel does more than general travelling with one or many companions; Solo travel. People often need to do solo travel for work but if engineered into one's life, I believe, it brings so much value. This can be in any form; I have been lucky because my parents sent me for "excursion trips" when I was in middle school, twice. Thanks to my sister for advocating for it as she wasn't let to when she was my age. Later, I started with going on trips for interviews with companies in the USA, then soon testing the waters by going on solo trips, to absolutely falling in love with it. I went to faraway countries by myself to just landing on a country with no plan and going plainly by the gut. All of it brings a certain sense of self. This sense of self is the beginning of individualism or identity. I think this identity of sense of self is foundational to a person's life. Travelling exposes one to the world's elements. Good times, bad times, challenges, all come in the package and everything is extremes. You meet new people, form friendships, build work relationships too, and who knows even fall in love. I believe travelling opens one up to a global way of thinking than a local or selfish way of thinking.
Any and all difficult times build character. The most formative being ending the thought of "feeling sorry for self." Feeling sorry for self or self-pity is such a disservice to self. It does nothing but takes away from the immense opportunity that time brings to you. Reflecting on them and learning from them is like building your own "moral of the story" and permanently adds to your wisdom library. Ofcourse going through a difficult time is not fun, like having a fractured bone, but suffering or crying out loud that you're hurting and making noise doesn't bring any good to you nor your environment. Meditating on the fact that this hard time is an opportunity, however, opens our mind to some positive outcome. I have had so many times when I felt terrible to the point of having major depression. I have gone from hating and cribbing the time to being quite and dealing with a hard time quietly. I have always reflected and introspected. It's the single most contributing factor to my personal growth when it comes to difficult times.
The word "identity" and "character" has come up a lot by now in this post. However, what is it actually? It's very hard to explain quantitatively. Self-identity means a strong sense of self. It can also be called individualism. Its a feeling that you yourself. You know what you like, dislike, how you function, think, care for, how you feel or might feel, etc. Its a deep understanding of yourself in short. However, broadly it extends to something very large, philosophical but very very important, it's knowing
Why you're here in this world?
It's a big thing to come to terms with. However, at some point in life a lot of us venture to discover the answer for this consciously or unconsciously. I have come across many who have made many interesting or ugly life trajectory changes on to work towards this. Heck, even I did. Look back at my own life's trajectory and everything changed enormously after 2016.
I went to an ashram looking for self-identity and came out with a fuzzy sense of direction. Following that direction lead me to some unconventional trajectories which all together bring me to where I am today. Its a unique journey for each and every one of us.
Building Empathy for Self & Emotional Maturity
Ever noticed an airline safety instruction up close? When it comes to putting on the oxygen mask they always advise one to put the mask on yourself first then help the kid nearby, even to mothers. Ever wondered why? It's so because if you can't help yourself in time you cannot help your loved ones. Similarly, we need to be empathetic and loving to ourselves first. This practice will automatically bring out a sense of empathy toward others. Why do we need self-care or empathy? Well coming to terms with one's identity is hard. One gets exposed to all the good and bad about self. The journey exposes you to you and while this happens if one is not equipped to be kind to oneself it becomes a painful journey. This sense of self is constantly evolving, and so the need to forever be empathetic and kind to self. Here's a great video demonstrating the "how".
We do regular full-body checkups or even minor blood tests to know how we stand in terms of physical health. However, we hardly attempt to even care about our mental health. Even all the stalwarts who say "I know myself very well" need this.
I will let the video do the talking here.