I am having repeated experiences with behaviors and attitudes that make me shake my head! Whether it’s online posts, asking simple questions, driving our highways, I wonder; what does it mean today to be mature?
Age has proven not to be an indicator. This week, I have observed mature actions from a 6 and 8 year old and what I believe are immature behaviors from a 25, 55, and 82 year old. Economic status, education, physical locale, choices of career and religion, have all failed as standards for maturity.
I recently read a letter from a young adult to a parent that was a horrific example of temper tantrum antics – name calling, whining for attention, blaming others, attaching labels to avoid personal responsibility, ranting opinions that deflected all facts and truths. It was the most immature communication over the age of 5 I’ve witnessed.
Another person was called a bully because they asked a question for clarification – did something happen or did it not? That was all. Yet, the immaturity of the respondent demonstrated an attitude of offense and victimhood, categorizing the question as bullying. What ever happened to answering yes or no?
I was having a conversation with someone who served in 2 wars and knew what it meant to battle and physically survive, literally. He said, “I fear for our country. People have forgotten what true suffering is. They haven’t learned how to survive.” I interpreted his observation as, people need to grow up.
So I asked my friends, give me what you believe are signs of immaturity in adults. Post publicly or private message and I’ll tally them up. Here are the results. Acting as a child (think 2 year old) rather than an adult (any age), can be summarized in one sentence:
Lack of awareness of others . . .all perspective is from one point of view – theirs.
The examples provided included:
Traffic merging and all driving courtesy (this is MY lane)
Easily offended (you hurt MY feelings)
Demand to be heard – but not listen to others (listen to ME)
Victim mentality (the world is out to get ME)
Refuse dialog – prefer ranting (MY point of view is the only right one)
Lack of Empathy (no one has a harder life than ME)
Refusal to take ownership (it’s not MY fault)
We know immaturity when we see it, frustrating, irritating and unmanageable. It’s rare people recognize it in themselves. Will they ever have the capacity since they are unaware of their unawareness?
What we can do is mitigate immaturity in our own lives by being more aware, creating space for greater patience, kindness, and generosity. It’s an ongoing process and I’ll continue to work at it.
If I could only get the stupid driver in front of me out of my way . . .