Saturday, August 22, 2015

Are We Emotionally Grown-Up?

   I read an article last night that caused my mind to really start thinking. Article here. We talk about being grown up a lot. We seemingly believe that when we get our own house, pay rent/utilities/car payments, etc, when we become involved in a relationship with the opposite sex, when we get our first real job, when we continually move away from the age of 18 with every birthday: we have believed and been taught that this makes us grown-ups. But what about the emotional part of being a grown-up? The part that controls how we act or react to a situation, how we control ourselves whether we are by ourselves or with others? The part of us that can really define us as a person. Who ever talks about that part of being a grown-up?
   I have linked the article that I read to this post, as I think it would do everyone good to read it. There are a few things that I would like to quote and expound on in this article.

1. "Language can inflame or inspire, and mindful language is a gift."
This is something I can attest to from personal experience. If you don't have anything positive to say or you are still trying to formulate your thoughts, DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL. It is better to keep quiet and really THINK through what you want to say. Don't say the first thing that comes to your mind because you are trying to avoid that "awkward silence" that you read about in books or hear about from your friends. Your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/friend/etc will understand that you need time to process your thoughts and if they can't respect that then you may be better off without them. From experience:
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt." Abraham Lincoln
2. "The spirit of compromise is key to being an emotional grown-up. Here’s the mantra for the partnership that goes the distance: If it’s important to you, it’s important to me."
Realize  that there are things that are preferences, not convictions, and let go! Don't try to enslave others in a bondage of "submission" or "obedience" because of your preferences. Rather, talk things out. Why do you feel this way? Where does the feeling/conviction stem from? Be open and honest with each other.
"If we can't be honest  IN ALL THINGS (with each other), then we can't build trust. And without trust, what is a relationship?"

 And compromise goes both ways. It doesn't work if just one of the partners are doing all the compromising. It takes two. We need to realize that a relationship is taking two different people and putting them together. We each have our own likes and dislikes, our preferences, our favorites, etc, but the fun, the challenge, and the reward comes when we can work together and find things that work for both of us. Yes, we will give at times for the other, and the other will do the same for us; that's how compromise works. If one person is always getting their own way, there is no true reward or gratification for the second person in the relationship.
3. "Owning mistakes doesn’t make an emotional grown-up weak; it makes them trustworthy and safe, it diffuses conflict and allows people to move beyond blame toward real change."
It takes an emotional grown-up to admit that they were wrong, that they made a mistake. They don't blame it on other people or other events. Their failure falls on them and they accept that. This is something I need to work on. Here's an example: The other night I was going to meet someone and they said they would be there in 40 minutes. I did the calculations and calculated that I had 18 minutes before I had to leave. I got out the door  21 minutes later and then had a semi pull out in front of me who wanted to drive 60mph in a 65mph. Yes, the semi was going under speed limit. BUT! I am still responsible for me! I wasn't there until 44 minutes later. I told the friend what happened but I blamed the semi driver. No, it was my fault! I was driving and I could have left earlier to ensure that I was on time. Yet it was easier to blame someone else who is defenseless than to shoulder the blame myself. When we are emotional grown-ups, we realize that we are in control of ourselves and that we have only ourselves to blame for our mistakes. When we can accept ALL responsibility for ourselves and our actions, when we can admit we have made a mistake, and when we try our best to correct the mistake and ensure that it never happens again, we are on our way to being emotionally grown-up.
4. "Trusting your partner is one key to feeling safe in a relationship. For emotional grown-ups, actions and words align."
This thought again would tie in with what I mentioned in point 2, where I mentioned trust. If we can't trust our partner, why are we in a relationship with them? If they say that they are going to pick you up at 7:00pm and they don't arrive until 7:15pm, the trust you have for them is going to dwindle. However, if they arrive at 6:50pm, talk with your parents/siblings, and then you leave, the trust between the two of you is going to build. If a commitment is made and is not kept, we naturally begin to wonder. Was there an accident? Family emergency? Work? What happened?? When a commitment is broken, it NEEDS TO BE TALKED ABOUT. It is important that all questions and doubt is cleared up so that both partners can forgive and move forward. If for some reason an emergency comes up, contact your partner or whoever you made a commitment to. Don't leave them hanging to imagine the worst! Explain to them what happened and 9 times out of 10, you will find that this will clear things up between both parties. Don't leave them hanging! When both partners can feel safe in a relationship, that is where you both will flourish. You will open up to each other and be able to empathize and better understand each other. You can't build a trusting relationship on broken commitments and empty promises.
"Commitment without follow through does nothing to build a trusting relationship. It only disappoints and drives in the wedge of doubt."
5. "The poet Khalil Gibran enjoined us to “fill each other’s cup but do not drink from one cup,” stressing the importance of maintaining your individuality in the context of a relationship. Appreciating your partner not only for the qualities and interests that you share, but also for those that you do not, enriches both of your lives.
It is important to recognize that you DO NOT NEED another person to feel happy, content, secure, purposeful, etc. Each of us as human beings are individuals. We have our personalities, our preferences, our habits, our goals. We need to be complete in ourselves, i.e. fully confident and comfortable with the person we are, before we begin to seek a relationship with others. If we don't fully form ourselves to who WE want to be, then the world or our partner or the people we are around will form us to fit their need or agenda.
"We are who are friends are but really, we are who/what our influences are."
If we can find a partner that we are happy to be around, that keeps us smiling even when we are down, that encourages us in our dreams and goals in life, and that loves us for who we are and doesn't want to change us, then by all means, hang on! But if we can only be happy when our partner is around or only feel motivated when they are there to hold us accountable to our word or push us to complete our goals, something is wrong with the picture and it's time to step back and revaluate the relationship. Each person is their own person and we need to realize that it's okay to be ourselves around our partners. We weren't trying to be anyone else when we first met so why change when you start dating or when you get married? We are individuals always but when a relationship is formed, then a third "individual" is formed, that is, a combination of the two partners' individuality into one central relation. But at any time, you are still free to go and be who you are. A relationship shouldn't change your individuality, it should strengthen it. If you are in a relationship where you feel like your partner is trying to change you, leave it! If you aren't accepted just as you are, then it doesn't matter how nice or good looking or giving or wealthy they may be. They will never be able to accept you, they will always try to change you, and you will never find true peace, honesty, trust, or safety with that partner.
6. "The highest form of romance is to be truly seen for who you are."
Well wrote. Honest, straight up, and to the point. When we can be seen for who we truly are, when we can be who we truly are and be perfectly comfortable being that person, then we have found a partner worth keeping. For someone to see you AS YOU ARE and not want to change a thing about you, it's priceless. And in order for someone to see you for who you really are, they need to look at you as a person, not an object. They need to be able to look past their own reflection. They need to see someone who is strong in themselves and worth fighting for. We need to be ourselves ALWAYS and never let anyone take that away from us. And when we can be ourselves around someone, treasure, respect, and trust that person and above all BE HONEST.