I consider myself 5 years old.
Because only 5 years ago, I started becoming conscious of my actions and their consequences, I don’t believe I lived as an individual before then.
I was doing whatever my family, my teachers, my society expected me to do. And that didn’t end well.
I ended up being borderline depressed, having anxiety issues.
Only in my therapy sessions, I came to know that I need to evolve personally and emotionally. I was legally an adult, but emotionally I wasn’t mature at all. I didn’t know how to express my emotions. I didn’t even know if feeling emotions was a necessity.
And I see this as a pattern even in my coaching clients — until they become aware of their actions, they do what others expect them to do. We all have a choice to evolve emotionally when we feel we are ready.
Here are 5 steps of becoming emotionally mature —
If you don’t realize you have a problem, how would you work on it? Likewise, if you don’t know the things you want to change about yourself, how would you start improving them?
Do you recognize your emotions? A good starting point is to label your emotions throughout the day and do a reflective practice every evening before you sleep.
You can also mention all the incidents where your emotions must have troubled you.
We also need to learn the intensity of our emotions. On a scale of 0 to 10, 10 being the most intense, how much did you feel anger today?
These reflective practices can be done in meditation or journaling.
- Label your emotions. If you’re feeling angry (or any other emotion), acknowledge it immediately.
- Do an evening reflective practice where you analyze your emotions throughout the day.
Study emotions like a nerd
That’s the way to learn any topic. Google the best books around the topic and be a nerd about it. Or if you don’t like reading as much, search on youtube for the topic.
Here’s what comes up on google when I searched “best books about emotions” —
You can also try getting some book recommendations on Goodreads.
Personally, these 3 books have taught me a lot about emotions —
Work with a coach
“Either you do the hard work with your coach to really change, or your coach becomes a really annoying purchase. It’s not that they are mean, it’s that they are confused. They’re not charging you hundreds of dollars an hour just for chit chat. That’s what I like. There’s clarity in coaching because there’s real commitment to change.”
As soon as I started working with coaches, my growth increased exponentially. Sure, books are gold — but hiring a coach is even better for your accountability and progress.
We all have blind spots that only someone else can show us.
I have worked with 100s of clients in my coaching program, and I witnessed all the transformations my clients had when they worked with someone honest enough to show them their blind spots.
Working with a life coach will be vulnerable and scary when you begin, and that’s when your emotional maturity will grow exponentially.
This is optional. You can still become emotionally mature without working with a coach. But your years of struggle could be skipped if you hire a coach.
Give it a serious thought — that’s your starting point for this step. Otherwise, you can hire me or any other coach when you are ready.
The most significant part of emotions is your ability to observe them without indulging in them. That’s tough in the beginning.
By practicing stillness, we can calm our minds and slow down our response time. That’s exactly how you learn to observe your emotions and impulses without indulging in them.
A part of practicing stillness is to see emotions with a detached mindset. You are not your emotions; you feel your emotions. When you continuously label your emotions, you will say, “I was feeling angry, I was feeling anxious,” instead of saying, “I am angry, I am anxious.” Detaching yourself from your emotions will show you you’re not your emotions.
Meditation is the ultimate way of becoming still. And if you’re a beginner, you can even start daily journaling too.
- To start practicing meditation, comfortable sit in a silent place, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Notice your body sensations and gently observe your thoughts. Try not to indulge in them. Just be aware of your thoughts and let them go. You can start meditation by doing this for 1 min every day, gradually increasing your time to 5 min daily or 20 min daily, whatever suits you.
- To start practicing journaling, make a morning/evening routine to write about your feelings and emotions. You can also start by making to-do lists to get into the practice of writing a journal.
Be patient with your progress
This has been tough for me. I am a perfectionist, and I keep high expectations of myself.
I am not proud of this, but I have had beaten myself up multiple times for not making ‘big’ enough progress.
Here’s one of my session notes when I was working with my coach Helen Wong about my eating habits, and notice the encircled point I wrote —
“Slow progress is still progress.”
Embracing this point proved immensely crucial in my journey of becoming emotionally mature.
Maintain a “daily win” journal, where you mention even the least progress you made that day. In your moments of darkness, this journal will be your reminder of progress and success.
We all have a choice to evolve emotionally when we feel we are ready. Here are 5 steps of becoming emotionally mature —
- Become self-aware. A good starting point is to label your emotions throughout the day and do a reflective practice every evening before you sleep.
- Study emotions like a nerd. Start with books. Take recommendations from google and Goodreads. Or if you’re not a reader, browse through YouTube for a start.
- Work with a coach. We all have blind spots that only someone else can show us. Working with a life coach will be vulnerable and scary when you begin, and that’s when your emotional maturity will grow exponentially.
- Practice stillness. By practicing stillness, we can calm our minds and slow down our response time. That’s exactly how you learn to observe your emotions and impulses without indulging in them.
- Be patient with your progress. Maintain a “daily win” journal, where you mention even the least progress you made that day. In your moments of darkness, this journal will be your reminder of progress and success.