Maturity is really about the locus of one’s identity. The extent to which you view yourself with increasingly accurate self-observation—in real time—is the degree to which you may claim to be mature. A mature identity considers more of its total experience than a less mature identity. In the emotional domain, this maturity includes the following:
- Experiencing your feelings
- Thinking about what you feel
- Monitoring the development of your relationship with your emotions
- Understanding the dynamics of your emotional idiosyncrasies and their effects on both you and other people
- Reflexive investigation into the meaning of episodes of emotional discomfort, rather than the more typical pursuit of “discomfort relief”
- Thoughtful assessment of any “sense of urgency” coinciding with your own or others’ emotional discomfort
- Determination of intent before acting or speaking when faced with significant emotion
When these activities become habitual, you have probably become “emotional enough.” Whether you can ever become “too emotional” is left as an exercise for the reader. Most likely, it is not the current problem. Rather than worry about the ersatz problem of excessive emotionality, mature team members will focus on the real meaning of, and issues related to, human emotion that arise on a connected team.
From “Software for your Head”
by Jim and Michele McCarthy
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