Let me preface this by saying that I am neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. However, I am a blogger, which as we all know, gives me the right to speak on any and all subjects with resolute authority.

A friend of mine and I have recently been discussing a situation where an instructor has clearly gotten in over her head, and consequently has lost the respect of her students. After talking about the situation until we’re both disgusted with the whole thing, I think we’ve both come to the conclusion that the whole debacle arose because the instructor in question was far too immature to deal with the responsibility of leading a group of people.cry baby

Our conversations got me thinking about maturity, and what actually constitutes a mature individual. I thought about this a long time, and this is what I came up with.

A mature person possesses two things that immature people do not:

1. The ability to recognize their fears, accept them, and attempt to move forward.
2. The ability to not only self-criticize, but to also try to work through their inadequacies.

Fear is a huge motivator for everyone, but immature people will do whatever they can do avoid their fears, so much so that they are literally rendered inert by them. As I grew up, I watched most of the people from my childhood stall in maturity, and continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. For most of them, I think they were too scared of the responsibilities that would be required of them if they actually began to act like mature adults. So instead, they continued to act the same way they did in high school, and sadly, more than thirteen years later, they still act like that.

A mature individual will acknowledge that as humans, they are intrinsically fearful. New things scare us, but as mature individuals we push forward as best we can.

It is very difficult to recognize your own faults. Immature people are completely unable to this, even with assistance from others. They avoid introspection and self-analysis with a vengeance, which prevents them from making improvements in their life. Ironically, this also prevents them from identifying their strengths.

Mature people will recognize their faults and attempt to work through them. They might not always be able to do that, but when they aren’t able to overcome their shortcomings they suffer the failure. Contrastingly, mature people will remain highly aware of their strengths, which not only allows them to operate that much more successfully in life, but that knowledge is also psychically comforting. I’m good at something…and I can tell you what it is.

In the spirit of full disclosure and to demonstrate my level of maturity, let me just say that attempting to publish anything scares the hell out of me. I’m also terrible about starting projects and then letting my fear of failure prevent me from completing them. Better to not finish than to finish and not succeed.

Categories: Blogging | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “Maturity

  1. Flood

    I want to preface this by saying the comment is not about maturity (I have none!) I will think about it for a bit and return with some worthless comments

    Having said that: the section on the side of the page that lists what you read, watch the get off your ass. The comments section needs to be longer!

  2. Flood

    Thank you for adding the room to the comments bar. Again I am going to comment on this post very soon. (i gotta get my thoughts in order. You would think it would be easy for me, ’cause i only have about five or so!)

    I also feel rather lame cause I have most of the comments under my name. i need to find a healthier hobby. (rather than stalking mark).

  3. Dammit. This is a topic you specifically asked for. So comment. And you could have lots less healthy hobbies. Stalking me is good for you.

    I have no idea what that last line means.

  4. Flood

    My name was over almost all the comments in the comments bar (That was what my last comment was referring to)

    I thought I said we should write a book, isn’t that right. And even if I request a topic covered that doesn’t mean I am going to make a worthwhile comment (although we both agree that increasing the space for the comment section was a good suggestion!)

    And you just called me retarded, and now you want me to comment?

    PS I am composing my thoughts carefully (not like usual), so I don’t look like a igmo.

  5. We should write a book. That’s a good idea.

    And I didn’t call you retarded. Did I? I don’t remember. I must be retarded.

  6. Flood

    It was in the in one of your responses. I have tears in my eyes.

  7. Flood

    I would definitely add personal responsibility, honesty, and perhaps a sense of empathy. I think these are a part of what you are describing, but personal responsibility might be a little braoder. Maybe maturity and personal responsibility are really the same thing. I don’t think that you can’t be mature without personal responsibility.

    I tend to gravitate toward philosophies and theories that emphasize the role of the individual to define their existance. So works by Thoreau, Kierkrgaard, Sartre, and others have always picqued my interest. Although my view of them might not be anything close to what they intended. I also have an interest in Vaclcav Havel. (He was a dissident from Czechoslovakia and wrote a remarkable essay called the power of the powerless. I even wrote a thesis on his contribution to the fall of communism) My interpretation of them might be completely warped, but… I have come to believe that the individual is important, they have in this world some inalienable rights (I heard that somewhere and thought it was sounded cool), and, most importantly, that they were responsible for themselves. I think that personal responsibility is an essential component in being a human being. If some one sacrifices their personal responsebility, they sacrifice something of their humanity. That statement scares me alittle, but I don’t want to back off of it. It certainly challenges me.

    Accepting the need to be responsible for you life and actions is essential, and the failure to do so creates dramatic problems. In my mind I can boil down numerous problems to this idea. This idea probably makes me a libertarian. The liberal to the conservative and the conservative to the liberal. But there you go.

    In the situation that Mark refers there is a general avoidence of personal responsibility by all the impertant actors. Each person acted in ways that denied their responsibility either of place or action. A mature person accepts the consequences of their actions, and doesn’t look to blame others for their personal situation. Honesty helps, especially since people are really good at lying to themselves.

    I thought about empathy, because I had to call a client tonight at about 11:30PM about not having a nurse to care for her child in the morning due to a sick nurse. She proceded to chide me because I had called her so late, and that she had three kids, and I should have called her in the morning. That kinda pissed me off. It wasn’t like I was making a social call or had goofed off and waited to tell her. I had made some calls and let her know about 15 minutes after I had found out. I have kids so I appreciate where she is coming from, but I was woken up, I was just giving her a heads up, the nurse is due at 8AM. Maybe she should appreciate where I am coming from. On the other side I can honestly appreciate the irritation that the call could produce. I could go crazy swinging from one side to the other. But I think the point is to know how our actions affect others.

    I have a personal responsibility and should honestly examine my place and actions, and I should understand that my actions affect others.

  8. Flood

    A little more on empathy. I can try to understand and appreciate where some one is coming from, but that does not mean that I know what someone has been through. And I think that this is one of most important points. No one has experenced everything, But with the magic of empathy we can, if we are honest, comment upon the full range of life. This Mark gets to blog, and the rest of us get to comment. Hopefully something else happens with empathy; respect. If I can appreciate where you are coming from, hopefully in most cases, I can see where you are coming and appreciate what you are saying, maybe even think that you have a valid point. When you look political commentary the thing that is lacking is empathy. I guess the idea is summed up with walking in some one else’s shoes for a time.

    And with empathy I can appreciate where you are coming from, BUT I do not feel sorry for you. I guess I could, but… This brings me back to personal responsibility. You are responsible and there are consequences. I probably would be happy to help some one, but that does not involve pity.

    Pity degrades my concept of human dignity, while self responsibility and empathy reinforces it.

  9. concerned

    HyperMark, Here is by belief you are scared of your past. Reading what you write, also from knowing who you are. You write: Fear is a huge motivator for everyone, but immature people will do whatever they can do avoid their fears, so much so that they are literally rendered inert by them. As I grew up, I watched most of the people from my childhood stall in maturity, and continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. For most of them, I think they were too scared of the responsibilities that would be required of them if they actually began to act like mature adults. So instead, they continued to act the same way they did in high school, and sadly, more than thirteen years later, they still act like that.

    Ok professor Mark. The real deal is you was raised in a ass backwards town. No one you went to school with had money, nor did there parents. Now on the other hand you was raised very well off. Yes I do remember when your house had about 3 or 4 rooms but it did not take long before your parents built one of the largest houses around. Your parents are very well off. You were able to go to college. (Hell they paid for you to go to TSTC and sleep in your car. You picked up and left that little town and now act like your past never happened. You have wrote little about your past. You think you are better than everone else because of your education. You are no better than me or the homeless man on the corner. MATURE people raised with you now many years later strungle to make ends meet, and every day of there life sit around and talk about the times they spent has ROACHES at Aquilla school. I know they a very mature people. Look at what we was raised around. But remember you had the money to get up and go and leave and you left the past behind you. I see you put pictures on your blogging of some of your memories you kept. It surpises me you have not thrown those away yet. As scared off your past as you are. I probably live in the past more than anyone. I think everyday of things I did, choices I made. But I did not have a choice. You was once a great friend, but to many things changed you. Are you scared of your past? This may have not been the best place to post this, but I really wanted to tell you this!
    I am sure you are a great teacher you was always smarter that you wanted everyone to think. BUT DO NOT FORGET PEOPLE IN YOUR PAST.

  10. Scared of my past? I don’t think so. Bitter? Yeah. Full of regret? Absolutely (TSTC is a perfect example of that…although, in my defense, I enrolled there as a means to be a better husband to a demon spawned from the depths of Hell. So when that fell apart, I kinda lost interest in TSTC. Not an excuse, but it is my reasoning).

    I never said I was better than anyone, either. I also don’t act like my past didn’t happen. How can I? We’re all shaped by the events of the past, and to paraphrase George Santayana, those who don’t learn from their history are destined to repeat it.

    Also, I fully understand my parents’ financial status helped me along, but to say that money was the deciding factor in how I turned out does a disservice to those others who made it out without a monetary crutch. I can name several people from our neck of the woods who did quite well for themselves without anyone’s help.

    And trust me on this, my past helps me control a classroom of new freshmen. Unless they set fire to something, I think I’ve seen it all.

    Wait. Scott Jackson set fire to his desk in seventh grade. Scratch that. Unless they kill someone in the classroom, I think I’ve seen it all.

    I suppose what bothers me the most is willful ignorance. The Emerson quote at the top of the page alludes to willful ignorance.

    To be cont….getting interrupted.

  11. concerned

    Now I do want you to know something, I am not talking bad about you. You was a great person, that we all had a lot of strange times with. I was a roach there in Aquilla with you. I seen Scott Jackson set fire to his desk. I remember the whore you was with. I knew how she was all along, but would never tell you to your face. You was to good of a friend. You had to find that out on your on, Because you would not have believed anything anyone would have said about her. Evan though people from your past are not doing as well as you. Do not judge them. Do not foget them do not leave them in your past. I would imagine if you thought about it long enough you would know who I am. I have been reading your blog since you started. I just never did try to contact you. Do you every talk to anyone from Gholson any more? You had a lot of great friends there that are still great people.

  12. concerned

    I do have to bring up a few memories, You left your trade mark at Taco bell where you took up a dump in there sink. In Aquilla we initiated a boy to become a roach in the woods during PE. We chased the poor guy through the woods hitting him with sticks, rocks and anything we could find, the poured packets of lemon juice on him. This guy was crazy enough lo let us do that to him. I dont evan remember the guys name. I think it was Jerad. We Jumped in front of a math teachers face and called him every name possible, if he was to get on to one of us we all stood behind each other. Kicked the leg out of a biology table during class. The greatest teacher of all I will never forget she was a sub. We called her Ms. Orgy.
    A lot of times I sit around and need a good laugh and I will tell this stories to someone. People ask me where are these guys now. I say I dont know.

    Always remember once friends, friends for life. I hope we continue to have our discussions on here. Maybe you will not ignore me on here.

  13. Flood

    I want to rejoin this conversation, but I feel like I am intruding on a private conversation. Is that weird?

  14. concerned

    Flood you are more than welcome to jump back in. I do not think Mark is going to comment back to me anymore.

  15. Well, better late than never, huh?

    No, I don’t really talk to anyone from Gholson anymore. For one thing, the distance makes it difficult. I speak to Shanan about twice a year and Randy less than that. I see Mitch pretty often. Well, and there’s Tank, but he’s my hetero-lifemate, so that doesn’t count. And some bad things happened around 2001 that I most certainly not go into here, so talking to the old group is not something I have a whole lot of interest in doing.

    I’d forgotten about Mrs. Orgy. Didn’t we also call her Mr. Muppet?

    There was also Stinky. Josh stole the password on his computer and locked him out of his own system. I think the password was “cowboys.” What a dummy that guy was.

    And don’t worry, I haven’t forgot where I come from. As many bad memories as I have, the good ones still outweigh them.

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