It takes a certain amount of living to the learn lessons that mean you’re finally a grownup. That’s when you have acquired enough emotional intelligence so you function really well as an adult.

Last week we talked about four indicators that mean you have acquired emotional intelligence: You quit blaming your parents for all your problems. You realize everything is not always all about you. You understand you can be wrong sometimes, and you can admit it. And because life is short, you live your life as fully and as positively as you can.

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So what are some other indicators of emotional maturity?

  • You realize that perfect is the enemy of good. While being as perfect as you can be in your professional arena is important, it’s probably not as critical to be perfect in other areas. So if you’re a professional chef, strive to be perfect when you cook beef wellington but don’t worry so much about cleaning your house. Good enough is good enough much of the time. In fact, striving for perfection is often a fool’s errand. Don’t make yourself crazy trying to be perfect when it’s not important.
  • You give up holding grudges. It just doesn’t seem as satisfying anymore. In fact, it begins to feel like a chore, holding a grudge when really, it’s easier and more satisfying to let that grudge go. Sulking or giving the silent treatment is just too much work when you’ve reached emotional maturity. Storing up hurt and hatred is too much trouble. You have your grievances, and you’re direct and straightforward in telling your loved ones why you have these grievances. If they understand, great. If they don’t, maybe you try again to connect. But if it doesn’t work out, so be it. Life is too short to hold a grudge.
  • You learn to edit yourself. BEFORE you speak or do something stupid, you think to yourself, Stop. Your experience tells you that what you were about to say is not going to be a good idea, so you stop it before you say it. You edit yourself when it comes to picking battles, too. You know you could complain—and rightfully so—but your experience tells you it won’t be worth it. You’ve learned being right isn’t as important as being happy. And you’re so much happier not doing battle all the time, even though you’re right and your partner (or whomever) is wrong. Still, you don’t compromise your important principles, but you do compromise more and more on issues that aren’t crucial.
  • You love the little things. The longer you live, the more you appreciate tiny everyday experiences that deserve to be cherished. You’ve learned to smell the roses. And appreciate a crisp, sunny day in winter when the sun shines sparkles on the snow. Or the unbridled laughter of a toddler when he discovers how to play with his doggie. Or so many other things that tickle you now because you notice them. Because you are aware of the wonders of the universe and you take the time to appreciate and enjoy them. Your life is incredibly enhanced by this ability.

Next time we’ll talk about even more things that show you’ve made it to emotional maturity.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: