Emotional maturity is not encouraged by our popular culture.
In fact, psycho-spiritual maturity is actively undermined when we internalize the messages we are fed through the media.
We are being brainwashed to think a “good life” means a life without problems, frustrations or disappointments. That happiness means having the ability to avoid, control or edit out what displeases us or doesn’t feel good. As if the true habits of happiness don't require some real effort on our part. We are even fed the delusional idea that we can live life without aging and the changes it brings to our bodies!
We are being taught to think that bad things shouldn’t happen.
They do, and will. We watch endless commercials that tell us difficult emotions are to be numbed or avoided at all costs. As a result we develop little tolerance to persevere and benefit from the eventual transformation and wisdom they may offer. As a psychotherapist for the past 20+ years I can tell you that the most common ways we are pushed into emotional and spiritual maturity are often the most difficult.
The experiences that offer us the opportunity to grow, deepen and transform are usually those that pull the rug out from under us first.
- Job losses, etc.
When we face these challenges and embrace them we grow. When we avoid them, reject them, drug them or deny them, they fester. What we resist, persists. If you find yourself stuck too long in “it shouldn’t have happened” I invite you to begin to heal by taking the first step:
Accept what “is”, warts and all, and find your way back into a life well-lived from there.
You may need some professional help with this. Wise people will usually acknowledge that their wisdom was hard won through very challenging experiences and a whole range of very human emotions they had the courage to experience and transform.
I have featured a poem each week in honor of Poetry Month. Here is a classic poem that speaks to this topic.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.