Initiation into adulthood requires that we heal our past and leave childhood behind and marks a rite of passage into responsibility in the community. This can mean healing trauma, or shifting co-dependent and dysfunctional behaviors that might be present in families of origin.
However, initiation and rites of passage are missing in our society and most people do not mark their passages into adulthood. In fact, our culture is beginning to normalize the emotional immaturity of the typical man, woman and teenager.
Introduction to Shamanic Studies
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To be a mature adult in the dictionary means that we are fully developed. I would characterize full adult development as including emotional intelligence, sovereignty (self governance), 100 percent responsibility for our own lives, and that we are aware of and can care for our needs.
Adult development can be stunted or challenged by trauma, lack of support, and more. Many people experience that, and I would venture to guess that there are very few mature spiritual adults in this world. One woman who read this article said, “I know no one like that!” It’s true. There are many wounded children in adult bodies. Here are some skills that mature spiritual adults have. You can also read about personal power and sovereignty here.
Find out if your passage from childhood to adulthood is complete by reading the 9 signs of completion and emotional maturity below. If you identify points of weakness, you can focus on those in your practices and personal evolution journey.
1. You parent yourself
You are able to care for yourself and you have done the work (whether you knew it or not) of reparenting yourself. In the same vein, you’re aware of your needs and understand how you can meet them.
Here are some signs that you do this:
- You have supportive rituals and habits
- You’re able to keep promises to yourself
- You allow yourself to play and experience joy through connection and hobbies
- You appropriately care for your body with proper sleep, nutrition, movement, and nature connection.
2. You take 100 percent responsibility
You know that you are responsible for your behavior, standards and boundaries, habits, where you place your attention, and patterns. You know and uphold what you are available and unavailable for. At the same time, you release others and allow them to have their own emotions and experiences because you know that you can’t control their perception or behavior.
3. You live and let live
Although you may experience judgement or feel concern for others, you realize that other adults’ private lives (like their relationships, parenting, and career) are their responsibility and their business. You do not concern yourself with other peoples’ business and you don’t gossip.
4. You speak the truth
You are able and willing to confront conflict and speak the truth, while understanding your own limits and boundaries. Although setting boundaries can feel confusing, scary, and ridden with guilt, you’re willing to set them and honor them. You do not accept treatment that is unsatisfactory to you. You may be tempted to people please and say yes when you mean no…but you catch or correct yourself.
5. You have emotional intelligence
You are able to welcome, feel, and process your emotions
6. You’re transparent & practice clear communication
Instead of blaming, holding resentments, holding unsaid expectations, deflecting, or projecting, you’re revealed and transparent about your emotions. As a result, you are willing to risk loss in relationship. You like to keep the lines of communication clear and uncluttered with psychic drama when it comes to your loved ones.
7. You’re unselfconscious
You aren’t concerned with other peoples’ opinions of your relationship, your parenting, your interests, sexuality, physical appearance, or career. That’s because you know that these are your choices and it’s your life. You know that other peoples’ opinions of you is none of your business. As a result, you make your life decisions for yourself—not to please others or receive love.
8. You depend on yourself
You know that no one is coming to “save” you and your parents owe you nothing as an adult. You are 100 percent responsible for your life, decisions, and behavior. You can choose to create new experiences for yourself, and you can always choose to learn things from your past.
9. You have a growth mindset, allowing for constant change
You are constantly growing. You do this by healing your past and resolving old wounds so that you don’t continue to repeat patterns that do not serve you. You are conscious and focused on your mindset and allow space for your identity (and the identities of your loved ones) to shift and change throughout life. You know that reality is never fixed, change is the only constant, and you prefer to remove limiting narratives rather than live into them.