“There is no such thing as maturity. There is instead an ever-evolving process of maturity, because when there is a maturity there is a conclusion and cessation. That’s the end. That’s when the coffin is closed. You might be deteriorating physically in the long process of aging, but your personal process of daily discovery is ongoing. You continue to learn more and more about yourself everyday.” ~ Bruce Lee
The process of emotional evolution and self-discovery is one that should last our entire lives. If we are the same person that we were 10 years ago, emotionally, it would be safe to say that we have become stagnant emotionally, consciously, and spiritually. When we really sit and think about it, the task of progressing as a person is really our only task while we are here on this earth.
The details of our life don’t matter too much if we are not ultimately on an upward progressive slope to becoming a better version of ourselves. While many of us have experienced huge shifts in our understanding of ourselves and the world in the form of “aha moments” or sudden revelations, the majority of our progression happens slowly over a period of time.
This slower progression may make it a little more difficult to tell if we are becoming a better version of ourselves or if we are regressing. And while many people may measure their “maturity” against external factors, this is not the only indicator of how far we have come. So how can we tell if we are evolving?
Here is an emotional evolution checklist to help us measure our current selves against our former selves:
1) I can more easily stay in the ‘what is’
Progressing emotionally doesn’t necessarily mean we stop having “bad” or “negative” emotions, it just means we observe them without judgment when we do have them. If you haven’t experienced sadness, or envy, or anger you are not human. The true test is if we can be honest enough with ourselves to admit when we are experiencing these emotions.
When we know that we are not our thoughts, nor are we our emotions, we can sit in the energy of the emotions more easily and actually use our emotions as a tool in our personal development process.
2) I can laugh at myself
The more a person evolves emotionally the less seriously they take life and themselves. Since they are less attached to who they think they are and more anchored in their awareness of who they think they are, they are more able to see when they may be over-reacting, or over-stressing about a situation, and actually be able to find the silliness of it all.
When one realizes not only are they not their thoughts, or their physical body, but neither are other people, situations or “conflicts” with others become less dramatic and can actually be a source of entertainment because we realize that while there is a part of us that wants to be so attached to emotions like anger, there really is no point. These emotions are always stemming from the illusory self.
3) I can see things from both sides
When we see that none of us are “perfect”, but that we are all actually imperfectly perfect, we stop being so dead set on that our perspective is the “right” one and just realize that everyone we meet has their own perspective on things.
We realize that just like we have our own values, beliefs and morals, that other people have their own too. At this point we can see that most people are not intentionally trying to hurt people, or cause problems but they are just operating from their own level of understanding of things which means they cannot be “blamed.”
Seeing things from both sides and from the bigger picture is always a sign of a person who is operating from a state of consciousness that is based more in unity and oneness.
As we grow in our development we start to see that others are not doing anything TO us, but rather we are the ones generating our own perception of reality.
So, anytime we are angered or upset by another person we turn it back around on ourselves and ask “What belief about myself am I holding on to that is causing me to be angered by their behavior?”
When we see ourselves as the creator of our reality instead of the victim of it, we become completely empowered to accept the things we cannot change, and change the things we can. We can’t always force other people to act in a certain way, but we always have the power to walk away from situations that aren’t conducive to our well-being and to decipher when we are taking something personally that may not have been intended as a personal attack. Wisdom lies in knowing the difference between the two.
5) I stay focused on myself and my own personal progress
The only person we truly have any control over is ourselves. And while we may be willing to offer advice to family and friends when they ask us for it, ultimately we must know that forcing someone to do something we think they should do is just not possible.
Everyone we meet is weathering their own storm and navigating through their own journey of self-awareness. It is not up to us decide who is moving fast enough or not fast enough, but only to be there for them when they need us to without judgment. If we only compare ourselves to our former selves we save our energy and time focusing on the one person that we do have control over.
The evolution of our emotional “maturity” and consciousness is the one necessity if we truly wish to always be growing as a person. Though, it won’t always be easy…. it will always be worth it.