Emotional Maturity

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Emotional Maturity is a cluster of virtuous attitudes and behaviors that draw from the virtues of faith, hope, and temperance. Emotional Maturity is the capacity to steward one’s gifts and talents such that they are expressed in the service of others, especially with respect to understanding their needs and concerns, rather than being diminished by the deficiencies and vagaries of one’s emotional life, in particular, one’s self-centeredness and emotional reactivity.

Emotional Maturity is a configuration of virtue—a suite of attitudes and behaviors manifested as strength for others, which includes

  • Emotional recognition and regulation is the capacity to constructively manage one’s emotional life as opposed to relinquishing control of one’s inner landscape to negative emotions.
  • inner sense that one is in charge of his or her feelings and behavior and, therefore, is not subject to external forces undermining one’s best intentions. Consequently, emotionally mature people are not passive victims of circumstance.
  • Emotional resilience is the strength to rebound from loss or failure. Resilience is derived from the Latin term resilire, meaning “to bounce or spring back.”
  • Emotional realism is the dual capacity to accurately appraise one’s strengths and limitations, as well as accurately read the emotional content of situations.
  • Emotional responsibility is the capacity to take ownership and accountability for one’s attitudes and actions. Emotionally mature people accept the consequences of their decisions, and refrain from making excuses or blaming others.
  • Emotional resonance is the act of “echoing”—picking up and repeating emotional content. As such, it is the capacity to accurately read emotional cues and give voice to the emotions and needs of others. Emotionally mature people connect with others and interact with them in a manner appropriate to their situation and need.

Emotionally mature people do not engage in self-destructive behavior. They manage stress and control their moods. They avoid self-pity and resentment. Although they experience negative emotions, they maintain their emotional equilibrium.

In an age when crisis is the new normal, global organizations need leaders who are able to act quickly and calmly amid chaos” (Barton et al., 2012). Emotional Maturity is a fundamental necessity when the journey is difficult and disappointing; when it is easy to grow weary and lose heart; and when those leading must deal with their own distress and disappointment and have enough positive energy left over to address the needs of others.


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