Although our bodies and minds age naturally, emotional maturity takes effort. How much work do you need to do to become emotionally mature? Find out by taking this quiz.
1. When my car breaks down on the way to work, I …
A. Get scared and cry. What if I’m late to work? Who will I call to help me? What if I am stuck here? By the time I call the tow truck, I am falling apart.
B. Get angry and kick my car. This stupid car is a piece of junk and the guy who sold it to me is a crook! I call my boss screaming mad, cursing out my car. Then I call the tow truck and yell at the dispacher to send the truck now!
C. First I call my boss and let her know what happened. Then I call a tow truck. I’m not sure if it is safe to stand on the side of the road, so I use my intuition to guide me. In the end, I choose to sit in my car with the doors locked until the tow truck arrives.
2. My spouse (or person I am dating) calls to tell me that he or she has to cancel date night. S/he just found out that s/he has to work overtime. I …
A. Pout. We were supposed to go out tonight. How can s/he do this to me? I think s/he doesn’t really love me. S/he is probably thinking about leaving me.
B. Tell my significant other that s/he always does this, and I’m sick of it.
C. Remember that last week I had to work overtime. I tell my spouse (or person I am dating) that I understand, things like this happen, and let’s reschedule the date another night this week.
3. In a tense political Facebook thread, a “friend” attacks me, saying, “You’re part of the problem! People like you are racist!” I …
A. Apologize. I don’t want everyone to think I am a racist. Everyone is going to hate me.
B. Tell the person that he’s an uneducated idiot who doesn’t know his head from his butt.
C. It’s Facebook. Who cares? I respond with a link to an op-ed that I agree with, and then log off. I stated my position, and there’s no point trying to win an argument with an angry person on the Internet.
4. A store clerk is moving slowly at the register, and I’m in a rush to pay and get out the door. I …
A. Feel bad for myself. Nobody gives good service anymore.
B. Say loudly so that everyone else in line as well as the clerk can hear me, “Why is this line moving so slowly? Some people have things to do and can’t wait all day!”
C. Admit that this is life on life’s terms. I weigh my options: I could leave my item and try to pick one up somewhere else later when I am not in a rush; or I could wait in line. I choose to wait in line and feel secure with my choice.
5. My manager yells at me a lot. He acts like I am single-handedly ruining the company. I …
A. Get nervous every time he sends me an email or passes my desk. I spend most of my time apologizing to him. Maybe I am not very good at my job. He’s probably right.
B. Quit. Who does he think he’s messing with? I don’t have to take this!
C. Do my job. When he gets really out of control, I ask him to speak nicely to me. I am confident about the value of my work, although I am always seeking to improve. If possible, I request a meeting with my manager to smooth things out. And I work toward having timely meetings to ensure that we are on the same page, and we preempt issues that may come up.
6. A woman on the street looks me up and down and frowns. I …
A. Internalize it. I knew I shouldn’t have worn this outfit today. I look foolish. Everyone, all day, probably thought I looked like a dope.
B. Say to her, “What are you looking at? Do you have a problem with me? Because if you have a problem with me, say it to my face!”
C. Think to myself, “Huh. That was an uncomfortable interaction. I feel kind of judged,” and then focus my attention on other things.
If you answered mostly C’s, you’re pretty darn emotionally mature! It’s clear that you take responsibility for your emotions, and you’re able to make choices using both your intellect and your instincts. You’re doing well, but the sky is the limit when it comes to self-refinement. Keep growing!
If you answered mostly A’s and B’s, you’ve got some emotional growing up to do. Don’t worry, though. You are capable of working on your emotional responses to challenges. Just like your intellect can grow, so can your emotions. With self-awareness and a commitment to change, you’re just a few steps away from emotional maturity.
Exercise: Make a list of your emotional strengths and weaknesses. Make time every day to focus on a weaker emotion; making an active effort to overcome your natural responses and reactions. Also make time every day to focus on a positive emotion; making an active effort to share your positive responses and reactions. Journal about it in your MyMLC journal.
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