After 15 years of work and life experience in the field of communication and relationships, I came to understand something deep about what it means to be a mature and healthy adult in a mature relationship. I thought I'd take the opportunity this Friday to share my honest and humble point of view, for those of you who are looking for love this festive season or just want to learn more to deepen your current relationship.
How do we define what a 'mature adult' in a mature relationship is?
The mature, healthy and psychologicically functional adult wants the chance to grow, to develop new aspects of themselves, discover new strenghts, and achieve a greater feeling of happiness and understanding of what real freedom is through their close involvement with another person. Part of that growth and development is the expansion of their capacity to care for someone else, so that the other's person growth and wellbeing becomes as important to them as their own. If they achieve this, the mature adult naturally becomes a larger person living in a larger world.
The mature, healthy and psychologically functional adult wants to develop and nurture their innate ability to truly know another person and to respect them as well as accept who they are, both in their strengths and weaknesses. They know they will never like everything about the other person, nor will the other person like everything about them, but the mature adult is confident that there is sufficient caring to have a reasonbly good chance of sustaining the relationship. They want a companion, someone to trust, someone to share his feelings, thoughts, aspirations, someone whose goals may be different but not opposed to theirs, someone they can lean on when there is need, and someone who they are willing to have lean on them. The mature adult does not want or need a relationship based on this leaning but on the encouragement to fully develop each other's individuality.
In fact they are confident that should the relationship not work out or end for any reason, and no matter how painful its ending may be, their worth and ability to stand up and to value and enjoy life will not be destroyed.
This is an idealized picture, but these mature needs exist in varying degrees in everyone, though their strength in comparison to each person's hunger for attachment may differ widely. And just as this mature part of us has many specific requirements in an important relationship, it can have corresponding reasons to end such a relationship.
Shall we start observing ourselves and decide if we fit the above criteria? Well, it is a choice, always.
I followed the journey of becoming a 'mature adult' and I used realtionships in life and work to learn how much I needed to grow and let go of old sabotaging habits before having chance to really and honestly define myself as a ' mature adult' in relatioships. Today I feel and think I am there but humbly I know there is work that can be still done to achieve real excellence! We will always be a work in progress.
Easy job? I would certainly say a challenging one. But definitively worthy the work the energy, and the time invested. No regrets! I only carry joy and resolution in my heart for having chosen to do so, many, many years ago.
Image by @luizclas