If there's one thing that is sure in life, it's that we age. However, getting older doesn't equal getting more mature.
Recently, Don contacted me. The reason his former employer gave him for firing him is that he is too immature. Don asked if I could help him to "grow up." I admit that his inquiry caught me by surprise. However, I get it.
The behavior that makes us the coolest, most sought-after kid in school, doesn't work later in life.
In relationships and at the workplace, we're looking for mature people. In this article, I share why some people don't want to grow up and how you can recognize if you're immature.
For a hotter partner, short-cuts, a more relaxed city, a better job. " It's difficult for you to commit because it feels like missing out on other opportunities.
Why can't you have everything right now?
You want to be free and feel limited by everyday-duties. Meaning you're often late for appointments and have problems meeting deadlines. And then you don't understand why other people make such a big deal out of it. "I'm here now," might be how you try to trivialize your lapse.
Discipline, routine, and duties are not your thing, and you try to avoid them. That's why your co-workers and managers don't respect you. In their eyes, you're an immature, unreliable dreamer.
Are they right? You love the idea of being an entrepreneur and might start a few startups-but you lack push-through.
You feel drawn to "quick-rich" opportunities. Shiny objects attract you like honey attracts bears. The laptop lifestyle and big money for little work seem so appealing!
Oh, you're a model. Who's your agency?
Oh, you're a famous author. Who's your publisher?
Oh, you're the world's greatest speaker? Where do you speak?
You're charming, and that appeals to the girls/boys. However, only for a short time. You don't want to commit. Life is short and full of chicks/chicos, and you can settle down when you're old.
While fleeing the responsibility that comes with a committed relationship, you don't realize that you're incredibly dependent-on your desire to be independent.
Faster, harder, bigger, louder! You need excitement to feel alive. Maybe you resort to drugs, extreme sports, or risky ventures. You might feel attracted by extremist groups or cults. They help you to cover up your dark side that's not kind and charming at all.
Personal, in-depth discussions are not for you. You quickly get bored because you don't know enough about "this stuff" and yourself.
People's initial fascination with you soon turns into the feeling of dealing with a precocious kid.
If you ask children and teens if they want to grow up, they'll nearly always reply: "Yeah, sure!"
For them, maturity and being a grown-up is connected to independence and freedom. McDonald's every day and drinking as much coke as you want. Sleeping in and no homework. Ah, that's heaven.
How often did we hear "you're too young for this" when we were children?
"Grown-up" seems like a synonym for unlimited fun.
Young people could just look at their parents (boring!) to see that their idea of being a grown-up is not accurate. However, they're convinced they will NEVER be anything like their parents (read why we often become exactly like our parents HERE.)
Latest when people get their first job, they realize that being a grown-up also means sacrifices. Most get used to it-and mature.
Especially young men sometimes have a problem growing up. They find the limitations of being a "responsible person" unbearable.
Many then go on strike. They switch jobs and relationships as soon as a problem manifests. They delay growing up by failing tests. That way, they can start all over again.
And they dream. Of a different land, a diverse society, a different world.
The assumption many coaching approaches follow is that the client already possesses the resources to fix their problem. What they're missing is access to these resources.
A human is always part of the whole (person in the system) and the whole (person as the system.)
To help Don "grow up" and coach other clients to their desired goals, we need to understand two things:
You can probably relate: If you listen into yourself, you don't hear one single "voice" on a specific topic or situations. We hear conflicting inner voices, and all of them try to influence our external communication and actions.
Personally, I am a big fan and user of the "The Inner Team" method developed by well-known Hamburg psychologist Friedemann Schulz von Thun.
In short: The Inner Team model assumes that our psyche is not a unified "thing" but a collection of pieces in a polar order.
Meaning someone who lives their life as a greedy person also has a giving part inside of them. Who "loves chaos" carries an orderly component. Most of the time, one of the "voices" is dominant and defines how we live our lives.
If we're immature (and in many other situations,) we have to fix the conflict in our Inner Team and integrate all parts. We have to face the components we exiled.
Most people are unaware that they carry unresolved conflicts with them since their childhood or teenage years. And they resist the idea. "Something that happened 10, 20, 40 years ago doesn't impact me. I'm over it."
Here's the thing:
We never get "over" things like that. Yes, we can decide how we handle a painful experience. However, if we don't face it, the experience will impact us for as long as we live.
In my personal coaching, one of the methods I use helps people to become aware of such inner conflicts.
Here's a little tip on how you can try it. You just need two things: A particular form of awareness and a relevant sentence.
The form of awareness I am referring to is mindfulness.
Most of the time, our focus is outwardly and connected more to our thinking than emotions.
Sit at a quiet place and close your eyes. Direct your attention to your body, your feelings, and your thoughts.
Important: Just observe. You don't need to understand, judge, explain, or change anything. Only observe the physical sensations and your feelings.
Maybe you notice tension in your head, you feel nervous or worried about work.
Keep observing. After a while, you will feel calmer.
And now to the sentence. This exercise helps you to detect and recognize the inner conflicts you might have.
I will give you a set of sentences. The wording is always positive; however, it doesn't mean that you experience them positively.
Here is how it works:
Read the sentence, close your eyes, and say the sentence aloud.
Observe your emotional response. Don't think about the sentence or your response. Be passive, sit still, and wait which reactions you'll experience in the 10 seconds after saying the sentence out loud.
Maybe you will feel tension somewhere in your body. Resistance. Or a feeling of anger, sadness, or emptiness. Perhaps you observe a thought that agrees or disagrees with the sentence.
You can also relax and listen to the audio I made for you. I will say each sentence and leave enough time for you to reflect. There is no wrong or right reaction. Every reaction is welcome.
The following sentence triggers an emotional response in most people:
Did you notice any responses? Relief or tension?
If you were relaxed and mindful, and your responses were neutral (= no change), it indicates that you don't have an inner conflict regarding this topic. If you experienced a positive or negative reaction, you likely found an inner conflict. The more intense the response, the stronger the battle.
The sentences are positive and very general. If you felt resistance towards any of them, it has to do with you. Your brain stored an experience from a past or current relationship.
In addition to my statements above, I feel that a sign of maturity is to know your triggers, meaning the inner buttons other people can press.
For instance, some people react extremely hefty to critical feedback. That's a clear sign of inner conflict. In this particular case, the individual was likely the victim of conditional love.
The intense adverse reaction and "fighting back" is the response of someone that cannot allow that they are imperfect or made a mistake.
Mindfulness can help you to dig deeper. Once you recognized a problem-area, you can look inside (without actively thinking about it. ) Try to "empty" your head and wait what comes to your mind.
Often it's a childhood memory. A situation where you learned that not being perfect or screwing up had unpleasant or even painful consequences. That's when you decided that you will avoid situations like this in the future.
If you're immature, you will find inner conflicts. Facing and removing them will lead to more maturity and better results in your personal and professional life.
Most people need support to achieve that, and that's ok. Asking for help when you need it, is a sign of strengths and maturity.
If you'd like to work with me, go ahead and book a free 15-minute consultation.Continue reading
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An event throws us off course. It can be something as small as a canceled appointment or something existential, for instance, a dangerous disease, job loss, or the end of our marriage. Some people’s mood changes if their favorite soccer team loses or the weather is dreadful.
Most of you can relate: if something happens that’s different from what we expect or wish for, we react with anger, frustration, sadness, or other painful feelings.
Why is that so? Moreover, what can we do to handle negative events constructively?
It’s not serving us to create additional problems for ourselves by running around frustrated or angry, and it doesn’t change whatever bugs us if we create unnecessary suffering.
It comes down to this:
If I perceive something as negative, I don’t feel as good as if I consider an event to be positive.
A simple example:
For two months I am looking forward to a camping trip. However, I’m disappointed because it’s raining on the day of the trip.
I have a little garden where I grow herbs. I’m happy on a rainy day because it’s great for my plants.
The reality is the same in both cases: a rainy day.
How I perceive this reality decides if I am happy or disappointed.
That applies to many situations. We experience something we don’t like or that even screws up our whole life; and we feel stressed, overwhelmed, and maybe even hopeless.
I run outside. I look to the clouds, clench my fists and scream off the top of my lungs: “you stupid rain, stop right now. I was looking forward to this camping trip, and you destroy everything.”
You probably wouldn’t do that because it’s not helpful. If it helped, the number of people screaming at the clouds would be more substantial. (Well, don’t mind Twitter.)
In my experience, the most constructive way to deal with the fact that something doesn’t work out is to accept reality just the way it is and say something like “okay it’s raining. I was looking forward to this trip, and I am disappointed. However, I cannot change reality.”
As long as we resist accepting the truth, we’re unable to take action and make amendments. We can’t heal if we deny facts, and the negative feelings will multiply.
Now I can think about the best alternatives. I could do something else that I love. Alternatively, it could still go on the trip and hold the rain will stop. In simple situations like this, it’s relatively easy to handle disappointment.
However, there are situations where this is much harder:
In these and other difficult situations, most of us are unable to say, “It is what it is. I’ll accept it.”
Fighting reality and denying it seems like the only option. How could you accept facts so painful it tears you apart?
I think it’s understandable that we have to take a moment to process these and similar events before we can move on.
That can mean that we notice and even allow difficult feelings. It is normal to think: “Why me?” Or “I don’t want that.” It’s also understandable that you try to fight what feels unbearable.
I can relate. It happens to me too. In moments like this, it’s as if I am in a huge soap bubble full of thoughts and try to keep reality out. That doesn’t make me feel any better because reality is just that-the reality.
What helps in difficult or even unsolvable situations is to remind yourself that fighting reality doesn’t help you. If you then can also manage to burst the bubble, the bubble with all of these thoughts that wear you down, you will soon feel better.
Because I mentioned a deadly disease earlier on, I should add that even if you’re in an unresolvable situation, finding your inner peace can help you to eliminate unnecessary suffering.
Bursting the bubble enables you to take action and focus on changing what can be changed.
I made a video for you with a few helpful thoughts. Look at it whenever you feel anger, sadness, or frustration about something you can’t change take over.
It will help you to remind yourself that the bubble isn’t real and that it doesn’t serve you to fight reality.
Also, check out our powerful Project Inner Peace 10-week training. Changing your thougths is not an easy task and most people need support and a systematic learning approach to achieve that goal.Continue reading