Learning to Wait
One of the main differences between maturity and immaturity is learning to wait. When we are young, we tend to be impatient, in a hurry and unwilling to delay our gratification for something better later on. As we grow in maturity, we learn the value of passing up opportunities, rather than settling for something less or taking the easy way out.
However, becoming mature is not simply a matter of growing older. Some who have simply aged in years have yet to learn the value of putting off something in the short-term for something much better in the future. In addition to the payoff being greater, there is also a great deal of character development, wisdom and self-confidence that comes from working hard and taking risks to attain personal achievement.
When we avoid shortcuts in reaching our goals, we often find that the deeper and richer development of our character is a much bigger benefit than the goal itself! Just think about the examples you have seen where someone achieved success easily, but found very little satisfaction in doing so.
Facing difficulties or having to put in hard work to achieve our goals is necessary in order for us to value what we have and to take pride in our successes. The saying, “A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.” demonstrates the importance of learning lessons which allow us to develop more patience and gratitude for what we have.
Life is full of mountain and valley experiences. It’s the mature person who is able to recognize that current circumstances, no matter how successful or unpleasant, are temporary.
The mature person has learned that pleasant circumstances should be enjoyed as they occur, but should not be so embraced and held onto that the fear of losing them causes worry and anxiety. The immature person is more inclined to become overly anxious and fearful in the midst of painful disappointments, as their view of life becomes so fixated on what they are experiencing right now that they cannot imagine ever getting past them.
Learning to enjoy the moment you are in, while recognizing that pleasant, as well as painful, times are simply part of the human experience and are forever changing, enables you to keep each phase of life in perspective and to maintain a more calm, patient outlook no matter what you face.
Larry Deavers is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Executive Director of Family Counseling Service of West Alabama.