The 6 Levels of Emotional Maturity
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LEVELS 1-4 OF EMOTIONAL MATURITY
Level One Maturity -Basic Emotional Responsibility- When a person reaches level one of emotional maturity, they realize that they can no longer view their emotional states as the responsibility of external forces such as people, places, things, forces, fate, and spirits. They learn to drop expressions from their speech that show disownership of feelings and a helpless or victim attitude towards their feelings. Expressions such as: "They made me feel . . . , " "It made me feel . . . ," "I made them feel. . . ," and any others that denote external emotional responsibility are first changed into "I" statements as opposed to "You" or blaming statements. They are, for example, changed from, "You make me so mad when you do that," to "I feel mad when you do that because . . . ." People learn at this level to regularly use the following expressions: "When you did . . . , I felt . . . , because . . . ." "When . . . happened, I felt . . . , because . . . ." As time and maturity advance, they begin to use even more accurate statements that inhibit the Blame Game such as: "I chose to feel . . . when I did . . . , because . . . ." "I choose to feel . . . whenever . . . happens, because . . . ." "I chose to feel . . . when he, she, it, did . . . , because . . . ." "I am in the habit of choosing to feel . . . whenever my/your . . . says anything to me, because . . . ."
Level Two Maturity -Emotional Honesty- Emotional honesty concerns the willingness of the person to know and own their own feelings. This is a necessary step to self-understanding and acceptance. The issues of resistance to self-discovery are dealt with at this level. They are related solely to the person's conscious and unconscious fears of dealing directly with the critical voices they hear inside. In the past, they have typically lost all interactions with this internal adversary, so their fears are justified. Now, however, they know how to choose to feel so that they can keep from being destroyed, or they can choose not to interact with their accuser at all. The realization of the old maxim, "To thine own self be true," is the primary goal at this level. This means that we are always true to what we feel: we do not hide, stuff, suppress, or repress what we feel, but honestly experience it at this level of maturity. Here, you are at least honest with yourself about how you really feel. As a secondary goal on this level, people learn to locate others with whom they can safely share their real feelings, their real selves. Such work to never again accept self as behavior.
Level Three Maturity -Emotional Openness- This level concerns the person's willingness and skills in sharing their feelings in an appropriate manner and at appropriate times. Persons at this level experience and learn the value of ventilating feelings, and also the dangers involved in hiding feelings from self and others. Self-disclosure is the important issue at this level of work. Yet, it will never be as important as the willingness of the person to be open to experiencing all of their feelings as they arise without the critical voices they hear inside trying to change, control, or condemn them. The dangers of suppressing feelings, and the values inherent in exploring and allowing all feelings internal expression are investigated further. At this level, one has the openness, the freedom to experience any emotion without the need, the compulsion to suppress or repress it.
Level Four Maturity -Emotional Assertiveness- The person at this level of work enters a new era of positive self-expression. The primary goal here is to be able to ask for and to receive the nurturing that one needs and wants--first from self and then from others. As a secondary goal, persons should learn how to express any feeling appropriately in any situation, i.e., without aggressive overtones. This person makes time for their feelings--they prize and respect them. Such understand the connection between suppressed feelings, stress, and illness. Level Five Maturity, Emotional Understanding, and Level Six Maturity, Emotional Detachment, are both covered in another booklet entitled, Self-Concept: The Enemy Within. For ordering information, please look at the end of this booklet.
Reprinted from THE SECRET OF MATURITY: Or How Not to be Codependent, Second Edition, by Kevin Everett FitzMaurice. © 1990, 1989 Kevin Everett FitzMaurice. Reprinted by permission of PalmTree Publishers.
LEVELS 5-6 OF EMOTIONAL MATURITY
"As I promised in The Secret of Maturity, this book contains levels five and six of the steps to complete emotional maturity. I cut them out of The Secret of Maturity and kept them for this book, because I didn't think they would be understood or appreciated without the explanations offered for self-concepts in this book."
Level Five Maturity -Emotional Understanding- Persons on this level understand the actual cause and effect process of emotional responsibility and irresponsibility. Self-concepts are known as "the" problem. They realize that it is not possible to have a so-called good self-concept without a complimentary bad self-concept. Such experience firsthand, that because of the nature of knowledge and the formation of self-concepts, that all self-concepts contain their opposites. Knowing that though we may hide one half in darkness (unconsciousness) it is still active in us; they begin to regularly leap beyond the pitfalls of self-concepts, self-images, and self-constructs. This knowledge of the Unity of Opposites (of self-concepts, of knowledge) is applied to new situations daily. Other understandings at this level include the following: attempts to capture a moment of self can only kill the self as the self is a living process and not knowledge or memory; to reduce self to knowledge is literally to kill it; one either has their self and is alive and experiencing, or one has found their self as knowledge and lost it. Self-concepts are always externally referented by their very nature, and thus forever the perfect targets and hooks for the Blame Game. (For a description of the Blame Game see The Secret of Maturity.) Knowing that self-concepts are the only hooks that can be used in the Blame Game, people at this level remember to work on seeing their own self-concepts and finding release from their own. Self-knowledge is used to free the self from self-concepts on this level rather than to form them and imprison the self in them. The main work here is a total shift from identifying with any self-concepts to identifying only with the true self. II Corinthians 10:5 "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, . . ." Matthew 10:39 "He that findeth his life shall lose it: . . ."
Level Six Maturity -Emotional Detachment- At this level the person lives without the burden and snare of self-concepts, self-images, self-constructs, and all group-concepts and thing-concepts. They are only aware of self as process, as a sensing being, as an experiencing being, as a living vessel, as unknowable and untrappable--because it is alive and not static or fixed. They have died to the life of self as self-concepts. True detachment from all self-concepts has occurred. Thus true detachment from others has also occurred, which means that absolute emotional responsibility has been achieved (actually discovered). Not having self-concepts to defend or promote, this person can remain unaffected by the Blame Game, and even experiences unconditional love for their enemies. I Thessalonians 4:4 "That every one of you should know how to posses his vessel in sanctification and honor;"
Reprinted from SELF-CONCEPT: The Enemy Within by Kevin Everett FitzMaurice. © 1989 Kevin Everett FitzMaurice. Reprinted by permission of PalmTree Publishers.
QUOTATIONS VARIOUS SOURCES
"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same."--Carlos Castenada
"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."--Anonymous
"What poison is to food, self-pity is to life."--Oliver C. Wilson
"Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."--Abraham Lincoln
"Some pursue happiness, others create it."--Anonymous
"The U. S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself."--Benjamin Franklin
"Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat."--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"Each man the architect of his own fate."--Sallust
"The ability to accept responsibility is the measure of the man."--Roy Smith
"Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will--his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals."--Albert Schweitzer
"The weakling gives more evil than he gets. The weak gives an eye for an eye or the same amount. The strong gives good for evil."--Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
"To a large extent I can control my feelings and desires and can change them so that I lead a happier existence." --Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 247.
"Maturity is doing good for evil."--Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves."--William Shakespeare
"My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."--Oprah Winfrey
"An excuse is a lie guarded."--Jonathan Swift
"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."--Francis Bacon
"Luck is where preparation meets opportunity."--Anonymous
"Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It's a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment."--Eric Butterworth
"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."--Michael Jordan
"While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done."--Helen Keller
"Whatever may be, I am still largely the creator and ruler of my emotional destiny." --Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 252.
"The only disability in life is a bad attitude."--Scott Hamilton
"God has entrusted me with myself."--Epictetus
"Why is it that people are willing to take responsibility for their happiness or mild sadness but not their severe disturbance or great unhappiness?--why ego of course!"--Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
"Teaching the principle of emotional responsibility can be one of the hardest tasks in REBT as clients may have habitually blamed others for their problems and now the therapist is pointing to the true source of their emotional problems--themselves."--Michael Neenan and Windy Dryden, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: Advances in Theory and Practice, page 43
"It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere."--Agnes Repplier
"A man's as miserable as he thinks he is."--Marcus Seneca
"Either do not attempt at all, or go through with it."--Ovid
"Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance."--Samuel Johnson
"If we have not peace within ourselves, it is in vain to seek it from outward sources."--Francois de La Rochefoucauld
"Not flattered by praise, not hurt by blame."--Buddhist saying
"A baby expects to be soothed, but a mature adult soothes themselves."--Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
"Adults are expert at self-disturbance and inept at self-soothing."--Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
"No one has ever gotten to anyone."--Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
"If pleasure first, then pain second."--Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
"There is no man so low that the cure for his condition does not lie strictly within himself."--Thomas L. Masson
"The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs."--Joan Didion
"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."--Mark Twain
"We proclaimed you sound when you were foolish in order to avoid taking part in the long, slow, slogging effort that is the only route to genuine maturity of mind and feeling. Thus, it was no small anomaly of your growing up that while you were the most indulged generation, you were also in many ways the most abandoned to your own meager devices by those into whose safe-keeping you had been given."--Midge Decter
"Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does."--Jean-Paul Sartre, 1905-1980
"But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another."--Galatians 6:4
"Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?"--Annonymous