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10 Signs You’re Spiritually Mature

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10 Signs You’re Spiritually Mature

We all mature physically whether we want to or not. On the other hand, spiritual maturity is not guaranteed. While you’re most likely to encounter the term “spiritual maturity” within the Christian context, the principles of spiritual maturity can be found in all religious and wisdom traditions. Spiritual maturity may be defined as:

The gradual process of developing healthy and life-giving ways of relating one to oneself, to others, and to the environment.

Most of us desire to develop the right ways of relating to ourselves and to others so that all may experience connection, peace, and lasting joy. Spiritual maturity doesn’t just happen. It requires intention, time, and effort in order to realize its benefits.

Not sure what it takes to be spiritually mature? Here are some signs that you are on the right path.

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1. Your life is guided by a core set of principles and values

Too often we go through life without examining the beliefs, values, and assumptions that guide our actions. The spiritually immature live their lives without being aware of the underlying spiritual forces influencing them. The spiritually mature consciously and carefully chooses to develop life habits consistent with values such as: love, compassion, empathy, selfless giving, dignified living, etc. They avoid all things that promote negative values. Through self-awareness, they seek to live out these values in all areas of life.

2. You are slow to hold on to grudges and quick to forgive

Nelson Mandela once said that resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping for the other person to die. The spiritually mature take this seriously since they are not interesting in taking the life of either themselves or others (literally and metaphorically). They learn to safely release the poison of resentment in order to forgive those who hurt them. They recover more quickly and move on with life in order to free themselves and others from the chains of unforgiveness.

3. You care deeply for the poor, the marginalized, and the downtrodden

All the great spiritual traditions promote caring for the needs of the less fortunate. As we live our hectic lives, it is very easy to tune out the voices of the weak. The spiritually mature person is constantly aware of the needs of the poor and is inspired to take action on their behalf. They understand that for a society to be healthy, it must care for the weakest among them.

4. You maintain your childlike sense of wonder

Too many of us stop being amazed by life as we grow into responsible adults. The spiritually mature see wonder and beauty in everything they do and experience. Familiarity is not a friend of the spiritually mature. They see new things where others see the boring routines. Every moment is treated as a gift, one that they are careful not to squander through negativity or ungratefulness.

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5. You are wary of the dangers of excess but you have an abundance mindset

These two things may seem in conflict with each other but on closer inspection, you will see that they are not. Among the spiritual traditions we see a healthy balance with the environment. The spiritual masters of every age have warned about the dangers of overindulging in material and spiritual pleasures. They take what they need without hoarding. They also give joyfully from an abundance mindset. They do not give from their excess but from their hearts, trusting that there will always be enough.

6. You defer pleasure

Everyday we receive the subtle and not so subtle messages that instant gratification is an inalienable right, that it will lead to happiness, and that it will help you forget about your problems.

Spiritually mature people know that anything worth doing requires that you do something you would rather not do now in order to get a result you want later. This this the essence of delayed gratification. Studies demonstrate a correlation between between delayed gratification and success in multiple areas of life.

The spiritually mature also have an added layer to this principle. They are able to discern that sometimes we simply don’t get what we want either because the timing is not right or because what we desire may not be good for us in the long run. They know that not all pleasurable things need to be pursued, even the seemingly harmless ones.

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7. You are joyful

All too often, being stressed out, reserved, and even unhappy are seen as status symbols. The hidden message is this: “If you’re busy and stressed out, you must be important. If you have no problems, you must either have no responsibilities or you’re lazy.”

There is another layer to our collective suspiciousness of joy. Brené Brown, in her book Daring Greatly, calls it foreboding joy, “or the paradoxical dread that clamps down on momentary joyfulness.”  It’s commonly referred to by the phrase “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

We’re afraid of celebrating joy in our lives either because we’re afraid it will be taken away or because we feel unworthy of our joy. Foreboding joy, according to Brown, is our way of minimizing our vulnerability to disappointment. How can someone be disappointed when they are in a state of “perpetual disappointment.”

The spiritually mature know that in order to combat foreboding joy, gratitude must also be present (this was demonstrated in Brown’s studies). Consistent joyfulness flow, not from naivety or a lack of problems, but from practicing gratitude. The spiritually mature may not always be happy, but they are ever joyful.

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8. You practice personal responsibility

If you’re spiritually mature, you’re more likely to engage in self-reflection as a regular practice. This allows you to examine your actions in light of your values and often hidden motivations. You’ll also be less likely to blame other people or circumstances when things go wrong.

9. You are dependable

A spiritually mature person knows that their word means everything. They are seldom quick to take on new commitments, but take time to discern whether it is consistent with their values and if there is time and energy to devote to something new.

10. You are at peace with what cannot be changed

The spiritually immature worry themselves to death over things they cannot change. The spiritually mature learn to let go of what cannot be controlled in order to focus on what can be influenced.

 

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There is one more truth about the spiritually mature: They never arrive. They know that one must work everyday to live up to their highest ideals. But they also know that the joy is in the journey.

Featured photo credit: Sunlight Forest via pixabay.com

More by this author

Cylon George

A spiritual chaplain and blogger who writes about practical spiritual tips for busy people.

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

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How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

Expressing Anger

Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

Being Passive-Aggressive

This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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Poorly-Timed

Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

Ongoing Anger

Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

Healthy Ways to Express Anger

What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

Being Honest

Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

Being Direct

Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

Being Timely

When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

How to Deal With Anger

If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

1. Slow Down

From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

2. Focus on the “I”

Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

3. Work out

When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

4. Seek Help When Needed

There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

5. Practice Relaxation

We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

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That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

6. Laugh

Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

7. Be Grateful

It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

Final Thoughts

Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go or motivated. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

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More Resources on Anger Management

Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

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