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10 Signs You’re Spiritually Mature

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.

 

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

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Cylon George

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

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

Negativity affects ourselves and everyone around us. It limits our potential to become something great and live a fulfilling, purposeful life. Negativity has a tangible effect on our health, too. Research has shown that people who cultivate negative energy experience more stress, more sickness, and less opportunity over the course of their lives than those who choose to live positively.

When we make a decision to become positive, and follow that decision up with action, we will begin to encounter situations and people that are also positive. The negative energy gets edged out by all positive experiences. It’s a snowball effect.

Although negative and positive thoughts will always exist, the key to becoming positive is to limit the amount of negativity that we experience by filling ourselves up with more positivity.

Here are some ways to get rid of negativity and become more positive.

1. Become Grateful for Everything

When life is all about us, it’s easy to believe that we deserve what we have. An attitude of entitlement puts us at the center of the universe and sets up the unrealistic expectation that others should cater to us, our needs, and our wants. This vain state of existence is a surefire way to set yourself up for an unfulfilled life of negativity.

People living in this sort of entitlement are “energy suckers”–they are always searching for what they can get out of a situation. People that don’t appreciate the nuances of their lives live in a constant state of lacking. And it’s really difficult to live a positive life this way.

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When we begin to be grateful and appreciate everything in our lives–from the small struggles that make us better, to the car that gets us from A to B every day–we shift our attitude from one of selfishness, to one of appreciation. This appreciation gets noticed by others, and a positive harmony begins to form in our relationships.

We begin to receive more of that which we are grateful for, because we’ve opened ourselves up to the idea of receiving, instead of taking. This will make your life more fulfilling, and more positive.

2. Laugh More, Especially at Yourself

Life gets busy, our schedules fill up, we get into relationships, and work can feel task oriented and routine-driven at times. Being human can feel more like being a robot. But having this work-driven, serious attitude often results in negative and performance oriented thinking.

Becoming positive means taking life less seriously and letting yourself off the hook. This is the only life that you get to live, why not lighten up your mood?

Laughter helps us become positive by lightening our mood and reminding us not to take life so seriously. Are you sensitive to light sarcasm? Do you have trouble laughing at jokes? Usually, people who are stressed out and overly serious get most offended by sarcasm because their life is all work and no play.

If we can learn to laugh at ourselves and our mistakes, life will become more of an experiment in finding out what makes us happy. And finding happiness means finding positivity.

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3. Help Others

Negativity goes hand in hand with selfishness. People that live only for themselves have no higher purpose in their lives. If the whole point of this world is only to take care of yourself and no one else, the road to a long-term fulfillment and purpose is going to be a long one.

Positivity accompanies purpose. The most basic way to create purpose and positivity in your life is to begin doing things for others. Start small; open the door for the person in front of you at Starbucks or ask someone how their day was before telling them about yours.

Helping others will give you an intangible sense of value that will translate into positivity. And people might just appreciate you in the process.

4. Change Your Thinking

We can either be our best coach or our best enemy. Change starts from within. If you want to become more positive, change the wording of your thoughts. We are the hardest on ourselves, and a stream of negative self talk is corrosive to a positive life.

The next time you have a negative thought, write it down and rephrase it with a positive spin. For example, change a thought like, “I can’t believe I did so horribly on the test–I suck.” to “I didn’t do as well as I hoped to on this test. But I know I’m capable and I’ll do better next time.”

Changing our self-talk is powerful.

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5. Surround Yourself with Positive People

We become most like the people that we surround ourselves with. If our friend group is full of negative energy-suckers and drama queens, we will emulate that behavior and become like them. It is very difficult to become more positive when the people around us don’t support or demonstrate positive behavior.

As you become more positive, you’ll find that your existing friends will either appreciate the new you or they will become resistant to your positive changes. This is a natural response.

Change is scary; but cutting out the negative people in your life is a huge step to becoming more positive. Positive people reflect and bounce their perspectives onto one another. Positivity is a step-by-step process when you do it solo, but a positive group of friends can be an escalator.

6. Get into Action

Negative thoughts can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. Negativity is usually accompanied by a “freak-out” response, especially when tied to relationships, people and to worrying about the future. This is debilitating to becoming positive and usually snowballs into more worry, more stress and more freak-outs.

Turn the negative stress into positive action. The next time you’re in one of these situations, walk away and take a break. With your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths. Once you’re calm, approach the situation or problem with a pen and pad of paper. Write out four or five actions or solutions to begin solving the problem.

Taking yourself out of the emotionally charged negative by moving into the action-oriented positive will help you solve more problems rationally and live in positivity

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7. Take Full Responsibility, Stop Being the Victim

You are responsible for your thoughts.

People that consistently believe that things happen to them handicap themselves to a victim mentality. This is a subtle and deceptive negative thought pattern. Phrases like “I have to work” or “I can’t believe he did that to me” are indicators of a victim mentality. Blaming circumstances and blaming others only handicaps our decision to change something negative into something positive.

Taking full responsibility for your life, your thoughts and your actions is one of the biggest steps in creating a more positive life. We have unlimited potential within to create our own reality, change our life, and change our thoughts. When we begin to really internalize this, we discover that no one can make us feel or do anything. We choose our emotional and behavioral response to people and circumstances.

Make positive choices in favor of yourself.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny” ― Lao Tzu

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Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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