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The Process of Reaching Full Maturity

In the language of EB, maturity means that we “…have assumed the responsibility of our own existence.”

The re-focus of our attention on maturation occurs at AA’s Step 6, which Bill Wilson opened with, “This will separate the men from the boys.” Up to that point we were dealing with a lack of focus. Letting life take us from one circumstance to the next. A lot like the ball in a pinball machine, bouncing around and once in a while being thrown into a frenzy of events at the whim of some outside force. Not all of us were quite that bad but I think the point is made. To some extent most of us are involved in this scenario. One in which we are not in control of our own destiny. Mature people are not like that. They cope with such outside forces and allow them only so much imposition. They literally remove themselves from the dog-eat-dog chaotic arena and form a realm of their own in which peaceful reason rules. The trick to becoming mature like that is to develop a unified existence where our emotions and our reasoning are working toward a common goal. A smoothing out of the emotional highs and lows held in check by reasoning founded in personal pride and a capacity for long term accomplishments.

Maturity is the ripening of the whole person that produces a sense of satisfaction and self-esteem that is the basis of a morality upon which a lasting personal code of behavior unfolds. Such ethical standards are not easily dissuaded by outside forces and are readily recognizable as a mark of integrity. This is probably the most enviable of all human characteristics. It may be difficult for the rest of us to distinguish between smugness or pomposity and true maturity in another person but it is not our place to do so. Maturity is an inside job and must remain so.

The quickest way of reaching full maturity is to not lose time because our ego-self is not willing to accept starting from the bottommost levels that describe our personality. If we refuse to accept disagreeable parts of ourselves we will be unable to evaluate ourselves objectively. Worse, we will retain the element of denial when some new bad behavior resurfaces in the future. Even when facing our unacceptable behavior is repugnant to us the matter of it has to be dealt with so that we can recognize the full range of our personality. We must learn to be alert to such behavior in the future when shortcomings are triggered by long-held resentments, or during a snit. As humans we are endowed with a very broad range of traits to reconcile that include murder and self-sacrifice – all of which are ever present. Maturity is the understanding of oneself, and missing a lesson means having to return to it.

Maturity and humility are partners. Humility in this sense is not being humble such as showing some sort of inferiority or submissiveness it is simply being “right size”   – neither superior or inferior. A tall woman who wears high heals is either being fashionable our haughty, it’s her choice. A very smart man must be aware that he is smart or he will never become wise. Becoming right size takes a great deal of understanding. Common sense is not enough there are too many extenuating circumstances. Our common sense must deal with everything at once. That is what’s been happening right along, like reacting the best way we can to a pinball machine type situation.

Maturity is the outcome of putting together of a huge number of dos and don’ts. Some matters are easily decided as acceptable such as not killing people. Some un-heavy decisions are not as easily decided. How much salt should be used in the dressing is debatable and will be the source of very serious contention based on the effects it will have on one’s health or on the palate. A code of behavior is complex and personal. No matter how much I love you your views will never be my views – no matter how much we try to make that happen. Get out of my head so that we can get along. Maturity is the state of becoming free to be oneself. Organizing maturity is a lengthy process that is much more easily accomplished with the introduction of a program that will not allow one to be diverted by the pinball machine effect. The process is as follows.

1    Find ONE system of your liking that has proven itself – and do not second-guess it

2   Find a mentor (not a controller) unless you are very lucky you will outgrow a few before the process finds its legs.

3   Start at the very bottom-beginning and do not move up until your mentor and you agree it is time to do so and do not linger. This should occur so naturally that both of you are agreed before the fact.

4.   Do not be threatened by anxieties that arise as a consequence of having to make life-changing decisions. Each small adjustment to one’s outlook, and they are mostly small, generates discomforts at leaving the old and some fear of the new.

5   Take the plunge into what may at first seem like an abyss. It is never an abyss and the progress is so natural that it will very soon be a comfort.

6   Do not quit. The process is the most uncomfortable when it is about to take on a life of its own – for which you will be eternally grateful.

7    Be careful of complacency. The gains you have made so far are minor compared to attaining true maturity. DO NOT SETTLE FOR LESS. Finding and living the rest of your life as your true-self is worth any effort. And, Yes! It is available to everyone.

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