“The prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets.. the prettiest eyes have cried the most tears, the kindest hearts have felt the most pain.”
The words “emotionally mature” sounds more of a positive than a negative. However, needing to conform to that from a young age also brings some cons. Here are some of the truths behind needing to be emotionally mature from a young age:
1. You have more patience to deal with people, but you start to become less affected by them than most.
When you have grown up in an environment that requires you to be emotionally mature to deal with your circumstances, you start to learn that anger is unable to get you or anyone else anywhere useful in the conversation. If you get angry, the other person may get angrier. If the other person gets angry and you retort back, the cycle repeats over and over again until someone gives up or the relationship breaks down.
From a young age, you may have slowly started choosing to give in to silence instead. You become more observant of the subject: you notice the flared nostrils, defined neck vein, their lips pressed in a thin line, and clenched fists of the person who you are caught in a cross-fire with. From a young age, you start to analyse the possible outcomes of a heated argument, knowing it could go either one of two ways. Either the subject is able to comprehend and be open to sense, or they will be insistent on being right and refuse to listen regardless of what you may contribute to the conversation.
From a young age, you would have been learning many times over of what it’s like to become the bigger person. On the surface, it may be seen as you giving up and allowing the other person to win. You feel that you never get the glory. But internally, you would have won many of your own battles for your peace of mind by not entertaining what was not worth your time, energy or emotions.
2. You find it easier to remove yourself from situations.
On the surface, it may seem that you ‘give up’ winning a conversation easier. From a young age, you have slowly and subconsciously adopted the role of being the peacemaker. You find yourself stepping away from situations easily because you dislike the drama and conflict that comes along with it. However as time goes by, you may realise that you have subconsciously swept many of your own emotions under the rug as a result.
From a young age, you would have left many things unsaid. And sometimes you may wonder if it was all worth it to have stopped feeling for all this.
3. You do your job to be the middle person. Then, you leave.
When your circumstances require you to be emotionally mature from a young age, you start to see certain aspects of the emotional as a routine. When you have reached your limit and feel emotionally drained, sometimes unfortunately, dealing with people becomes a task. “Right, this person is angry. So firstly, I’ll listen calmly. Then, if they are open to it, next step would be speaking to them about own experience to comfort them. If that doesn’t work, be empathetic and offer some comforting comments.” You care so much for people, yet you lack the energy to care at all sometimes because your heart goes numb and you switch off.
Your mind switches to becoming the ‘professional’. For a moment your heart would try to ignore your own personal connection with the person, and instead you are focused on doing your job. You stand in as the middle person to listen. After having done your job, you mentally leave the situation. At times, you wonder if you were ever needed or wanted for any other purpose.
4. Your mind has convinced you that you don’t need people, but in reality, we all do.
For many of us, this is the truth behind the root of why we feel or have felt this way: we have been in many situations that we did need people, but we never received that support that we needed and so we have learned how to cope without. From a young age, you may have built your pride on the basis that you don’t need people, that you were always self-sufficient. From a young age, you may have been a strong advocate of being strong and independent, standing for the message of being whole all on your own.
From a young age, you felt that you didn’t need people because you have felt and witnessed the hassle of so many types of people. You reach your own realisation that because of this, you have started appreciating the beauty of basking in your own solitude. From a young age, you have learned how to appreciate your own alone time.
From a young age, you may have scorned the idea of relationships. You may have a skeptical view of people being together, and you may have often focused on the downsides rather than the happiness behind their unions. Additionally, you might have also found yourself in situations where you had no clue on how you should deal with friendships and relationships. Till now, you may have had many friendships and relationships that have fallen away or have been left on a cliffhanger.
As you grow older, you may have started to realise that you are hurting the people who you care for when you are being toxic to your own wellbeing. And this is what scares you. You start to keep a distance from these people, because you have become convinced that being toxic all on your own wouldn’t hurt you. The looming problem is that it hurts the people around you, so removing that from the equation seems to sound logical didn’t it?
And it is at this point when you start to keep a distance from the people in your life. After all, being labelled a ‘bad friend’ is easier than admitting you have a problem, right?
5. Your safe haven lies in your passions.
The depth and the extent you would go to for your passions may come off as eccentric to many in the public. Your passion whether it being in writing, music, art, photography, or education — these are the things that keep you feeling alive. It is when you are talking about your passions that your smile is actually able to reflect the same light in your eyes. If you had to learn to be emotionally mature from a young age, you also develop a greater love for what you love because your passion has also become your safe space. Your passion became your sanctuary whenever you get to be away from your ‘job’ of being the middle person or the peacemaker.
Your passion was always your lifeline, and it still is.
6. You often doubt what is your actual contribution to the people in your life.
Unknowingly, you start to refrain from the idea of taking care of your own wellbeing. You doubt your self-worth.
“Am I just good for being the middle person? Maybe that’s all I am seen as.”
“Maybe they’re only sticking around because I’m nice..”
“I’m dull. I’m nothing other than a peacemaker.”
As a result of your own thoughts, you slowly start to self-sabotage many of your friendships or relationships. Because of that, these friendships and relationships start to all fall away. You then follow it up by going on a cycle of self-blame. You blame yourself, and yet, you lack the energy to try anymore.
7. You have a greater love for the people around you than most. But you don’t realise that the more you give out, the more you subconsciously neglect love for yourself.
Needing to be emotionally mature from a young age often connotes that you prioritise and are more aware of the impact of your actions on the people around you rather than the impact it has on you. You and a friend may have gotten into a spat over jealousy or a misunderstanding. There was never any formal apology or formal address of what had happened between the both of you, but you decided to let it go and move forward. However beneath the surface, there is an internal breakdown of your approach to the friendship and you have closed up to the person in more ways than you know. A child may start to keep their mouths shut if they witnessed their parents arguing at length whenever he or she rebelled or shared different views. A teenager may become more cautious with the tone of their words if they noticed how someone in their circle would react unpleasantly to it.
The ugly truth of needing to be emotionally mature from a young age is this: you have unknowingly adopted attitudes that are toxic to your own wellbeing. It became easy to disregard your own wellbeing, because no one sees beneath the persona you have built for the public. It became easy to avoid conversations that would address how you really felt, because your anxiety has aided you in coming up with many lies for your absence.
Here is another ugly realisation that comes with being emotionally mature from a young age: it became easy to do so because you saw being seen in a bad light as a ‘better’ option than addressing the growing pile of issues you had.
To all my emotionally mature young people, this is a new truth I want you to believe instead: you need to learn to let go. You need to stop thinking of how everyone is going to react or how everyone’s wellbeing is above yours. You need to start taking a step back and evaluate how you are really living because it is hurting you in more ways than you know.
I know that life has been hard beneath the many personas you have hidden behind over the years to keep everything you feel inside you. But I want you to remember that you are not chained by anything that has happened, and you have the power to do something about it.
You are important, you are beautiful, you are worthy, and you deserve much more. You are full of love, so please — start showing some of that love to yourself too.