Read time: 8 minutes
Congratulations. It’s a brand new year. You’ve made it through another one. And, finally, according to people around you, you’ve now matured. Yes, they’re talking about you.
It appears that you’re now more at peace with yourself and you’ve gotten to know yourself better. Your sense of maturity comes with the liberating realization that you no longer have the need to prove anything to anyone except yourself. You can now focus on the things that truly matter. No more games, drama, or excuses. You’re not held back by trivial stuff.
What matters to you now is valuable stuff like taking care of yourself and fostering genuine human connections, which prove not just that you aren’t a sociopath or a psychopath, but that you do care about others. Oh, don’t forget purpose too. And you’ve come to take seriously the act of contributing real value and goodness to the world.
It sounds corny but it’s true.
According to famous motivational coach Tony Robbins, we all have the fundamental need to grow and to contribute to the world we find ourselves in. Also, it’s not enough that we’re producing something but also that we’re actually taking part in the dialogues and interactions happening around us. We need meaning and connection. According to him, the secret to living is giving. It’s not about me but we.
But vital to this growth and being a part of the world, you understand that as an individual, you need to be healthy in yourself. And that means needing to be mature. Now, this is demonstrated with the following signs:
1.) YOU’RE SELF-RELIANT
You’re now capable of doing many things by yourself. You have developed a healthy sense of independence. You’ve come to be self-sufficient as well. Being self-reliant or self-sufficient means that in every aspect of your life—your finances, personal belongings, relationships, and more—you’re on top of them. Even if you’re surviving a major setback, you’re capable of taking care of yourself, even if it means not knowing all the answers. Gone are the days where you constantly relied on others to find the answers for you. You now make an effort to at least try and find the answers for yourself. Whether you know the Internet or not, you have the belief that resources are always available out there.
Of course, it’s okay to ask or get help but ultimately you rely on yourself. For example, if you’re in your late twenties or early thirties and are still finding it difficult to figure stuff like directions out, then considering there’s more than enough information available out there, dude, seriously, get your lazy ass up and search using your smartphone or the Internet.
We’ve all been brought up by and conditioned into a sense of co-dependency. But, in relationships, you understand that you don’t need someone to make you happy—you know you’re happy by yourself. You don’t need anyone to fix you or figure things out for you. You don’t need to control people or make up stories just to convey a certain perception of yourself, so that you can get something out of people, or just because you need it to feel good. Instead, you know how to create value from within you.
Of course, the paradox with self-reliance is that it comes with being part of any community. Self-reliance doesn’t mean not caring or not fighting for the good of others. You still understand that at some point, no matter how much you try to rely on yourself, you need others in building a better community.
2.) YOU PAY ATTENTION TO LITTLE DETAILS
You don’t just demand or see what you want but it’s now become a habit that you take time to think about the many things that happen between perception and reality. Like the finest paintings, they are fine due to their many little details. Healthy relationships are formed by truly paying attention to oneself and others. You take time to observe and, in return, you get more back.
3.) YOU QUIT PLAYING THE VICTIM
You stopped making excuses a long time ago and you’re done with the pity party scene. You’ve stopped scapegoating or blaming anything or everybody else. You want something? You go and get it, no matter how little or big it is. And because you do care and you welcome reality as it is, you’re no longer apathetic about letting things happen just by themselves. You take charge as much as you can over what happens in your life, in spite of knowing you can’t control everything.
4.) YOU’RE NOW MR. ACCOUNTABILITY
You’re no longer tough on the outside and fragile in the inside. You have genuine strength both inside and out. You take accountability for all your actions, even the littlest ones. You’re not afraid to admit your mistakes, your actions, or the words you say. You’ve discovered that by not acknowledging your bullshit, you won’t get anywhere.
5.) YOU’VE COME TO MANAGE WELL YOUR EMOTIONS
You’re not afraid to express your feelings. Gone are the days where you held yourself back just to keep things safe. You’re not afraid to take the heat, especially when it matters the most. You express them easily without the need for aggressiveness. You say what you mean and you mean what you say. If there are things you didn’t mean to say, you apologize. You have found your center where you don’t overdo it or go too little with what you mean.
Now, this comes with a lot of benefits. For one, people don’t have to pretend and make an effort to breathe around you. Instead, they breathe freely. This also comes in handy when you want someone or something. Then, too, you no longer need to control. No need to deny. You’re okay with whatever comes next. No need to waste many unnecessary moments saying things you don’t mean to say. Because you now get it, tiger.
6.) YOU’VE DEVELOPED A HEALTHY SENSE OF ACCEPTANCE
You’ve come to accept the world for what it is. You’re not stuck in some bubble of your perception. You’ve accepted yourself as well, flaws and all. You’re no longer afraid to be vulnerable. In the process, you’ve learned to accept or at least respect others. And at the same time, this acceptance allows you to establish healthy boundaries. It allows you to know where to put or where to focus yourself.
7.) YOU STOPPED CARING WHAT OTHERS THINK (BUT IN A HEALTHY MANNER)
There’s no such thing as not really caring for what others think. We all still do. It’s about caring more for things that matter or are important. We’re talking about healthy indifference here—not the indifference on the surface while underneath there’s still neediness (i.e. IDGAF attitude but actually GAF).
8.) YOU’RE NO LONGER JUDGMENTAL
You judge people not by their appearances, circumstances, or their material possessions. You’re now always looking deeper. You don’t make assumptions. You’ve come to understand that you were judgmental before because you were insecure in yourself—that in order to feel good about yourself, you used to make quick mischaracterizations. But not anymore.
You’ve realized that we all come from different contexts, experiences, and life circumstances. Not everybody is going to marry their girlfriends or boyfriends. Not everybody is going to get married or have kids.
Many will stay forever young. Many will choose to have babies but stay single. Others will live a life of solitude. Many others will choose to be themselves, whomever that may be. Life happens differently for everybody, and this is what’s beautiful—you have now set yourself free from the expectations of your family, friends, and the society you find yourself in.
9.) YOU STOPPED COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
Since you have set yourself free from the expectations of many, you have stopped comparing yourself to others. The only enemy you have is yourself. Your goal now is to conquer yourself every day. With this, you’re no longer insecure of what you have or don’t have. You’re happy by yourself without the need to lower anybody.
10.) YOU’RE NOT EASILY AFFECTED OR OFFENDED
If before, you may have been easily affected by what your friends say or post on Facebook, now you aren’t. You now wish happiness for everyone. You’re no longer troubled by things that you don’t necessarily agree with. You let things be. You don’t see these things as a means of putting pressure on yourself.
Since you’ve learned to manage your emotions, you now know not to identify yourself with any sense of pain or rejection. You know you’re more than the things that are happening to you, or what people say.
If you are outraged by someone or something, it’s because—once again—you genuinely care about others. You care about the well-being of many. You’re not fearful just for your own interests or your own ass but for others as well.
11.) YOU’RE FINALLY HONEST WITH YOURSELF
You question yourself and you don’t see any weakness in that. It’s okay to acknowledge that you don’t know everything. It’s not about being right or being cool. You’re now addressing the hard stuff, even the painful things about yourself. You’ve become comfortable with who you are.
12.) YOU’VE DECIDED TO LIVE AND EMBRACE THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE
None of us get to choose the life that’s been given to us or the life we’re born into. It’s the so-called Lottery of Birth. But we must do what we can and ensure we are present in whatever situation we find ourselves. Yes, life is unfair and we’ve all been in those moments where we ask “why did it have to be me?” But if life has been kind or good to you, you know you can no longer hide yourself from the many realities of this world.
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
― Randy Pausch,
We are all born into a world where we see others have something we don’t. You can choose to wallow, be apathetic, and to make excuses. But you’re here. You’re alive. As unfair as it may seem, you just have to go and live it, even if it’s hard and uncertain.
13.) YOU’VE LET GO
You’re no longer haunted by the hurts you’ve experienced in the past. Some of them may still have an effect, but it’s okay—they’re fading. You’ve come to acknowledge them as part of what made you, and that not only can you not control everything, but you now accept that you cannot control who stays in or leaves your life. Rejection is no longer difficult for you. The real gift for you is welcoming or respecting others’ freedom, or what is.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
And there comes a point when you realize that your dreams were overrated. You have come to understand that you do not need them to find your sense of completion. You no longer try, you just be. You no longer beat yourself up to be something more. You’ve come to forgive yourself and reach the realization that you’re already enough.