9 signs you’ve genuinely matured as a person, according to psychology

I recently saw a meme that said, “There is no one I have less in common with than the me who wrote my Facebook statuses circa 2008”.

Can anyone else relate?

But I think the silver lining for looking back at your younger self with slight embarrassment is this:

It means you’ve changed.

What feels cringe now is a testament to your growing maturity.

As the saying goes, we live, we learn.

Other than a slight contempt for your old social media updates, what else are the telltale psychological signs that you’re growing as a person?

Let’s take a look.

1) You take things a lot less personally these days

So much of the way we feel can seem dictated by how others behave towards us.

That’s why learning to see how others treat you as a reflection of them and not you really helps.

As author Don Miguel Ruiz reminds us in his classic book The Four Agreements:

“Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.”

Of course, not taking things personally is a lot easier said than done. Psychology has shown that criticism hurts us all.

But we’re less likely to take things unnecessarily to heart when:

  • We have healthy self-esteem
  • We use positive self-talk
  • We can drop perfectionism
  • We can regulate our emotions

All of these things demand maturity.

2) Even when you don’t agree, you find it easier to see where someone is coming from

There are a few skills and qualities at play here, but predominantly it’s a strong sign of empathy.

You are able to put your own views and feelings aside to try to see their side of things.

Emotionally mature people tend to be less self-focused. Meaning it’s easier for them to consider other people’s needs and preferences.

Although psychologists suspect we are genetically hardwired for empathy, it tends to develop as we grow.

As pointed out in The New York Times:

“Researchers have discovered that far from being an immutable trait, empathy can be developed. There are steps people can take to acknowledge their biases and to move beyond their own worldviews to try to understand those held by other people.”

Check out more tips to practice empathy and develop your skills here.

3) Being yourself is more important to you than being liked by everyone

Fitting in and being liked can feel like life or death in your younger years.

It’s not that you’re necessarily over-sensitive either. Psychologists have discovered that we feel social rejection in a similar way to physical pain.

It demands vulnerability to open up. It can feel very exposing to say “I am what I am”.

But it’s essential for us to build genuine relationships with others.

Authenticity is also a bedrock of well-being as Psychology Today reminds us:

“Individuals considered authentic are those who strive to align their actions with their core values and beliefs with the hope of discovering, and then acting in sync with, their true selves. When people act in ways that violate their self-concept, they may experience negative feelings, ranging from mild discomfort to heavy guilt.”

Although our journey towards being ourselves is a lifelong process, we often hit an age where we’ve spent plenty of time thinking about our values, what makes us tick, and what matters to us.

At this point, staying true to yourself likely feels far more important than impressing others.

4) You’re not as prone to emotional outbursts

Emotions can easily get the better of us.

That’s why being able to keep them under control suggests you’ve learned the complicated art of emotional regulation.

Reflection and self-awareness teaches us to pause before we get too carried away.

It’s not about suppressing how you feel, it’s more a case of learning to express yourself in healthy rather than destructive ways.

For example, rather than blow a fuse and lose your temper, you’re able to find patience, take a breath, and look to solve conflict in constructive ways.

When you can keep a lid on our emotions it not only improves our relationships with others, but it also means we’re less likely to say or do things we later regret.

This brings us to our next point.

5) You’re much better at thinking before you speak or act

Hastiness often comes along with immaturity.

As we get older, and hopefully wiser, impulse control is something we tend to get better at.

So rather than rush on in, we can step back and apply some much-needed consideration first.

It takes maturity to consider the consequences.

We’ve all put our foot in it or ended up doing something we later decided was a bit of a dumb move.

But the more we gain self-control the less frequently these missteps tend to occur.

6) Swallowing your pride doesn’t seem as difficult

Humble and confident woman 9 signs you’ve genuinely matured as a person, according to psychology

My motto is:

Self-respect is essential yet pride is pointless.

There is a world of difference between the two, but it does take a certain amount of maturity to appreciate that.

Self-respect gives us the boundaries and self-esteem to protect and promote ourselves as we go through life.

But pride has a tendency to make us stubborn and keep us stuck.

Therapist John Amodeo says dignity is a healthier expression way to go than pride.

“It’s not about our social status, financial assets, or worldly achievements. Whether we experience successes or failures, we maintain self-compassion. Our dignity derives from doing our best to live as an ethical human being. We live with a nourishing sense of gentle dignity as we become honest with ourselves, kind toward others, and respectful of life in all its forms.”

Dropping our inflated sense of pride also makes our next sign a lot easier to achieve.

7) You may not have stamped it out, but you can spot when your ego rears its head

I’m not convinced we can completely ditch our ego. The best we can hope for is to rein it in.

By noticing it we can more consciously control how it shows up in our lives.

Here are some of the most common ways it asserts itself:

  • Arrogance
  • Assuming we’re right or know best
  • Being overly defensive
  • Feeling a need to win
  • Refusing to own up to mistakes
  • Belittling people (so we can feel better than them)
  • Being wrapped up in ourselves
  • Interrupting others
  • Being terrified of making mistakes

The good thing is, just having this awareness of when our ego arises presents us with a choice — let it run wild or cut it off.

That’s why picking up on the problem is always the most important step to changing it.

8) You’ve suffered but you’ve survived

Experience is always the best way to learn. Sadly, it’s the hard lessons that have more of an impact.

No one welcomes heartache or difficult times. But there’s no getting away from the fact that despite feeling like hell, they can be useful.

As therapist Sara A. Showalter Van Tongeren reminds us, suffering offers up new meaning and valuable insights.

“It sits in the place where existential threats have eaten away at our neatly constructed and controlled view of reality. It is the place where anxiety lives, where fears abound, and where our views of the world, and maybe even our beliefs, are shattered. This requires courage for each person to forge on and be with these questions that are revealed. It is painstaking, sometimes panic-inducing, work, but if we can sit with it, we can learn a lot about what matters most.”

We find out what we’re made of when the chips are down. Often we discover that we’re much stronger than we imagined.

Resilience and grit are incredibly powerful qualities to take with you in life. They are the hard-earned upside of your battle scars.

9) You’re no longer looking for excuses or something to blame

Here’s the funny thing:

Sometimes feeling like you’re not in control over your life can be less daunting than realizing it’s all down to you.

In that way, being at “the mercy of life” at least absolves you from any part to play in how things have turned out.

Taking total responsibility for yourself isn’t easy for this very reason.

So it can mean that we inadvertently slip into victimhood, desperately searching for someone or something to pin all our bad luck on.

That’s not to say that plenty of things aren’t out of your hands. Neither is it a denial that people can wrong us through no fault of our own.

But ultimately, it’s a sign of maturity when we accept that how we feel, think, and act is down to us alone. 

It’s about progress, and that’s not always linear

Personal development is no picnic.

Sure, in some ways we subtly mature without even noticing. But a lot of the time growth can be messy and clunky too.

It doesn’t happen in a flash and it certainly doesn’t mean we’re perfect.

Often we see shoots of growth but then feel like we’ve gone back to square one again.

Messups and mistakes happen no matter how genuinely mature we become.

That’s why it’s important to celebrate how far you’ve come and show yourself plenty of compassion and patience towards how far you still have to go.

Picture of Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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