On maturity

Edison/Ford TreesAs a young person I was aware of the concept of maturity as something that could be sought, developed, worked on, but I was never quite sure how to measure whether or not someone had achieved maturity.

I've defined maturity in different ways throughout my life, most of them probably flawed.

Recently I've come to see maturity as a measure of someone's ability to understand the motivations of other people, to build for themselves a context about how a given situation or set of decisions has come about, and to have empathy for those motivations and that context.

When I experience what I think of as someone else's immaturity, or myself feel immature, it often seems tied to some inability to step outside their/my own experiences and motivations.  I suppose that ability comes with age, or with having unexpected/difficult things happen to you, or by making choices that put us in new or uncomfortable situations.

In some ways, it's a privilege to broaden one's experiential horizon to be able to understand unfamiliar people and situations, e.g. having the money to finance travel to other cultures, or having the time and good health to explore new environments.  And I know that some people just don't seem wired for empathy, while others speak important truths out loud because they are not as concerned with sensitivity to others...maybe these people are immature, or maybe my working definition is too narrow.

What qualities come to mind when you think of someone who is mature?

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