Some people seem wise and mature.
They always carry around a book and say things like “Life is what you make it” or “The only way out is through.”
But once we get to know them better, we realize they’re anything but!
So how can we tell if someone is genuinely wise and mature then?
Well, focus on their habits.
Pay attention if they regularly do these 11 things.
1) Being okay with not knowing
Will your current relationship last forever? Will you be recognized for your art? Will you live till 60?
Are you making wise decisions?
These questions can keep regular folks up at night, but not the genuinely wise and mature people.
They don’t have the need to know everything because they know it’s just impossible!
Instead, they believe that only time will tell.
Life is full of questions—and that’s just how it’s supposed to be.
As Rilke once said, “Do not now seek the answers…Instead, live the questions now.”
So instead of worrying their lives away, they’ll just bask in the “not knowing.” They find joy in imagining the many possibilities that their choices will lead them.
2) Not bragging or showing off
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing”, said Socrates.
And the genuinely wise people believe in this.
They might have won a Nobel Prize, but they’ll not bring it up unless someone asks them first.
Because they actually don’t think they “deserve” to show off!
They know there are so many people who are much better than them.
Besides, they’d rather keep their personal victories to themselves and just focus on discussing more important matters.
True wisdom is knowing that we’re just a tiny speck in the universe, and that we’re more or less the same in the grand scheme of things.
So why brag when there’s nothing to brag about?
3) Being open to change
Change isn’t easy, mainly because it’s terrifying.
That’s why most people would rather fight to keep the status quo even when the change actually benefits them.
Wise and mature people can set aside their fears and discomfort and grab a good chance to do something different.
They are very aware that progress of any kind is impossible without change.
So if they’re offered an opportunity to do something they’ve never done before, they’d take it.
And if someone who’s not their type asks them out, they’d give them a chance.
Stability is nice. But change is essential to live a full life.
4) Taking charge of one’s emotions
There’s a common idea that maturity is about being able to keep a stone-cold face at all times.
But this is not what wisdom or maturity is like!
In fact, trying to be “stoic” or “unflappable” is something immature people do in order to look like they’re more mature than they actually are.
Wisdom is knowing that emotions aren’t something to be shunned, and being “emotional” isn’t a bad thing in itself.
Maturity is about knowing how to channel one’s emotions properly—to express happiness, sadness, and even outrage when it’s appropriate and to hold back when it’s not.
5) Accepting that things don’t revolve around them
There are people who look at every single issue thinking “What can I do to make this about ME?” or “Wait, did they just insult ME?”
Genuinely wise and mature people are not like this at all.
They don’t make themself the center of everything because not only do they think it’s foolish, they’re aware that every single person has their own life to deal with.
So when someone is moody, they won’t get offended by it. They let them be moody. It’s not about them, after all.
And if someone talks about their apartment, they won’t talk about theirs because it’s not a contest.
Genuinely wise and mature people know that there’s nothing to gain by making things about them.
So they’d rather stop gazing at their navel and look up instead.
6) Being able to self-criticize without going overboard
Without them, we will stagnate and grow old without ever actually “growing up”.
But at the same time, some people take self-criticism too far and end up subjecting themselves to self-flagellation.
Self-criticism should be about identifying your personal failures, and not ruining your mental health with things like “I’ll never make it”, and “I’m never going to be good enough!”
And that’s what mature people understand.
That’s why when they self-criticize, they make it a point to stop themselves if they ever feel like they’re starting to spiral into negativity.
7) Being true to one’s self no matter what
People who are insecure and immature care a bit too much about what other people think of them.
They go to great lengths to ensure that they’ll always look good in public. And not just that, they’re also willing to hide or change who they are just so people will like them.
The genuinely wise and mature among us learn much earlier in life that all these people-pleasing is not worth it.
They basically go “f*ck it!” and just be their genuine selves regardless of other people’s opinions!
They don’t care if people think that boxing is too “manly” for girls to get into, or if pink is too “girly” for men.
They don’t care if they seem “rude” or “difficult” or “weird” for not trying to please others.
They’ll do what they please… so long as they’re not harming anybody!
8) Refusing to pursue grudges and drama
Copious amounts of grudges and drama are perhaps one of the more iconic parts of high school and college life.
One of the biggest reasons why our teenage years are so full of drama and intrigue is that we simply weren’t wise or mature in any way back then… even if we thought we were!
That said, it’s not just about age—there are people who behave like teens and chase drama well into their 50s.
Realizing that nursing grudges and chasing after drama is something that comes with maturity.
The most mature among us would rather try and settle on a compromise with people who have wronged them, and distance themselves from those who can’t be reasoned with.
The genuinely wise and mature simply find no reason to waste time on hating.
9) Being teachable
When someone tells us things (we think) we already know, it’s hard not to groan and go “I already know about this!” or “Don’t you know I have a PhD in Applied Physics?!”
We might even take them so personally that we ask “Just who do you think you are?”
But no matter how tempting, wise and mature people resist the urge to groan or get offended.
Instead, they take this as a good opportunity to learn more—and there’s ALWAYS more to learn.
This isn’t limited to just academics and knowledge.
They also listen when someone gives them life advice, or if someone teaches them basic life skills like how to make the perfect omelet.
And this is the reason why genuinely wise and mature people keep getting wiser and more mature.
10) Refusing to let “success” define them and others
The word means different things to different people—romantic success for teens, fame for aspiring artists, and riches for the upstart entrepreneur.
Whatever form it may take, the pursuit of success—or at least a reputation for being successful— has always been a particularly thorny motivator.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to succeed, of course. But people go a bit too far and let their success (or lack thereof) define them.
The truly wise person knows better.
They don’t think people are worth more than others simply because they’re “successful”, and likewise they don’t think a lack of success erodes someone’s worth.
11) Accepting the inevitability of change and death
Many of us react to change and death rather poorly.
Most of us would rather not even acknowledge that it might happen to us!
And when we’re forced to, we lose hope and go “Why bother then? Everything’s going to end anyway!”
It takes a lot of maturity and wisdom to accept death as it truly is—as a natural part of living, rather than something to fear or hate.
And with this acceptance of death comes a newfound appreciation for life where everything is precious and nothing is taken for granted.
After all, when you know that nothing lasts forever, every moment you spend alive becomes that much more precious.
The hallmarks of a genuinely wise and mature person is a small ego, an open mind, and a big heart.
If you have at least half of the habits in this list, then you’re already wiser and more mature than the average person.
But if you realize you actually lack these traits, don’t worry!
Wisdom and maturity are things we find in ourselves and improve as we grow older.
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