I remember some quotes recently that stated something along the lines of “most adults are just children acting like grown ups” and that “everybody ages, but few people mature”, and it triggered me to reflect a bit on the the transition from boyhood/girlhood to manhood/womanhood. At first I assumed there would be a stark difference in the inner journey to true maturity depending on gender, but a deeper investigation concluded that the inner transformation and experience is very similar, with the behavioral output holding most the difference.
The first, most basic and essential step into maturity is the act of taking accountability and responsibility in your life rather than blaming external circumstances and/or predestined factors. My last post talked about aligning your words/ideals with your actions, and this is an important aspect of accountability. When you stop blaming and playing victim, you realize your capacity to act in accordance with your higher reason. Simply put, you are now able to do what you know you need to do when you need to do it, and what you know you need to do is what is in alignment with your intuition, values, and ideals. Essentially, the journey of maturity is a process of expressing your full potential, and it is your beliefs that strongly influence, form, and often limit this potential.
This first step of accountability starts with identifying the problem (self limiting beliefs, emotional turbulence), and the next step is dissolution and transmutation. This involves the expressing, embracing, and transmuting of emotional energy. In true maturity, feelings and emotions are never suppressed or ignored, as this only creates subconscious blockages and projections (as Jung calls it, the shadow). Feelings and emotions are to be felt and embraced deeply, yet in this embrace, they are not reacted to nor do they trigger a reaction. This takes great awareness and practice in remaining as the observer rather than the actor/doer. Awareness is the space that allows emotions and thoughts to pass through, dissolve, or transmute. In having a detached embrace, all is felt in its deepest and fullest capacity, yet there is no identification with the inner phenomena. When we can fully hold space for our own emotions, we can do so for others, and then we can respond compassionately and intelligently to them. Awareness is the key ingredient in all intelligent and compassionate activity. If we get caught up in the surge of emotions and caught in our feelings, losing our observer awareness, our intelligence, reason, and intuition is disrupted, hindering our ability to act properly.
Once we have achieved the ability to experience the detached embrace of emotion, we can begin to use or transmute this energy. We all have felt the energy that comes with emotion, whether it is the anger to make you stronger than you have ever been, the fear to make you run faster than you have ever run, the depression to stop you from even moving out of bed, or the passion to propel you into your goals and interests. I think it is also key to understand that emotional and sexual energy are intertwined and often inseparable, so when I speak of emotional energy, it also includes sexual energy. When one has the awareness to feel this energy from a detached place, they can consciously choose to flow with it, to feel it through and dissolve it without reacting to it, or with practice, transmute and use this energy in other ways. In how this emotional energy is used and channeled is where I begin to see a divergence in gender.
When we look at the behavioral output of the inner transmutation of emotion and energy, we can make a general delineation that men provide, protect, and create externally while women heal, nurture, support and create internally. There is much nuance in this and these behaviors and roles are expressed in both men and women, both externally and internally, but the general net output and biological disposition and inclination, whether you believe in God, evolution, or both, is as stated above. Furthermore, it must be clear that these behaviors are of equal importance and are not in any sort of opposition, but are rather synergistic and complimentary.
Analogous to a house, we would never say that the roof is more important than the supporting beams. The roof protects externally and the beams hold and support from within, both working together and being essential in the formation of a house.
The final aspect of this journey in maturity is true self expression. It is only in true self expression that you can utilize your inner energy in the most powerful and sincere way. To express yourself you must know yourself, and to know yourself is to express yourself without the restraints of fear and judgment. It takes no effort to be yourself, to express yourself, all that must be done is remove the restraints that you and society have placed upon yourself. Fear, doubt, judgment, insecurity, all of this cripples your expression and potential.
I definitely wrote more than I intended and there is a lot here, but if I had to sum it up I would say that the process and pinnacle of maturity, of manhood and womanhood, is to first take accountability for your life, then to acquire the ability to take a detached embrace of emotion, followed by the transmutation and channeling of emotional energy through your own unique and divine expression, allowing your highest potential to be manifested.
There is so much more to say on this subject, but those were some essential parts I felt inclined to share. I'd love to hear your thoughts, comment below!