The Gateway of Emotional Maturity

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

I’m passionate about understanding people like Eduardo. How is it that some human beings live in a place of such, joy, abundance, goodwill? Are they born that way? Were they fortunate to be born into incredible families? Are they of a stronger character or constitution than most of us?

Donald and Hal had this discussion.

 “I’ve never met anyone like you, Donald,” Hal said, spellbound. “You’ve told me a heartbreaking story, yet your face radiates peace and joy. Is it real? Is it reserved for only a lucky few? Do you have to go through some kind of tragedy to get it? Is it something I can have in my life?”

Donald smiled. “Good questions.” He didn’t seem in a hurry to answer. “Yes, my joy is real. I love my life. And each day is beautiful.” He paused. “You’re probably right, though, that only a few people ever achieve this level of joy and effortless living.” He spoke with a resolute tone. “But it’s not because they’re lucky, Hal. It’s because of how they decide to live.”

“But you didn’t decide. It just happened to you,” argued Hal.

 “No, I did decide,” Donald insisted. The decision rose from deep within my soul in a moment of agony and despair—but it was a decision, nonetheless. I could have jumped off that bridge that day.”

Hal was quiet, trying to absorb what Donald was telling him. “Does a person have to go through pain and anguish to make such a decision?”

“Life is difficult. For everyone. We all have our share—sometimes more than our share—of suffering. We all face Key Moments when we have to decide how we’ll step up to life.”

“But my Key Moments are nothing compared to yours.”

Donald shook his head. “There’s no value comparing your problems to those of others. The crucible of your transformation is your reality, not anyone else’s. What matters is not the reality of the situation but your choices.”

No doubt some have it easier than others. But there is no use in comparing. As Donald said, “the crucible or your transformation is your reality, not anyone else’s.” I know people who seem to have grown up in unusually good circumstances who are pretty miserable. I also know people who grew up in extreme hardship, including little love and affection, who live admirable lives.

Ultimately, it’s a decision. You’ve got to decide you want to live a better way. Too often we want our lives to improve but without changing ourselves. We want it to be from the outside in rather than inside out. And so we go on doing what we’ve been doing, waiting or hoping for a different result (the definition of insanity).

Making a decision to change does not make it easy. It doesn’t make it automatic. But is does make it possible.

I’m facing a decision tonight (Saturday evening around 5:30). It’s not a life-changing decision but rather a little decision about how I’ll handle the evening. A relatively minor key moment, in the big scheme of things, but one which has consequences.

I feel pretty lousy. Although normally healthy, I’ve been assaulted by cold and flu-like symptoms these past few days. It seems to be getting the worst of me, tonight, since I just returned from an all day meeting. An all-day meeting on a Saturday, so I’m not in the best mood. Judy has been home doing my books (end of month and year) accounting. So she hasn’t exactly been doing what she’s wanted all day either. And, on top of that, there are usually a few things she has to talk to me about when she finishes the books, things I haven’t handled just right. You get the picture.

So I think about what I want. I want to come from a good place tonight. I don’t want to talk (complain) about how I feel. In fact, I want goodwill to override the minor aches and pains I’m feeling right now. I’d like to spend some good time with Judy. Let her give me feedback about the books. Know that she’s right. Ask more about her day. Listen to her. Enjoy her company. Spend time in the kitchen getting dinner. (She probably won’t let me touch the food.) Let go of my preoccupations with my “to-do” list for next week.

Yup. That seems about right. Seemly small decisions but decisions nonetheless that lead me down the path I want; a path that fits with my purpose and vision for myself. A path of knowing that I can over-ride some natural tendencies. I can choose what this evening will be like for me.

There are big decisions that determine our fate. But there are also small, day-to-day decisions. It is these small decisions that validate and reinforce the big decisions. Life is difficult, in big and small ways. But what matters more is my ability to choose, to decide. That’s the lesson Edurado learned some time ago. It’s a lesson I’m committed to learning as well.

About Roger K. Allen
Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation and family development. His tools and methods have helped tens of thousands of people live happier and more effective lives. To learn more, visit>.

3 responses to “The Gateway of Emotional Maturity”

  1. Jessica says:

    nice thoughts and a great reminder to choose your path and your happiness – thanks!

  2. gnsantosh says:

    wawo dude,…this is one awesome piece of thing which must be read by everyone,…hope my girlfriend read it one day and understand me,….nice post on maturity of mind,…thank u

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