4 Questions to Help You Grow Up

A therapist explains the value of working on maturity.

Kathleen Smith
Published in
3 min readDec 31, 2021


Source: Canva

Maturity is an unsexy word. It sounds like a high-fiber cereal you’d rather not eat for breakfast. No one picks it as their theme for the year. We want to be calm, strong, or confident as quickly as possible. But maturity is all about the long game.

As a therapist, I have to tell you — the long game is the only game that works.

Here are four questions to help you think about growing in your own maturity this year.

What did I never learn, because someone else would always do it for me?

Everyone in a family has different skills that benefit others. But identifying these gaps can provide you with some points of focus for the year. Maybe you want to be more financially savvy, or add another meal to your culinary repertoire. Perhaps you’ve always relied on someone to keep you informed about other family members or to be the buffer at social gatherings. Learning how to function more as an individual can build confidence and make relationships more enjoyable.

When am I quick to borrow the thinking of others instead of defining my own?

We live in a world that is eager to tell you what to believe and what to value. When anxiety is high, it’s easy to type a question into Google or grab a book by an expert. But it’s challenging to take the time to define your own thinking. What are your principles as a parent, a citizen, or a friend? What do you think good work looks like, or a good life?

We borrow so many of our answers from others to calm ourselves down. Defining your own thinking requires some patience and some discomfort when others disagree.

When am I more focused on managing others than on managing myself?

So much of our attention goes towards directing others towards maturity. Overfunctioning for others is a convenient way to manage anxiety, but it doesn’t help us grow up. Claim some of that energy and direct it towards managing yourself. How do you want to respond when others are immature? How can you be responsible to others, rather than responsible for others?



Kathleen Smith
Writer for

Kathleen Smith is a therapist and author of the book Everything Isn’t Terrible: Conquer Your Insecurities, Interrupt Your Anxiety, and Finally Calm Down.