I was meditating on the nature of maturity recently and I recalled something that Saul Bellow once remarked. He said: “A man should be able to hear, and to bear, the worst that could be said of him.”
One sign of immaturity is an unwillingness to be responsible for one’s decisions, behaviors, and actions, be they good, bad, or ugly. A mature person, however, assumes full responsibility, never blames, and always makes the adjustments necessary to regain the high road.
The mature person readily admits impure intentions, poor decision-making, and myopia. The immature person, on the other hand, elects dissemblance over honesty and pretension over sincerity.
The mature person makes himself vulnerable, while the immature person camouflages his vulnerabilities. In any case, the former approach constrains to enlightenment and the restoration of innocence; the latter to encumbrance and greater shame, guilt, or both.
Were you to hear the worst that could be said about you today, in this moment, would you bear it and seek to improve upon it so that the greater you can find expression? Or would you leap to your own defense and seek to convince those who know you well that they should accept the lesser you?
The choice is always yours.