What It Means To Be An Adult
The adult part of our human nature has executive powers to "put plans, actions, or laws into effect." The ideal is for the adult to be and act intelligently, rationally, and reasonably, in a word wisely. This is also the ideal of the parent but the parent state is historically influenced significantly by the parenting received as a child, so tends to think and act from past learning and experience. The adult is anchored in the present so decisions and actions are unprejudiced by the past.
For example the parental part of
us might look upon co-workers in the middle of a project amidst a sea of
clutter and think "This is outrageous, these people need to clean up this
mess and or they won't get anything done! The adult mode
focuses on results so has less concern about the process used as long as
progress is made and goals are achieved. In fact the messy team may be the best performers.
We use our adult abilities to reason, organize, evaluate experiences, and gather information to help us be adaptable to situations, make the best decisions, and take appropriate actions. The adult deals objectively with life based on education and experience to avoid problems and mistakes and achieve success. It's never too late to add to our education and seek meaningful and useful experiences.
Nurturing Maturity and Excellence
Examples of a healthy adult personality are mature and excellent employees, neighbors, family and friends. You can count on them to be responsible, open, honest, and helpful, and to do their best to get a job done. A strong personality adult is also understanding, forgiving, caring and kind, embracing virtue and serving as good role model for for us all.
Managing Our Inner Selves
We need to take care our best choices aren't contaminated by our parent, child, or reactive mind energies, but also keep open to valuable input from these energies as well. Here an inner child might cause problems by being selfish or withdrawn, or conversely give us extra energy and enthusiasm to lighten our load and keep a lighthearted perspective. The downside of the adult state is that one might be overly rational and under emotional like Spock on Star Trek.
The key is to recognize these varying aspects of our True Self and welcome them to be an active part of us whenever they are needed. We are wise to hold each one gently but firmly so none of them takes over and denies the others, or jump from one to another wildly and uncontrollably. For each there is a time and place. There is no hard or fast rule, but a balance of head and heart with a deep knowing which one is right and true in each moment to allow appropriate expression of the total personality.
Bringing Out the Best
One of the great benefits of a strong adult state is to act as a go between or referee between our various selves and pull from the best of each while avoiding their downsides. We then find we can be as natural as an animal, playful as a child, smart as an adult, and nurturing as a parent all at the same time. The key is as always to first be aware, then come to really know and love the different parts we play, and know they are all a part of us in an ancient, deep, and real way.
Next we will take a closer look at parenting as well as teaching and leadership, as all three make make caring for others a priority. The next Sanity File deals with how we can become our own loving parent, teacher, and leader, then the bravery and courageousness of the warrior, champion, and hero that also make sacrifices for others, and sometimes the ultimate sacrifice.