A long conversation with Ishmael today revealed a few things that I believe about maturity. You see, I pride myself on being somebody who is "mature," without ever bothering to define that nebulous concept. I should probably start at the very beginning.
Ishmael is not a perfect person. Nobody is. He has his own quirks that could make even the most dedicated of pursuers reconsider his merits. One such is his immense fear of commitment. While it naturally has a roost in a series of difficult life events, it's still remarkably frustrating. It was while we were discussing such things that I had this epiphany about maturity. I once believed that it was placing the needs of another above yourself, and always being understanding.
Now, I understand that that is incorrect. Maturity means looking out for yourself as well, and acknowledging that at a given point, you cannot continue to be understanding; you have to ask for yourself as well. Achieving this balance where you can both understand and be compassionate while still asking and being honestly deliberately forward is what I would call a perfect end goal for emotional maturity, and I hope it's where I'm headed right now.