Human growth and development is a stage that presents a lot of complexity. Every stage carries its own form of challenges that if not properly dealt with can linger for as long as it’s not reconciled with the present challenges. Some form of alienation from the system or society can be felt but if not corrected or faced can lead to rebellion among children. Erikson believed, in his works, that environment created by caregivers influenced strongly the personality of an individual and how he/she resolved conflicts. Erikson’s works reflect a deeper belief in self-healing more than self-deception.
Societal development sometimes takes the shape of human development and unless people reconcile the various stages of development that they never achieved, not much can be achieved. Like a child growing up, the stages should be systematic and all the players should be on board.
The current development within the globe has so far offered challenges to my personality and I have begun to appreciate the diversity and importance of pulling in one direction with the society. I have come to appreciate the need to be in unison with people; balancing between my individual needs and that of the society rather than being in isolation.
Behavior at all levels of life is a reflection of certain social mores and historical past of an individual, how he handled his/her childhood, or the challenges of adolescence. Perhaps personalities can be viewed from this perspective. Mr. Erikson who was a Professor at the University of California and a teacher of psychiatry and psychoanalysis believed that early frustrations and leniencies were crucial in the way one would handle challenges such as adult attitudes, anxieties, social and moral responsibilities, and actions (Gross, 1987). He believed that everyone was striving for a sense of identity at one stage or another and that these stages occur at any given time irrespective of one’s age.
My current Eriksonian stage
My current Eriksonian stage is that of balancing intimacy and isolation. For a man at the age above 20 years, one is constantly faced with the challenge of how he wants to live his life; the type of family to form, and how to lay a foundation for the future family that he wants to set up. Being in this stage has brought the constant feeling of fitting in the society in me; sometimes there is the urge to blend with the society, identify with friends in various sectors of the economy or perhaps create some bond with former friends. But most of the time this feeling is not realized due to being involved with a partner, the feeling of intimacy. I believe that laying a strong foundation for the future family is paramount; it comes before the wellbeing of my social cocoon. Sometimes I feel like creating distance with my friends so that I can concentrate on cementing my relationship but I constantly find myself in what Erikson called identity crisis (Gross, 1987). Quite often the fear of my relationship crumbling keeps nagging me and the constant fear of having to start afresh becomes so real.
As Erikson wrote, people at this age are constantly in fear of rejection, relationships breaking up, and sometimes isolated due to intimacy. But within the relationship itself, the constant struggle to make up things that I never did as a child keep haunting me. I grew up in a family where personal development took backstage and what my parents thought was right for us as a family carried the day. The particular age of child development where one is faced with the question of proving if really he is worthless or can get recognition from the parents as a successful lad, passed without being able to achieve what my age mates achieved. I grew to be withdrawn, always feeling guilty. I could not initiate anything and this really affected my perception of life. I saw life to be cruel and I ended up with some behaviors like being so aggressive, so assertive, and quick to anger due to frustrations.
The positive and negative influence outcomes
The stage has brought certain challenges to my lifestyle. It becomes a sort of a disadvantage to me. Having completed my studies and actually graduated, there is a total conflict between what my dad wants me to be and what I want out of my life. Probably its true what Erikson said that the turning point in human development is the reconciliation between what society expects me to be and what I actually want to be. But he goes ahead to advise that this trend can be established by forging my past experiences with what I anticipate for my future.
Though am not yet at this age but I feel like being in the stage of constantly questioning my ability to produce and if what I can produce is anything of real value. Being in a position to offer guidance to my children in order not to let my children go through the very frustrations that I faced as a child. Not to grow with mistrust as I grew.
Everything that a person goes through, as it is said, has some positive influence in him/her. The stage has brought some spark of positivism in me.
I have realized that life is about going forward; the go-get mentality is the in thing. So far the stage has taught me a lot about life. I have realized that positive belief is the best way to approach any behavioral change. I cannot sit back and say that since my parents did most things for us, so I should do the same. It has instilled lots of responsibilities in my life. I have learned to trust people, the government, tolerance, and cooperation. The need to appreciate the fact that I was wonderfully and uniquely created is paramount; and the fact that I have the ability to bring maximized satisfaction to my well-being by relating to other people rather being withdrawn from them.
On the other hand, it is so difficult to balance between personal development and achieving the goals that I have set for myself (Howe, 1998). This forces me into real isolation. It’s possible to agree with this theory that the moment a person identifies his position, the tendency to isolate himself or herself is invoked. Everybody passed through childhood and if one never dealt with the challenges that come with that as I did then it takes lots of effort to come to terms with the situation that you find yourself in. he goes ahead to say that every adult was once a child. A sense of smallness forms a substratum in people’s minds that cannot be erased, especially when it’s not done away with.
How developmental issues have influenced my personality
How society develops has challenged my mentality about peoples’ relationship. It has brought about lots of changes into my ways of thinking and general perception about life. In as much as the stage I am in involves reconciling the urge of concentrating in building relationship rather than being with other members of the society, I have come to realize that generally development as a whole involves every member of the society. This must involve every individual. If every human resource is brought on board, just like children play together, a lot can be achieved.
This can be achieved if one has reconciled his childhood failures with the contemporary undertakings. Sometimes development can be a process of trial and error just like the earlier stages of human development. It can be full of experimentation with a high rate of failure and uneven progress just like the stage where a child questions his/her ability to perform a particular task, exploring the surroundings.
As children grow, they tend to get more energy to perform tasks, increase their movement and they generally become active. For society to develop, there need to be a child like momentum in development. This is achieved through a well coordinated effort from members of the society, which essentially lead to increased socio-economic development.
Social development is one way of building social networks, thereby creating a wholesome being. In the subsequent development progress, “society discovers better ways to fulfill its aspirations and it then develops organizational mechanisms to express that knowledge to achieve its social and economic goals” (Howe, 1998). This process naturally expands human consciousness and social organization. The society will depend on the contact and interrelationship between human beings in order to develop.
This contact generates some experience that will enhance the control over natural resources in our possession. This is just like when caregivers encourage children to be self sufficient; they develop a sense of autonomy, a sense of being able to perform this on their own. Learning initiatives eventually aid the development of superior mental position, which subsequently leads to common life principles. It is no doubt that the society that I live in has constantly transformed itself into a learning base, with both experimental and practical events occur on a daily basis, just like children go through such development process by trying out their physical and mental strength as they undergo the said stages of life. The conceptual mind is the highest, most important human tool and despite the fact that somebody never went through certain stages in life, one should pick himself up, reconcile the stages and strive to get the best out of you (Garry & Cleveland, 1999). Even if the specific chronological age has passed, so long as there is the will to achieve great things, always arm yourself with the go-get mentality.
Garry, J., & Cleveland, H. (1999). Human Choice: The Genetic Code for Social Development. New York. World Academy of Art & Science.
Gross, F. L. (1987). Introducing Erikson: An invitation to his thinking. Lanham, MD. University Press of America.
Howe, D. (1998). Patterns of Adoption: nature, nurture and psychological development. Boston. Wiley-Blackwell.