First, we may have to ask ourselves who and what is behind this psychoanalytic theory of development entitled “The Eight Stages of Psychosocial Human Development”. Erik Erikson was a leader and pioneer phycologist and psychoanalyst who developed a universal theory set around multiple “phases” or “stages” arranged by a specific age, these stages in life suggests any fit human being must go through two very conflicting ideas faced as a “crisis”, which could leave one with a negative or positive outcome in one’s own personality development. The stage I will be talking in detail is on the eighth and final stage of the theory called, Integrity vs. Despair, affecting late adulthood, ages sixty-five years old to death.
The best way to understand the eighth stage of Erikson’s theory is by separately defining what these two “conflicts” encompass. First, “being the sense of integrity that arises from the an individual’s ability to look back on his life with satisfaction and fulfillment, and at the other extreme is the individual who looks back upon his life as a series of missed opportunities or missed directions that may produce a sense of despair” (Elkind, 1970).” The onset of this stage is often triggered by life events such as retirement, the loss of a spouse, the loss of friends and acquaintances, facing a terminal illness, and other changes to major roles in life” (Cherry, 2018). This theory reminds me a lot of the should of, could of, would haves of life, and reaching for self-reflection on how we will face or try to resolve our past that may bring us a sense of peace or regret. In other terms, either we take the last chapter of our lives with integrity or despair defining we who are or who we once were.
At the end of this stage, everything has already been written in stone, and we are just reflecting on what we did right, what we could have done, and what we did do. At this moment in life, “we reflect on having obtained any wisdom through life and if our life was if anything but meaningful” (Cherry, 2018). How you cope and deal with these terms will prepare you in what manner you will confront the years left to your life or even how you will confront death itself as it is staring at you in the eyes. We would all rather reach a sense of “closure and completeness, and also accept death without fear, other then dissatisfied with life and develop despair, often leading to depression, hopelessness, and never-ending closure” (McLeod, 1970). One thing I will take from this ego integrity research is to forgive and forget, cherish those around me, work hard towards my goals (Nurse Practioner), and travel more. Not accomplishing most of these transitions through life would leave me with a sense regret I could not bare within my late years. Fulfilling most of these life transitions would entail me to a sense of closure and completeness having lived my life just like I wanted to surrounded by family, well educated, traveled, and had obtained a little wisdom along the way.