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In this paper, I will be assessing my personality using three of the approaches/ theories I have learned in class. The first approach to my personality I will be using is the Psychoanalytic Approach. I will be basing my analysis on the Neo-Freudian, Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Development theory. The second approach I will be using is the Biological Approach. Finally, the last approach I have chosen to apply to my personality analysis is the Trait Approach.
In summary, Erik Erikson’s theory states that personality development extends from infancy to old age and at eight points in our life, we hit a fork in the road. This fork in the road is called a “crisis,” and how we resolve these crises determines the outcome of our personality and how we solve crises later on in life. Now, I am only twenty years old, so I have only overcome five of the eight stages. For the last two stages, explain how I would like to overcome these crises.
How it works
The first stage of development is basic trust vs. mistrust. This is where an infant establishes a sense of basic trust with their guardian and the people around them. The infant knows if he or she cries, someone will come feed them, hold them, change their diaper, etc. I do believe I established a sense of basic trust as an infant. If the infant’s needs are not met with love and care, the infant develops a sense of mistrust.
Although I am the middle child and my parents had my older sister to take care of as well, I was never left unattended. My mom always brings up how my older sister, who was only two years old, used to take care of me as well. She would feed me, change me, or hold me whenever I needed attention. This is probably why my sister and I have always been so close as well. I established a sense of basic trust. The second stage of development is autonomy vs. shame and doubt which is experienced between the ages of eighteen months and three years.
This is where a child begins to interact with the things they encounter around them. When a child does this independently of their guardian, they develop a sense of autonomy. On the contrary, if a child is criticized, over-controlled, or not given the opportunity to be independent; they experience shame and doubt. I was a very independent child. I did follow my older sister around and copy what she did a lot, but I did have my own preferences. I chose stuffed animals as my favorite toy, I dressed myself in a very tom-boy way, and I chose to isolate myself and be alone whenever I needed. I did establish a sense of autonomy.
The third stage of development is initiative vs. guilt, which is experienced in children at the ages of three to five. Children who initiate and participate in social activities develop a sense of initiative. Whereas children who have a lack of initiative to participate in social activities, develop a sense of guilt. When I was this age, I definitely participated in social activities with my friends, but I never really initiated them. I do find that still to this day I am never the one to initiate anything socially related, but I do participate if invited.
The fourth stage of development is industry vs. inferiority. Industry develops when a child experiences success in things such as school or sports. If a child experiences a lack of appreciation from others for their skills or talents, they experience inferiority. Between the ages of five and twelve, I was in school and I joined a swim team. Of course, I made mistakes here and there in both school and with swimming but overall my family and friends were supportive of me through mistakes or achievements. I do believe I established a sense of industry during this stage of development.
The sixth stage of development occurs around the ages of 12-18 years and is identity vs. role confusion. People with a sense of identity make decisions about their personal values and religious beliefs. When failure to develop a strong sense of identity occurs, this leads to role confusion. When I was in high school, I do remember thinking a lot about my religious beliefs and I realized that I do not believe there is a God. Everyone in my hometown is very religious though so whenever people would ask me about that, I would be criticized so up until just this year, I always thought I was wrong for my beliefs.
I also never had a clue what I wanted to do with my life up until this year as well. I do think I experienced role confusion as I went through this stage. The sixth stage of development is intimacy vs. isolation. I am twenty years old right now, so I am currently in this stage of development. Intimacy vs. isolation is when young people search for a relationship and grow emotionally. Isolation occurs when a person passes through many relationships without finding the satisfaction of closeness.
Last year I was in a year long relationship that ended with the guy cheating on me he helped me realize a lot of things about relationships and guys. I won’t get into that, but we are still great friends even though we broke up, so I do not believe I will establish a sense of isolation ever. I tend to make the best of bad situations and move on. The last two stages of development, I have not gone through yet but I will explain how I would like to go through them. The seventh stage of development occurs during adulthood (40 to 65 years), generativity vs. stagnation.
Generativity is when adults develop a concern for the next generation. Parents raise children, and parents without children play an active role in raising nieces and nephews. Adults who do not develop a sense of generativity experience stagnation. I do not want kids. I really want to be the cool Aunt to my sister’s kids, so I do believe I will establish a sense of generativity. Finally, the eighth stage of development occurs at the age of 65 and ends at death.
This stage is ego integrity vs. despair. People who look back at their lives with satisfaction, develop a sense of integrity. People who do not establish a sense of integrity fall into despair and express contempt for others. When I am at this stage in my life, I really hope I will establish a sense of integrity. I want to live a life of growth, learning and happiness. Erikson said that how we resolve each crisis in our life determines how we will resolve later crises and I believe that he was very accurate in this statement because I have solved most of these crises very positively.
The second concept of personality I will be using is the sensitivity to stimulation concept of the biological approach. According to our textbook, extraverts seek out highly stimulating environments because their cortical arousal levels are below their desired level when they are not doing anything. Introverts are the opposite. They have a cortical level that is naturally at or above the desired level. Therefore, introverts prefer solitude and environments that are not too stimulating to keep their cortical levels normal. I feel like my cortical levels are somewhere in the middle of these two.
Ever since I can remember, I would always enjoy being around people for a while, going to birthday parties, sleepovers, etcetera. After a while though, I would just get really tired and want to be alone. Now that I am in college I can see that too. I’ll go out on Friday night and then game days but on Sunday I just need some alone time. Pretty much all week I do my own thing with classes and then the cycle starts over.
I live with three other people right now and usually we all sit out in the living room and study together and talk but it is never overwhelming for me. I also tend to get depressed when I am alone for too long. I love talking to people and having people around me almost constantly. Overall, I think I might be leaning towards introversion, but I think I can handle more stimulation than the typical introvert you think of.
For the last assessment of my personality, I will be using the optimism and pessimism concept of the trait approach. Dispositional optimism is defined as the extent to which people adapt to positive viewpoints. Optimists set high goals and believe they can reach them. They never allow setbacks or failures get them down. Finally, they are connected to coping, well-being, and health. I believe that I am an optimist. I tend to live in the moment and when something happens that would usually put someone down happens, I brush it off. I get really excited about little things such as just going to the park with my dog after class or looking forward to whatever I’m going to do on the weekend.
When something bad happens, like plans get cancelled or something gets in the way, I never look at it as my day is ruined. I look at it like that thing was meant to happen and I just find something else to do. If I do find myself down about something, I usually try and rationalize with myself about why I’m down and change it. Or I seek out support from my friends. I have always been more of an optimist and I think that is the best way to be. Pessimistic people are usually the ones who think of every little reason as to why you shouldn’t do something, and this would lead me to a very bad place in life. I take full advantage of every opportunity given to me because I usually cannot think of a reason why not.
In conclusion, I have assessed three different aspects of my own personality using a Neo-Freudian Approach, the Biological Approach, and the Trait Approach.
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