12. Ego identity Vs Despair
Integrity versus despair is the eighth and final stage of Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development. It occurs during late adulthood - age 65 through the end of life. During this period of time, we tend to slow down our productivity, and explore life as a retired person and come away with either a sense of fulfillment from a life well lived or a sense of regret and despair over a life misspent.
Those who feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will attain wisdom. Wisdom enables a person to look back at life with a sense of closure and completeness, and accept death without fear.
Erik Erikson believed if we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our past, or feel that we did not accomplish our life goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop regrets and consequently, feelings of bitterness and despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness.
• Major Question: "Did I live a meaningful life?"
• Basic Virtue: Wisdom
• Important Event(s): Reflecting back on life
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