Toward a psychology of being

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Maslow’s theory of personality development

Abraham Maslow developed a personality theory which says that people are in the constant struggle of moving from the lower level of needs towards the highest level of self-actualization (Boundless, 2016). It holds that everybody wants to achieve his/her full potential. He postulated that people have a free will and an inner motive towards the achievement of self-actualization. The need to achieve one’s self needs in inevitable. The individual’s inner motive and the free will leads to personality development. Some individuals will struggle to achieve them and aim to move to the next rank while other will be too comfortable at their current needs level. This will define an individual’s personality according to Maslow.

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Major principles

In the Maslow’s theory of personality, humanism principles are described. First, the theory holds that humans are in constant struggle to move to higher ranks in their needs. Maslow describes this as an inner motive or drives among human beings towards achieving self-actualization. Those at basic needs level aim self-actualization. However, there are fewer individuals already at the self-actualization level (Friedman & Schustack, 2016). Some of the self-actualized individuals spend their efforts in helping other people to achieve self-actualization.

Secondly, it is denoted that an individual only moves to the next level of needs after fully satisfying his/her lower level of needs. Thirdly, the distribution of the population on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has the majority of the people are the lowest level of needs while a few in self-actualization (Lewin, 2013). Last but not least, the theory holds that there is the inner motive that triggers people towards achieving self-actualization and lastly, people have a free will in making decision knowing the consequences.

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Differences in gender and culture

Maslow’s theory address human beings as the same in the race towards self-actualization. It considers all people to possess the inner drive and free will towards self-actualization. The only difference noted from the theory is various ranks an individual is at regarding human needs (Maslow, 2013). The majority of people including men and women from all cultural diversities are on the lower level of needs (basic needs). Gender and cultural differences have no connection between the inner drive and free will. Therefore, personality has not been associated with gender or culture from the Maslow’s theory.

This theory is universally applicable. It seems to describe a universal hierarchy of needs. An individual’s socio-economic class helps to place one in a specific level of needs (Maslow, 2013). For instance, the poor can afford basic needs unlike the rich who perhaps have attained self-actualization. Therefore, the wealthy moves through the level of self-actualization easily. However, depending on one’s inner drive some individuals move faster into self-actualization than others. This describes the individual’s personality. The hierarchy of needs can then show the hardworking, principled and self-disciplined people. Therefore, irrespective of gender and culture, all people have the potential to reach full self-actualization.

Personality development

Maslow described the influence of inner drive and free will towards personality development (Ewen, 2014). This theory holds that every individual has an inner drive which is a motive towards achieving something in life. People utilize their free will to make appropriate decisions towards achieving self-actualization. Therefore, personality will develop in relation to these aspects.

Since human beings are in a constant race to achieve self-actualization, people utilize their free will to make appropriate decisions (Lewin, 2013). Also, they develop the inner motive to achieve their aims. Some people develop their personality depending on the level of needs they achieve and their aims. For example, being a thieve (personality), it means the individual has not attained self-actualization. That is the motive and the individual targets to achieve high needs. The individual utilizes the human free will to make the decision to steal. Therefore, from this example, it is clear that the inner motive and the free humanity will towards self-actualization leads to personality development.

Changes in personality over the lifespan

The primary domains described in this theory towards meeting one’s needs are the free will and the inner motive. People develop different levels of inner motive towards achieving self-actualization (Lewin, 2013). At the same time, these people use their free will differently. The hallmark of this situation is that these people reach different levels over the same period of time.

Human development flows from infancy, childhood unto adulthood. The needs of infants and children are little, and mostly they include basic needs. However, adulthood comes with responsibility and more needs. Therefore, the humans behave in a manner that will help them achieve their needs at their age.

Personal opinion

The Maslow theory of personality makes a lot of sense. It explains how the human needs lead to personality development. This theory is applicable to the current error because human needs are insatiable over generations and keep influencing behaviors to date. The theory does not take into account all the aspects associated with personality development. Other factors associated with personality development like genetics, peer influence and culture have not been addressed in this theory. Therefore, other aspects describing personality development needs mention above needs to be included in this theory.

This theory is valid to date because the human needs are insatiable. People of this century exhibit the inner motive and free will towards achieving self-actualization as well. This theory though needs to elaborate on how exactly human needs can lead to personality change when individual change personality while at the same needs level.

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Sigmund Freud Psychoanalytical theory of Personality Development

This theory was described by Sigmund Freud. According to this theory, human personality is a result of interactions between three parts of the mental system (Fromm, 2013). Those are the id, ego, and superego. These three aspects keep developing as the child develops to maturity. Thought out the human life these components keeps conflicting. The theory puts emphasis on the unconscious struggle in developing a personality.

The id is concerned with instant satisfaction, and it is unconscious. It is the most primitive among the three aspects. The superego is conscious and concerned with the moral values of the situation. It is considered the most developed aspect of them all. Lastly, the ego is conscious and partly unconscious, and it is focused on morals as well (Barrick, Mount, & Li, 2013). According to Freud, there is constant conflict among these three components of the brain throughout the five psychosexual stages of development (Fromm, 2013). The individual tries to balance them. This struggle to balance the manifestation of this three aspect leads to personality development.

Major principles

According to Freud, a human being needs to try to balance the three components of the mind: id, ego, and superego (Friedman & Schustack, 2016). This is because they will always struggle in a conflict to manifest over each other. This forms the foundation for personality and behavior development. There is a change in the extent of influence by each of the component during development through the five psychosexual stages. The theory holds that behavior and personality are influenced by fixation of libido (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). This keeps changing during development to include from oral and anal predominated by ego, to phallic, latent and genital predominated by the superego. Therefore, this theory focuses on sexual fixation in different stages of growth to address personality and behavior development.

Differences in gender and culture

Human development has been described to be universal. Since this theory utilizes psychosexual stages of development, the theory has no special address for gender and culture because the psychoanalytical stages do not change depending on culture or gender. It emphasizes on the stages of development and fixation of libido (Fromm, 2013). This is the only established link for personality development. Both gender experience the same psychosexual stages of development. The culture has shown no any significance in the psychosexual stages of development as well. Therefore, this theory does not address the impacts of gender and culture on personality development.

 

Personality development

According to Freud’s psychoanalytical theory, personality and behavior keep changing depending on age (Schultz & Schultz, 2016). Children at anal stage of development exhibit predomination of the id which primitive. As the child develops to anal and phallic stages, the ego starts to develop. Maturation to latent and genital stages the person has developed superego (Barrick et al., 2013). This leads to a shifting personality till an individual reaches maturity.

The individual then is charged with the responsibility to balance his or her three components of the brain: the id, the ego, and the superego. These aspects are in constant struggle to express themselves. However, the struggle to develop one’s personality or behavior is based on the id, ego, and superego.

Personality changes over the lifespan

Human growth and development occurs in a chronological manner. Human developed has been associated with personality change according to Freud (Friedman & Schustack, 2016). Personality is linked to the stage of development. The oral stage, followed by anal, phallic, latent and genital stages represents primitive to fully developed personalities respectively. This ends up in ultimately developed personality.

From this theory personality development is influenced by the body part libido is fixed at. Libido fixation changes from one part of the body to the other at various stages of growth (Ewen, 2014). The child starts with an oral fixation, then anal fixation followed by phallic. Later on in schooling age the individual experiences latent stage which finally develops into the genital stage in adolescence. This progressive shift of libido fixation is associated with the personality development. This shift in personality occurs with age until an individual reaches the genital stage which the theory considers fully developed personality.

Personal opinion

This theory is important and applicable to today century of life. This is major because personality development takes place as an individual grows in age till adulthood (Friedman & Schustack, 2016). However, this theory does not fully explain all the aspects leading to personality development. It limits its self to sexuality drive. It does not mention anything about genetics, environment, culture and gender influence in the development of personality.

This theory needs to be revised, and other aspects of personality development are incorporated. The sense of genetics, environment, human needs, gender to include culture need to be addressed. Besides that, this theory is applicable to the current century. This is because the issues it addresses are valid to the current century. Human beings undergo the psychosexual stages of development, and this has not changed.

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  1. Barrick, M. R., Mount, M. K., & Li, N. (2013). The theory of purposeful work behavior: The role of personality, higher-order goals, and job characteristics. Academy of Management Review, 38(1), 132–153.
  2. Boundless. (2016). Maslow’s Humanistic Theory of Personality. Boundless. Retrieved from /psychology/textbooks/boundless-psychology-textbook/personality-16/humanistic-perspectives-on-personality-78/maslow-s-humanistic-theory-of-personality-307-12842/
  3. Ewen, R. (2014). An introduction to theories of personality. Psychology Press. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=5MOlAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=freud+theory+of+personality&ots=XJ-PXltqei&sig=MN31DeXeudQQty8N_X_yPPykLRo
  4. Friedman, H. S., & Schustack, M. W. (2016). Personality: Classic theories and modern research. Pearson.
  5. Fromm, E. (2013). Sigmund Freud’s mission: An analysis of his personality and influence. Open Road Media.
  6. Lewin, K. (2013). A Dynamic Theory of personality-Selected papers. Read Books Ltd.
  7. Maslow, A. H. (2013). Toward a psychology of being. Simon and Schuster.
  8. Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S. E. (2016). Theories of personality. Cengage Learning. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=oStTCwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=maslow+theory+of+personality&ots=wrQGcsS6xQ&sig=O3bUC3d1ayq5yEl8a2CFXT6Q4So
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