Integrity vs. Despair

The last stage of a person’s life can also be referred to as late adulthood. Erikson’s theory Integriry versus Despair is categorized into the late adulthood stage. People transition from middle adulthood to late adulthood, which is when they reflect the most about their past life. A person can either be happy and accepting with the life he/she has lived, or they can regret and look down on it.

Integrity refers to a person looking back on his life in a positive manner. By reaching goals and gaining a feeling of generativity in middle adulthood, a person would be more likely to have positive feelings of integrity in the late adulthood stage. They can look back and say that their life has been fulfilled to the fullest capacity. A person’s ego-integrity is also reflected on. They look back on the type of person they were in their past, and decide whether they are proud of that or not. A positive integrity can allow a person in late adulthood to be able to accept death when it comes.

Despair is the opposite meaning of Integrity. When a person in late adulthood develops feelings of despair, they look back on their life in a negative manner. They regret the person they were, as well as a number of events that happened in their past life. When people express feelings of despair, they are often unable to accept that death is getting closer. Despair could also be described as a type of depression, which leaves a person to sulk and feel bitter about their life.

One person I know that has developed ego-integrity was my grandpap, also known as Pappy. When I was younger, I stayed at my grandparents’ house each day when my mother went to work. Over the years, we had developed a close relationship together. We would sit on the swing together, eat watermelon on the back porch, build puzzles, and play checkers together. In his younger years, he was in the military. A gunshot to the leg eventually sent him home. He had recieved a purple heart because he was a caring, motivated, and dedicated soldier. He used to always tell me stories about when he was younger. He would pause and smile as he reflected on these old memories. What I admired most about him was his laugh. He always knew how to make someone feel better, and I could have listened to his stories all day. After learning about this theory, I would definitely say that he looked back on his life in a positive way. When he passed away when I was twelve years old, I knew in my heart that he lived a long, happy, and healthy life.


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