Erik Erikson, the famous psychologist, also stated that the evolution of our personality is affected by different life stages of changes and experiences we have gone through resulting in who and what we have now become -- that is being happy or unhappy.
Trust and Mistrust
In the first stage, from birth to age one, we experience and develop our trust or mistrust that affects how we feel about the benevolence of the world around us.
Independence and Doubt
In the toddler stage, we begin to develop our self-trust, which leads to independence. With self-trust, we begin to learn how to walk. In this stage, we may also develop self-doubt that leads to shame later in life. This may also lead to failing to take risks in later life, resulting in missing golden opportunities to improve our lives, and thus making us feel unhappy and unfulfilled.
Creativity and Guilt
In preschool years, we begin to exercise our minds to acquire initiative and express creativity. The capability to express them freely may help us to develop the playful and positive side of our nature. Under restraint, on the other hand, we may develop guilt, lack of self-confidence, and the inability to get close to others.
Industry and Inferiority
From age five to eleven, we experience fulfillment in accomplishment or disappointment in failure. This is often a result of acquiring our society's work ethics. We begin to believe in our abilities and feel motivated to work hard. On the other hand, if we become lazy, we develop poor work habits that may adversely affect our careers later in life.
Identity and Diffusion
In adolescent, we begin to explore ourselves, finding out who we are and what we want out of life. We may channel our energy into a field we love, and derive pleasure from seeing what we have accomplished. This growth in our sense of self determines whether or not we have an identity crisis.
Intimacy and Withdrawal
In early adulthood, we develop intimacy, which is a quality of an individual, and not the couple. The ability to develop and maintain a long-term relationship is an asset. However, many of us may experience difficulty in achieving closeness with others, or even maintaining a long-lasting relationship, resulting in inner loneliness that causes us to doubt even our own remarkable accomplishments in life.
Compassion and Selfhishness
In middle age, we become more connected to future generations, as evidenced by being parent,s mentors, and supervisors. However, we may also become self-focusing, alienating ourselves from the next generation, and thus creating the "generation gap."
Ego and Despair
In old age, by letting go the ego, we accept both our successes and failures, and thus have a healthy perspective on life. However, we may also look back at our own past experiences and the world in general with disdain and regret, and thus we become despaired and unhappy.
Remember, nothing is set in stone. Even if you have formed your personality over the years, you can still change it to make yourself become a better and happier person if you have the wisdom and the know-how. Nothing is too late. You can still live your life as if everything is a miracle.