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Identity concepts Essay

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Identity is the conceptual understanding that human beings hold for their existence. It is the totality of knowledge and understanding of an individual for his self. Identity is composed by physical, social and psychological attributes which differ from one individual to another. The tenet for the development of one’s identity is attributable to the development of the roles that an individual plays within a group. It follows that the roles that they play in a group contributes to the self-categorization of an individual that helps in the formation of someone’s identity.

For the purpose of this paper, Abraham Maslow and Carl Roger’s theories regarding personality and identity development will be tackled to assess their contribution in the understanding of identity concept. First, Abraham Maslow’s Theory of Human Motivation is one of the most influential theories in this field. His proposed theories were more simple and more appealing which acted against reductionism and his personality research theory is more holistic than others works.

Theory of Motivation is characterized by the hierarchy of needs. This theory presupposes that the needs of an individual rest on the basis of satisfaction of other needs.

Meaning, as one satisfies the most basic of his needs, there arises another set of needs, higher than the previous ones and entail another set of challenges that the individual must go through. This process, as it progresses addresses higher needs, until the individual reaches satisfaction for his highest needs and fulfills self-actualization, which in Maslow’s theory serves as the highest form of identity and personality development for an individual. Self-actualization entails the fulfillment of a person’s highest desires and attainment of his full potentials.

Hence, the importance of Maslow’s theory is that it established human being’s five basic needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization. This theory has set a goal for individuals to pursue first the most pre-potent of his needs in order to progress into the achievement of other higher needs. This theory therefore guides an individual that the achievement of one basic needs progresses to a higher need, thus increasing his consciousness and allowing himself to attain higher needs that shall be translated to the individual’s pursuit for higher competency and identity enhancement.

On the other hand, Carl Roger’s theory is set on a clinical one, basing his assumptions on his experiences in dealing with his clients. Like Maslow’s, his theory his set on what he calls “the actualizing tendency”. According to Roger, this is a “force of life” that is built within an individual to create a motivating force that shall push individuals to extensively seek ways to develop his full potentials. Furthermore, he states the assumptions that since humans are social creatures, it is innate for human to create a society and build a culture in the process of actualizing their potentials.

His theory also gives value to positive self-regard – which he defined as humans craving for love, affection and nurturance. This positive self-regard plays an integral part of an individual’s growth in such a way that, as an individual grows up and in the process wherein he seeks for actualization of his potentials, receiving positive self-regard from the society around him gives him self-esteem and a positive self-image that renders him the inspiration to perform better and strive harder to succeed.

In accordance, without this positive self-regard, individuals would tend to feel helpless and would make them less enthusiastic into achieving his goals. Roger’s theories on personality development have contributed a lot in the concept of identity. Like Maslow’s theory, he constituted steps for the development of a healthy person, which he termed as a “fully functioning” person. These steps which included openness to experience, existential living, organismic trusting, experiential freedom and creativity served as guidelines for a well-rounded and healthy development of identity for an individual.

These steps, like Maslow’s theory shall constitute for the pursuits of an individual towards self-actualization. For the comparison between the two theorists and their contribution to the development of the concept of identity, the two theories speak of the utter importance for an individual to fulfill his basic needs first before attempting to levitate higher. Both of their theories were geared towards the achievement for self-actualization.

They both define self-actualization as the desire to fulfill life’s greatest aspirations and discover the fullest potentials of a person. As such, Maslow and Roger can be considered as two of the most influential theorists in this field. Both of them has succeeded in imparting their thoughts and their ideas have until now are still encompassing and widely used by contemporary theorists and psychologists. Their theories have served as starting points for further developments and have served critical to the growth of new theories regarding identity concepts.

Bibliography Boeree, George, Personality Theories: Carl Rogers, Retrieved 7 November 2007 <http://webspace. ship. edu/cgboer/rogers. html> Burke, Peter and Stets, Jan, Identity Theory and Social Identity Theory, Washington State University, Retrieved 7 November 2007 <http://wat2146. ucr. edu/Papers/00a. pdf> Green, Christopher, A Theory of Human Motivation by Abraham Maslow, Retrieved 7 November 2007 <http://psychclassics. yorku. ca/Maslow/motivation. htm>.

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