This blog describes how individuals advance from one ego-growth stage to the next.
Charles--a thirty-year-old civil engineer had a problem. Even though he thought he had figured everything out--a good education, a lucrative salary, the best restaurants to go to, what church to attend, what kind of women to date, where to vacation and so on, he wasn't satisfied. A closer look at Charles' behaviors and attitudes revealed how he copied behaviors of his social group because having their acceptance was important to him; he identified with and adhered to a higher authority; he emphasized gender roles; he believed there is a right way and wrong way that is the same for everyone; he was preoccupied with appearance, material things, and reputation; he over-valued friendliness and niceness; and thought of life and relationships in simplistic terms: good/bad, always/never.
When Charles went to a psychotherapist with the complaint of his dissatisaction with life--a dissastisfaction that bordered on a full-blown depression, he learned how his way of thinking and functioning needed to be considered as possible causes. Heeding the therapist's advice he scheduled another appointment and also checked out a copy of Grow Up Your Ego: Ten Scientifically Validated Stages to Emotional and Spiritual Maturity from the local library. Consequently when he read the description of the fifth stage of ego growth--that of the Conformist stage it was a BINGO event. At his next therapy session he announced he was ready to move from the Conformist stage to the sixth Self-Aware stage since he was experiencing a growing sense of an inner life that triggered questions about existence, relationships and behavior patterns. Needless to say the psychotherapist was pleased as they launched into new territory of Charles learning to appreciate multiple possiblities in situations; believing there are exceptions to rules; seeking out alternatives in difficult situations; and having an increasing acceptance of individual differences.
So are you like a conforming Charles, a more self-aware Charles, or perhaps stationed at the seventh conscientious stage whereby you measure achievements by your own inner standards; are committed to self-improvement and establishment of long term goals; self-critical but not self-rejecting; and understand that mutual relationships are complex. Or possibly you are in the more advanced stages of ego growth. To discover your stage, purchase a copy of Grow Up Your Ego and go for it! And good luck!!