Stages of Development – Part 4

Are you starting to recognize these stages, or steps, in the people you work with, live with, lead on a daily basis? And in this recognition, are you discovering ways of helping these folks to back and pick up the pieces they missed? Today, we are going to discuss Psychological Intimacy and Generativity.

Psychological Intimacy is being able to share how we feel with others. We do this in order to develop deep relationships with others – friends, spouses. We share our innermost thoughts and feelings. If we didn’t successfully navigate Identity, we are always worried about what people will say or think about us. If this is the case, we don’t share who we are, and we only say what we think they want us to say. True intimacy is next to impossible.

Remember back at the beginning of this series, when we talked about trust, if we didn’t acquire that sense of trust, that it showed up later in life. Without that sense of trust, establishing deep relationships becomes difficult. And if we do not establish intimacy, then we develop isolation instead. We back off and hold ourselves apart from the rest of the world, thinking we don’t need anyone else. It is easy to slip into loneliness and depression.

When we hold ourselves apart, isolated, then Generativity does not happen. Generativity is our willingness to give everything we have, if we need to. We give our advice, our knowledge, our wisdom – and we don’t want anything in return. We give our love without reservation or expectation of return. Generativity is the key to being truly happy inside.

If we don’t master this stage of generativity, we feel stagnant. We feel dull, without purpose. Days pass without real value, so we fill them with things. We could have all the money in the world, but we are empty, poor inside. The true richness of life comes from giving.

When we get down to the qualities that we most admire and respect, we find them in those people we’ve known throughout our lives. These are the folks who have gone out of their way for us, without wanting anything for it. And why? Because they got fulfillment, joy and happiness – things that money cannot buy. And this is where we want to get to ourselves, on our way to the final maturity step on the ladder.