occurs, however. One must practice being independent and assertive
long before the crisis of divorce. One must learn to think and reason
long before deciding serious matters. One must practice caring for
others long before having children. One must be sensual long before
having sex with a lover. It takes work to be god-like or goddess-like;
we don't become strong and smart automatically or mystically or by
magic. You can't wait until trouble strikes.
Alfred Adler (1951) had a very different view of where our basic
motives come from: rather than being pushed by animalistic sexual-
aggressive instincts, as Freud suggested, or by ancient archetypes, as
Jung suggested, Adler believed we are pulled towards certain goals.
This is a little like Jung's self. Example: as children we often feel
inferior but we come to strive to overcome these feelings--to be
superior. The healthy person tries to be optimally effective--maybe
even perfect--in such a way that he/she contributes to the welfare of
others. Each person sets his/her own goals and develops (by age 5 or
6) his/her own life-style for reaching those goals; in this way, we are
responsible for our own destinies (see the discussion of life script
later). Likewise, the existentialists (Fromm, 1941; May, 1953)
suggested that humans are motivated to find meaning in their lives
and are guided by the meaning they seek. The Humanists also believe
we are motivated to achieve our highest potential. Adler was a strong
advocate of respect, equality, cooperation, and love between people,
including spouses or parents and children (see later section). He was
also a pioneer in psychosocial education and in the development of
Child Guidance Clinics.
There are obviously many other ways to conceptualize the parts of
our personality. Allport, for example, thought the uniqueness of each
personality was one of the most important things to understand. Part
of this uniqueness is due to the many, many parts of our personality.
He and many other psychologists considered reflexes, habits, skills and
special abilities or weaknesses, drives or needs, beliefs, our particular
view of our environment, goals or intentions, values, attitudes, and
traits as being the kind of factors that determine what we do. Thus,
"personality" becomes very complex. Moreover, Allport did not see us
as slavishly controlled by innate or external factors (like Freud and
Skinner did) because humans have the ability to actively, creatively,
and rationally make conscious choices about how to behave.
There is an enormously rich literature about personality. It
provides a map to the mental maze inside us. It not only describes the
parts or structure of our personality, it also speculates about the
development of certain traits, motives, and character types. The best
overviews of this provocative and fertile material are in the textbooks
for courses in theories of personality. Such summaries provide a guide
for selecting additional books to read for more self-awareness. See the
recommended additional reading at the end of this section.