Thursday, February 11, 2016

The tasks of ageing #1 Face the Reality of Dying and Ageing

Carl Jung viewed the aging process as a “developmental stage”, not just the passing of time until death. Through work with his patients and his own experience of aging he came to see it is an important period of time during which we naturally draw away from the physical world and the conquering of externals to an inner process of “unifying the opposites”.  We move toward further individuation and the “gradual spiritualization of consciousness”. As such he believed that there are seven tasks of aging as outlined below

Task No. 1: Facing the Reality of Aging and Dying
Task No. 2: Life Review
Task No. 3: Defining Life Realistically
Task No. 4: Letting Go of the Ego
Task No. 5: Finding a New Rooting in the Self
Task No. 6: Determining the Meaning of One’s Life
Task No. 7: Rebirth – Dying With Life

Task No. 1: Facing the Reality of Aging and Dying
Coming to terms with aging and dying is a long process. Regardless of how liberated we have become, many women and men still experience aging as a threat to their sense of self-worth and quality of life. 

There appears to be two major requirements of successful aging – accepting the aging process and not accepting what we can change

Most of us generally do not achieve resolution of this task until well into our 60s. Some never do. Sadly, those who do not accept the reality of aging and dying, face an increasingly sorrowful old age filled with regrets and grief. They may spend a king’s ransom to see a younger face in the mirror each morning, but no amount of anti-aging potions, injections and surgery can retard the progress of aging – only the appearances of aging.

Those who have successfully carried out Jung’s first task of aging have grown ageless in their outlook. Moreover, they have discovered that the last quarter of life is not as lousy an experience as they might have anticipated at age 40.
It has been discovered that attitude has an enormous role in how we age. Much of the decline that people experience with aging comes about due to the belief that decline in function and quality of life is part of aging. 

In addition, many of the problems of age are not due to the process of aging itself, but rather due to the effects of a lifetime of stress and poor health habits.

It is never too late to change the two most important ingredients to graceful aging attitude and lifestyle.

One benefit of reaching this state is an almost adolescent feeling of being beyond harm’s way. Abraham Maslow saw this arising from a lifestyle in which “A day is a minute, a minute is a day.” It’s about living in the moment in a constructive way.

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