Carl Jung’s Psychology for the Second Half of Life
Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist, believed that we need to become more ourselves in the second half of life. At the transition point of midlife, our focus begins to shift from our outer life, with its emphasis on achievement, family and career, to our inner life and who we are being called to become.
Early in life, we were shaped by our family, community and culture, according to who they wanted us to be. Important aspects of ourselves were repressed or left behind. In the second half of life, our soul calls us to reclaim those parts of ourselves in order to become more complete personalities.
Jung’s emphasis was on wholeness, not perfection. This means looking at some things about ourselves that we may not want to acknowledge, but that are part of our humanity. We need to take back the parts of ourselves that we have unconsciously projected onto other people such as our parents, our children and our partners. It is also time to stop living according to someone else’s expectations.
We are more than what has happened to us. We have to take responsibility for the choices we have made and for what our developmental task is at this point in life. Jung also believed that we need to develop our spiritual life for our ego to realize that it is part of something much bigger than itself and that it is not really in control. It is time to ask who our soul is calling us to be.
Sylvia Simpson, M.D., is a psychiatrist and Jungian analyst in private practice in Tucson and the president of Southern Arizona Friends of Jung. Contact her at 720-339-4428 [email protected] or safoj.org.