Children during the first stage realize that they are incongruent with the expectations of their culture concerning their gender or sexual identity. We must all have Love/positive regard to be a complete person; we also need Love/positive regard to be able to love our selves. As we grow up we encounter conditions of worth that are reinforced by parents, peers, and the media. We are given rewards when we meet those expectations and punishments when we transgress, thus establishing conditions of worth. Rogers (1961) calls this "conditional positive regard".
In stage two the conditional positive self regard/Love We like ourselves only if we have met the conditions and standards expected of us by others, rather than if we are realizing our own potential. Since the "standards" are created without regard to the needs of the individual, it is impossible to meet them and therefore have a positive sense of self. inability to change the environment and alter the conditions of worth, leads to the construction of a pseudoself to fit in.
In stage three individuals tend to appear to conform to the Societal Norms. And some do not progress beyond this point, there is however a cost. The relationship between the I am and the should be and the presence of the Constructed is incongruity. This between the real self and the ideal self and the discontinuity that is the pseudoself. The greater the gap between the I am and the should be and the stronger the construct the greater the incongruity and the greater the misery.
Those individuals who move to stage four begin a radical shift from dependence on others view of them to a relocation of the authority to within them selves, they chose to start being who they are. For this to truly occur the individual must move away from acceptance of cultural norms.
In the fifth stage the individual is still forming their own sense of self but start to move from self preoccupation and dependence on the view of others and they tend to start considering serving others.
Those who progress to the sixth stage are rare, they are more focused on loving others and self-preoccupation becomes a thing of the past. They can fully express who they are with out fear. They make every effort to help others not only directly but in fostering in them a similar commitment and comfort with how they are.
Based on James Fowler (1981) Stages of faith Consciousness
Kierkegaard, S. (1863). The Sickness Unto Death.
Rogers, C. R. (1961). On becoming a person. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.