Existentialism, also referred to as Existential Anxiety or Existential Angst, can be defined simply as a sense of worry, dread or panic that can emerge when someone contemplates life’s biggest questions. You know, questions like: “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?”, and “What’s the meaning of any of this?”
Philosophical and Psychological perspectives on this maintain that this type of contemplation is inherently distressing, but that the anxiety that naturally arises from asking yourself these big questions is ultimately healthy and productive.
Psychologists and doctors are often exploring the idea of potential causes of anxiety that may not be easily explained by previous research. In the 1800’s, a philosopher by the name of Sren Kierkegaard came up with the theory of existentialism: the idea that human behavior is governed by individual beliefs to life’s biggest questions and the freedoms that people enjoy.
If you ever find yourself in a similar place where you’re questioning the meaning of your life, know that this is truly a special and important thing to experience. It’s an opportunity, and a call to adventure. I know it can feel alarming and you may even be caught up in a depression because of it. You may be in the thick of the storm, waves crashing all around with no land in sight, but let these words serve as a lighthouse, shining a beacon of hope from the shore.
This existential angst you’re caught up in, the feeling of hopelessness and lack of meaning… this is literally the opportunity of your lifetime, an experience shared by countless philosophers and other incredible humans in our history. Accept the challenge. Take the dive and let the questions come along with all their uncomfortable feelings.
This dark place is the prerequisite to your growth. The inner liquifying destruction of the cocoon before you get your wings. My friend, you are the seed resting beneath the soil in total darkness. Soon you’ll burst from the earth as a whole new Being, and slowly but surely bloom into all that you desire to be.
Because there is no answer to these questions, philosophers believe the human mind experiences a type of stress from wondering how to act towards something so unknown. This creates a present anxiety that can be exacerbated by other confusions and life questions.
Photo by _william