5 signs that you are going through an existential crisis
Keys to know how to detect this kind of emotional voids generated by an existential crisis.
An existential crisis is as emotionally intense as it is complicated to understand and even to detect. For this reason, many people suffer the discomfort associated with this kind of experience without being aware of what is happening to them, and assuming that they can do nothing to improve their well-being.
In the following lines you will find a summary of the key ideas to know how to detect an existential crisiswhich is the first step to remedy it.
What does it consist of to suffer an existential crisis?
To define what is an existential crisis is complex, and in fact it is a task that has supposed a challenge as much for the philosophy as for the psychology. The reason for this is that it refers to our way of experiencing the most abstract (and, therefore, diffuse and changeable) thoughts there are: those of the meaning of life. In a nutshell, an existential crisis is the discomfort we feel when we notice the absence of something that gives meaning and/or purpose to our existence..
Part of what explains why we may feel this way has to do with our ability to think in the long term, on the one hand, our awareness that our life will come to an end, on the other, and our predisposition to feel aversion to uncertainty. Because we can think long term and we know that we are mortal, we can think of our lives as a project with a beginning and an end, a chain of stages leading to an outcome.
But, at the same time, we have no reference to know what that project should consist of. what this project of our whole life, of our whole existence, should consist of.and this produces an intense uncertainty that goes hand in hand with anguish.
On the other hand, the concept of existential crisis is so complex that there are philosophers who have used it as a starting point to develop their own ways of understanding the world. From existentialism, for example, authors such as Jean Paul-Sartre have come to defend the idea that human beings always live, to a greater or lesser extent, in an existential crisis, because the simple fact of existing does not go hand in hand with a purpose or a concrete motive for livingsomething to which our actions tend naturally.
5 warning signs to identify an existential crisis.
As we have seen, the existential crisis has to do with the lack of references to know what is the purpose or value of what we do, and of our lives in general. For this reason, this idea is often associated with the concept of nihilism, although it is not exactly the same thing.
The person who suffers an existential crisis (for example, when abandoning the religion in which he has been socialized and educated since childhood) notices a tension between the desire to notice that there is a genuine intention and value behind his actions, and the belief that at least at that moment, there is not. On the other hand, a nihilistic person does not necessarily wish to find meaning in his existence, he simply denies that there can be a "meaning of life" and other guiding principles of human existence, such as a universally valid morality.
Thus, whoever is going through an existential crisis wants to change this situation, or at least have it alleviated, but it is not always easy to recognize which one.But it is not always easy to recognize the source of the malaise. Therefore, here we will review the main signs to identify an existential crisis, although not all of them need to appear in the same person.
1. You let others be the ones who impose the references of life
Living an existential crisis also means adopting an attitude of passivity and conformism when it comes to deciding what to do.. As there are no strong values or ideas to guide one's behavior, one acts by imitation and looking for the easiest way to adapt in the short term to the circumstances in which one lives.
2. You are envious of those who seem committed to a cause.
People going through an existential crisis experience a significant level of envy for those who feel stimulated and very involved in a project in which they participate, even if they do not sympathize with that person's causes. That is to say, envy is not what they participate in, but the fact of being able to actively participate in something, connecting with a set of values and long-term goals.connecting with a series of values and long-term goals.
3. You suffer from a problem of loneliness.
Unwanted loneliness is one of the most notable consequences of the existential crisis.
Even if you surround yourself with many people on a daily basis and have a friendly relationship with them, the lack of values and a sense of purpose in life makes emotional connection with others difficult, even if empathy is still there.even though empathy is still there.
This happens because the existential crisis makes us tend to introspection, to question aspects of our existence as individuals, and the social remains in the background.
4. You find it almost impossible to visualize what your future will be
In the absence of references about the meaning of life, the future becomes only a great unknown, since we do not see ourselves climbing through itWe do not see ourselves climbing it through projects that speak of us and what we want.
5. You find it difficult to identify with your past "I".
Everything you were deeply interested in before you developed the existential crisis loses its meaning.And so, in retrospect, everything you did that you thought was important to you seems strange.
What can you do to cope with this kind of discomfort?
The best way to manage this unpleasant experience is to go to psychotherapy. Seeing a psychologist is not something that should be done only when we suspect that we have developed a mental disorder: support is also support is also given to people who feel more diffuse, non-psychopathological forms of discomfort..
In psychological therapy sessions, we explore possible activities and projects capable of exciting the person, studying his or her values, interests and predispositions. We also identify the aspects of daily life that may be feeding the feeling that nothing matters or is of interest. From there, an intervention program is implemented based on new habits, ways of managing emotions, and questioning dysfunctional beliefs. In this way, a different way of living life gives rise to a new way of interpreting things and a richer and more meaningful way of living. a richer and more nuanced way of appreciating life..
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)