Angie is a protege of mine about to finish school. I had been trying to reach Angie (Fictitious name to protect identity) for a while now but didn’t realize she had another number. I finally got her new number and reached out. I discovered that she had been lowkey avoiding me. Why? Well, according to her, she had been having a hard time documenting her 5 years goal, and she wanted to get it done before speaking with me.
Interestingly she was having a hard time doing it, as she didn’t want to undervalue her future, nor did she want to write what should couldn’t achieve. In her words, she was experiencing an existential crisis.
The Whispers of Existential Crisis
An existential crisis, often lurking in the shadows of our consciousness, is that unsettling feeling of questioning the very essence of our existence and the meaning of life. It’s like standing on the precipice of a vast, uncharted territory, where the path ahead seems uncertain, and the questions far outnumber the answers.
For Angie, it all began as she reached her final year, and needed to give more thought to what she would be doing in 5 years’ time. She had worked diligently, to have good grades, and achieved a level of success that is quite enviable. Yet, as she thought about the future, she couldn’t help but wonder, “Is this it? Is this what life is all about? What is next?” The whispers of existential crisis had found their way into her thoughts.
The Roots of Existential Crisis
Existential crises can take root for various reasons. For some, it’s triggered by a major life event—a loss, a breakup, or a significant career change. For others, it slowly creeps in, fuelled by the monotony of daily routines and a nagging sense of unfulfilment. It can strike anyone, regardless of age, gender, or social status.
Sometimes this crisis is born from a sense of purposelessness. When we have been so focused on achieving external markers of success we lose sight of what truly matters to us on a deeper level. The symptoms of this crisis are —a pervasive sense of anxiety, sleepless nights, and a growing disconnect from our passions and relationships.
The Dangers of Unchecked Crisis
If left unchecked, existential crises can spiral into a dark abyss of despair and depression. The feeling of being adrift in a sea of uncertainty can lead to a sense of hopelessness, affecting one’s mental and emotional well-being. Relationships may suffer, and the pursuit of unhealthy coping mechanisms can become a slippery slope.
As I listened to Angie’s struggles, I knew that addressing her crisis was crucial not only for her but also for the countless others who may find themselves standing at the same crossroads. It was time to explore the path of self-discovery and healing.
Navigating the Journey
Navigating an existential crisis is like embarking on a journey of self-discovery, with twists, turns, and unexpected revelations along the way. Here are some steps that can help you or your loved ones find their way:
Acknowledge It: The first step is acknowledging the crisis. It’s okay to feel lost or uncertain. In fact, it’s a sign of growth and a desire for something more meaningful.
Self-Reflection: Take time to reflect on your values, passions, and what truly matters to you. Journaling, meditation, or seeking the guidance of a therapist can be invaluable in this process.
Seek Support: Don’t go it alone. Reach out to friends, family, or a mentor who can provide a listening ear and valuable insights.
Set Goals: Establish clear, meaningful goals that align with your values. These goals can serve as guiding stars on your journey. Also, set your goals knowing they are not cast in iron, they are like Google Maps, if you miss your way, you can easily redirect.
Embrace Change: Be open to change and new experiences. Sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to profound personal growth.
Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Understand that the journey through an existential crisis is not linear, and setbacks are a natural part of the process.
As Angie and I delved deeper into our conversation, she began to see a glimmer of hope. She realized that her crisis was not a dead end but a transformative opportunity—a chance to realign her life with her true desires and passions. A chance to see her life’s plans as an adventure rather than rules and regulations.
Existential crises are not the end of the road but rather a crossroads that can lead to profound self-discovery and personal growth. Through open conversation, self-reflection, and seeking support, we can navigate these challenging times and emerge stronger, more purposeful individuals.
As I finished my meeting with Angie and watched her leave with a newfound determination in her step, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the opportunity to help her on this journey. If you or someone you know is grappling with an existential crisis, remember that you are not alone. There is a path forward, and it begins with acknowledging the whispers of doubt and embracing the possibility of a brighter, more meaningful future.
Have a blessed week