Existential Angst – Breakdown or Breakthrough?
Existential angst is the name given to the awareness (through lived experience) of one’s existential condition. One who experiences existential angst comes face to face with the existential limits of their existence. For example, through the experience of eg. uncertainty, meaninglessness or endings or death, the resultant anxiety reflects their aloneness in making sense of their existence. As each of us proceed through our lives, we are bombarded with challenges to the fixed ways in which we define ourselves and our worlds. The unpredictable nature of others’ behaviour or our own challenges us to embrace the co-constructed nature of our phenomenal selves. We can either choose to resist through unrelenting attempts to restore the status quo or we can choose to see ourselves as ‘works in progress’.
Resisting the existential nature of our existence can lead to breakdown whereas embracing the anxiety of our unfixed selves offers breakthrough to a life well lived.