Learnings From My Existential Crisis
A few months ago I had a traumatic breakup that spurred an existential crisis in my life. I can say with certainty that I never want to have an existential crisis again, because it is an extremely painful and frustrating process; however, I am very grateful for the learnings that I have had from it, and it has ultimately given me a better path forward in my life.
What I learned from my existential crisis
My breakup caused me to question 3 things in my life that I thought I had locked down and knew rock solid; they were: 1) Love 2) Relationships 3) My control over my emotions.
My learnings and realizations for Love and Relationships are intertwined, but distinct from one another. I learned that love is as much about the things that you don’t like in someone as it is the things that you do like. Certain things that drove me nuts from the relationship, I still love about my ex. These things would frustrate me, and cause tension in the relationship, but I look back and see that certain smaller things that bothered me, I actually find endearing about my ex. That being said, certain larger issues that I did not like about my ex, I still do not like, and wish with all of my heart that I could get my ex to take an ounce of a new perspective in order to see how these things could be improved. But what I have learned from this, is that loving someone, and being in a relationship with someone, is accepting and loving the person for all of the positive and negative things about this person. There is a need for both partners to be willing to improve on negative aspects, but there (ideally) should not be resentment or malice in the relationship due to these negativities. (This is easier said than done.)
I also learned about conditional and unconditional love in the context of clinical psychology. I found how conditional love existed in my childhood, and how I carried it over into my relationship. I also learned just how critical one’s upbringing is in so many aspects in life, but it is especially critical to how one loves a life partner. I was able to learn more about myself and my relationship by looking back to understand more about my childhood and how it created the person that I am today.
My existential crisis also taught me a lot about my own emotions. I learned how my emotional patterns were developed during my childhood. I was able to stop and observe the extent to which my emotions affect me today personally and professionally. I evaluated how I processed emotions, and learned that I was actually not processing emotions in a healthy manner. Furthermore, I was able to learn new ways of handling emotions and understanding them in a different way in order to lead a happier and healthier life. (My new ways of processing my emotions are through writing about them and daily meditation.) I also learned the importance of balance in life: I had constantly been working to add positivity into my life, rather than looking at ways to remove negativity from my life.
Through learning more about my own emotions and behavioral patterns, I was able to gain a better understanding and deeper appreciation for others’ emotional and behavioral patterns. I started seeing a therapist as my existential crisis was beginning, which not only helped me to sort everything out, but it also gave me a deeper appreciation and understanding of psychology. My reflections on my emotional and behavioral patterns have ultimately led to me becoming a better communicator and having more empathy.
How my learnings are carrying me forward
I would say I am recently exiting my existential crisis phase, and entering a long-term normalized and balanced frame of mind.
As I live in a my normalized frame of mind, I can see the benefits of my learnings already. I am more confident in myself, and I radiate this confidence in a way that is contagious. My friends have told me that they can hear it in my voice, and that I sound a lot better and more sound. Moreover, new people that I meet gravitate towards me because of my bolstered confidence and improved communication.
I also feel wiser. Certain things in life that I did not understand or took for granted before, I now have a deeper understanding and acknowledgement of. I have a better understanding of how people emote, how people communicate, and how one’s insecurities are so important and critical in his or her life process. I better understand how to soften discomfort and insecurities in everyday conversation to create a sense of ease and safety.
Moreover, I have made it a point in my life to approach my insecurities and fears with a new light. Most people tend to hide their insecurities, and run away from their fears, as is the natural human tendency. One thing that creates tight bonds in friend, family and romantic relationships is the ability for one to feel comfortable revealing and discussing his or her insecurities and fears with another individual. My new approach in life is rather than hiding my insecurities, and rather than running away from my fears, I instead put them on the stage for everyone to see and acknowledge. I own my insecurities, and show them to the world. I own my fears, and I run right at them. This new approach has been extremely liberating. It has led to massive personal growth, and earned me great respect from those around me.
All in all, I have used my pain and my learnings to live my life to its fullest. We only get one life, so we to go all in on it. It is OK to make mistakes if we learn from them. The worst thing we can do in life is to limit ourselves by letting our insecurities and fears hold us back.
Key Takeaways: Existential crises are not fun and generally very painful, but they can lead to extremely powerful and inspirational learnings. If one takes the time to really learn during an existential crisis, it can be life changing. In my existential crisis, I learned about love, relationships, and emotions. I continue to work to be the best person that I can be, but now I have a better sense of how to do it, and I don’t let insecurities nor fears hold me back.