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3 Signs You’re Having an Existential Awakening

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“What’s an existential awakening”, you ask? Only a total game changer in uprooting your life if you let it (AND I really hope you do!!). This is when motivation for change is HIGH! It will in fact probably never be higher than in a moment of an awakening because it can feel very much like an identify crisis. A crisis tends to feel so incredibly uncomfortable that any typical human being will try to resolve it as soon as possible. If you’re smart (which I know you are because you’re here), you’d be wise to hire a coach during this process. It will provide ease, facilitation, and perspective to have resolution much faster!!

An existential awakening occurs when we question what we’re doing with our lives and if it has any real purpose, value, or meaning. We may begin to question if we’re on the right life path and if we’re doing what we’re meant to be doing. These are huge questions and notoriously rise during the quarter life crisis (anywhere from around mid-late 20s) and the midlife crisis (anywhere from the mid 40’s-50s), but can literally arise at any point throughout the lifespan when we lose touch with our sense of self and our innermost desires.

An existential awakening is also common when you’ve gone through a major transition such as getting married, getting divorced, becoming a parent, losing someone you hold close, changing careers, or graduating from school. Any time our identify begins to shift, we are susceptible to an existential awakening because we go through a process of reintegration where we need to re-establish who we are in the context of these changes.

Additionally, you may also be experiencing the following 3 signs:

1. You question what you’re doing with your life. This question generally feels like it comes out of nowhere. A job that used to make you happy is all of a sudden less fulfilling. A relationship that used to satisfy you all of a sudden loses it’s charm. A career direction that used to excite you now has you dreading the work it takes. You may question if you made the right decision by getting married or having a baby or taking a job or choosing a major. This question usually catches people by surprise, but is one of the first signs that an existential awakening has begun.

2. You begin to feel as if you don’t know who you are anymore. This experience is usually quite unsettling for people. Everything you once thought, felt, or believed about yourself suddenly comes into question. Are you living up to your potential? Are you doing what makes you happy? Are you the person you’re supposed to be? This time is generally categorized by questioning one’s values and even one’s morality. It feels as if there is a point of unraveling, which increases feelings of unsteadiness, uncertainty, discomfort.

3. You start to feel the incessant need to overhaul your life. During this period, you will re-evaluate everything. You’ll evaluate your job, your romantic relationship, the way you interact with others, how you view life, what you think about death, what you want for yourself, what you’d like to leave behind. You also ask big questions such as “is this how I want to be remembered?” You feel as though you need to make massive changes to recover your once very centered sense of self. This time can feel massively overwhelming, which is why it’s highly advised to hire a coach for support, perspective, and guidance.

The good news is that on the other side of an existential awakening is a new way of being in the world. The relationship you have with yourself and the way you relate to others changes. You go through a massive period of self-growth and progress as a human being… that is if you allow your awakening to be everything it could be.

Remember that an existential awakening will create massive amounts of motivation for change, but it is up to you to actually use the motivation to re-evaluate your life. You then must make the necessary changes that are more in line with who you are. Sadly, there are many people who let this opportunity pass them by. Eventually the discomfort goes away on its own as people settle back into what they’ve always done and who they’ve always been. An existential awakening is one way your soul calls you to do more with your life. I wholeheartedly hope you won’t be one of the people that lets this opportunity pass you by.

  • Shane Gordon April 1, 2017, 4:23 pm

    Just read the “75 years” quote on a post and trying to describe the feeling it gave me, used the term existeial awakening, which I think is much more accurate than crisis. As I wrote this post, I’m curious about your take on the nuance between “crisis” and “awakening”.

    • Megan Hale April 1, 2017, 5:26 pm

      Hi Shane. I think the term “crisis” is used because that’s what an awakening often feels like. Everything we’ve known starts to shift the ground we’ve been walking on and at times, it feels like the world as we know it is being turned on its head. It can feel very disorienting, much like when we experience the grand changes a crisis brings us. There’s a shift, an opening, a crack, if you will and it’s so easy for us to think that’s something wrong. But, as someone once said to me, a breakdown can just as easily be a breakthrough and in most cases, that’s exactly what every breakdown is – a moment where everything feels like it falls apart so things can better fall together. Awakening, to me, is often the “aha” part of this process where we start to put all the pieces back together and make sense of who we are now. It’s a subtle shift to see crises as awakenings, but it most definitely puts a positive reframe on this experience.

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