The existentialist believes that every person is uniquely isolated in an indifferent universe. There are a lot of negative associations with existentialism (such as the world being hostile and thwarting every intention you try to bring into being), but there are certainly some positive elements to it. Self-reliance, setting intentions, being responsible for shaping your life - to extrapolate a few. Taking responsibility for personal choice is of the highest import, because accepting it is accepting there’s no blaming someone else for the way your life unfolds. All of these are powerful for individual growth and can be found within the general ideologies of existentialism.
The ironic and often negating element that edges its way into these positive factors is the hostile/indifferent universe. Why offer anything into the universe, when it could care less, or it will only make you doubt the worth of what it is you are offering? The near impossible struggle of understanding yourself and just what it is you are speaking out into the universe becomes that much more beyond reach. Many times, the natural response when we recognize the universe in this way is to go inward.
I deeply resonate with this. I’ve considered myself an existentialist for the better part of my life - there aren't too many in recent generations who haven't. It’s pretty popular these days, and not just because it seems ‘cool’. With the increased hostility towards the religious structures and a variety of institutions more loudly advocating focus on personal intention and choice, its natural to slide into. Even moreso when you are at a particularly frightening crossroads into the unknown. When I was young, and I put myself out there only to be immediately rejected, I took the easy way out. I might have fought a little at the start, but once I realized I could escape into my isolation and offer nothing to the apathetic universe, there didn’t seem to be a reason why I would do otherwise.
But I also acknowledged that being depressed in isolation was an entirely unsatisfying way to exist, even in my solo universe where I had complete control. Therefore, I developed my existential motto, “If nothing means anything, then I should enjoy everything”. Why criticize and loathe what’s around me, when I could just laugh about it and do my best to see the good in my present moment? It seemed a great motto, and I claimed to live by it. What I didn’t realize was twofold: first, my motto was rather intelligent and spoke more deeply than I yet realized, and second, I only acted on my motto in the external world - I didn’t at the time realize that ‘enjoy everything’ included myself. Self-loathing could still exist. So I was stuck in a cycle of claiming to enjoy everything when I didn’t like myself. Therefore I didn’t actually enjoy the world around me, and I became frustrated that I wasn’t happy even though, “I have the right motto!”
Gotta talk the talk AND walk the walk. Yes, of course. So although I can’t say I don’t still criticize and yell at myself, I have a better vision of enjoying my present moment - in it’s entirety. And seeing it brings me one step closer to actualization. The full conclusion I’m coming to, which debunks the above negativity and I felt was worth sharing is: If I enjoy everything, in spite of it not having a ‘bigger’ meaning, the most complete way I can be in enjoyment is to radiate my enjoyment, whether I am alone or in the presence of others. That enjoyment is what people will most deeply resonate with. It is my gift. I don’t have to somehow filter the gift that I will offer, and sit back biting my nails, wondering if they will enjoy it. When I speak, create, dance, love in the moment and enjoy it for the simple fact that it is my moment and I am fully there, that’s when I’ve offered myself - that’s when I’ve been expressed.
That’s certainly worth putting my faith into. And encouraging others to do the same.