Existential questions arise from those doubts we ask ourselves in the search for our consciousness and essence.
These are questions that often require a deep work of self-reflection, and other times they are questions that, as their name indicates, are about our existence and the whys of life. Whatever the case, they are questions that help us to better perceive reality and our own thoughts and desires.
Existential questions for thinking and reflection
In this article you can find a list of 35 existential questions that you are sure you have asked yourself and that will make you think .
1. How do we know if we are doing the right thing?
Making decisions is not always easy. On the one hand we have our emotional side, and on the other hand our rational side. As some researchers, such as Antonio Damasio, indicate, emotions have such a great weight in our decisions that, although sometimes we think that our irrational side is the one that rules, emotions almost decide for us.
- If you want to find out more about the influence of emotions on our decisions, I advise you to take a look at our article: “Emotional Marketing: Getting to the Customer’s Heart”
2. How can we have healthy relationships?
Relationships are difficult. Just look at the data from a study carried out by Eurostat (the European statistics office): there are fewer and fewer marriages in Spain, as they have fallen by as much as 56% in the last 50 years. According to the General Council of Notaries, for every marriage there are two divorces in this country .
Relationships affect us and can cause us to enter into an existential crisis if we are not well with our lover. Learning to be happy in a relationship is something that requires learning and deep reflection.
3. What is the meaning of life?
One of the greatest existential questions we can ask ourselves is about the meaning of our path. Coming to question this means that one is still searching for one’s identity . So he needs to reflect on who he is, what his virtues and defects are, and which path he should take in life.
4. How do we measure success in life?
How do we measure our success? In what areas of our life? What matters, the present or the past? We can only live the present moment, but the past accompanies us throughout our lives. It depends on how we interpret our life that will help us enjoy greater well-being. The healthiest thing is to focus on the here and now.
5. Why do I feel this way?
Not everyone is emotionally intelligent, and gets carried away by their emotions, without managing to detach themselves from them . When someone asks himself this question, he needs to carry out a process of self-reflection and self-knowledge, because emotional management affects our happiness either positively or negatively.
6. Why do I sometimes behave like this?
We may think that we are good people, but at some point we explode because of stress at work and pay for it with the first one around us without him deserving it . Or we come home and use our partner as a scapegoat for our frustration, even though she is the one who supports us the most and shows us her love every day.
7. How can I change my life?
Life is not always a path of roses, and many times it is necessary to rethink and change the course, to transform ourselves in order to go to the place where we want to be. To do this, it is necessary to know oneself, challenge limiting beliefs, get out of the comfort zone, set realistic goals, etc.
- You can deepen this theme in our article: “Personal Growth: How to Transform Your Life in 6 Steps”
8. Why do I find it hard to value things?
The human mind is made in such a way that we get used to the things we have . It is normal that, with time, we no longer value what we really have. That is why it is necessary to avoid a consumerist mentality, because we will never be satisfied with what we have and we will always want more.
9. Are we in control of our lives?
Surely, we have all gone through some moments when we needed to make important decisions or were in a learning process. This is totally normal and the uncertainty of the moment can make our self-esteem suffer. However, these moments are necessary to go where we want to go. Getting out of the comfort zone is synonymous with personal growth.
10. Is the Big Bang theory true?
Although science seems to have found evidence of the Big Bang, in the human mind it is impossible to imagine how the universe came into being. Did we really come out of nowhere? This question can lead us to reflect on something that has a certainly complex and difficult to visualize answer.
11. Is one life enough to live everything I have in mind?
We do not live forever and therefore we must make the most of our life . Sometimes we want to do everything and that is not possible. We have to set priorities.
12. Is there life after death?
One of the most important existential questions has to do with death. It is difficult for human beings to think that there is nothing. Thinking about one’s own death causes tremendous discomfort, and when it is necessary to face the death of a loved one it becomes very difficult to accept. Many people need to attend therapy to overcome it .
13. Am I weak if I show my emotions to others?
We live in a society that has educated us in such a way that showing our emotions to others is a symptom of weakness: it is permissible to cry is weak, one cannot get angry, etc. We must be happy every day. This, besides being impossible, is not good for people’s well-being.
14. Who am I?
“Who am I?” is one of those existential questions, in which one pretends to know if one has found oneself or if one has defined one’s path. However, if one does not know how to answer this question, it is because one is still in the process of searching.
15. Why don’t we value the people who love us most?
The habituation I spoke of earlier can also occur with the people around us who love us most. We may take it for granted that the people closest to us will always be there for us. This makes us sometimes disregard them and tend to underestimate them .
16. What do we need in this life?
We often think that material things are what we need, however, we need less than we think . Expectations that are too high can make you terribly unhappy.
17. Is life unfair?
If we take a look around us we will realize that life is not fair . Every day, atrocities occur in many places around the world, and misfortunes can happen to anyone, because they are part of life. To enjoy greater emotional well-being, one must focus on the present, love oneself and practice acceptance. What to do when you feel desperate?
18. Do people change?
It may happen that at some point in our lives, someone who has not done any harm, promises us that he will change. But, can people change? Obviously, yes. Now, it depends on them.
19. Why are some people so cruel?
Sometimes we fail to understand how some people are so cruel and capable of barbaric acts. The reality is that need and situation have great importance in how we behave with others . A study that explains this perfectly is the one from Stanford prison.
- You can read about this research in our article: “Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment”
20. What is the secret to happiness?
One question we have all asked ourselves at one time or another is… what is the secret to being happy? Actually, being happy all the time is impossible, but there are some keys to being happy that you can check out in this article: “The 10 keys to be happy, according to science”.
21. Will there be life on other planets?
One of those questions that every human being has ever asked himself is whether there will be life on other planets . We still don’t have an answer to this question, but we are sure that human beings will continue to search for some form of life somewhere in the infinite universe.
22. What should I study?
Many people, when they have to start university, ask themselves an existential question about their future . Choosing a career and a profession is, without a doubt, a decision that will mark our future and our well-being. If we choose a profession that does not motivate us or that we do not like, we may regret it for the rest of our lives.
23. Should I pursue my dreams?
Another existential question is… Should I fight for my dreams despite the difficulty or seek stability? The answer to this question is in oneself, but there is nothing more enriching than pursuing a dream.
24. Is there life beyond love?
Another of the big questions: do we need love to survive?
25. How far could I go if I wanted to?
The power of will power can change everything. Don’t let anyone limit you, and if you have a target between your eyes, go for it.
26. Where could I find emotional refuge?
A question to reflect on what really calms us down.
27. If I disappeared today, how would the world change?
Have we made a difference?
28. Do I think for me, or do prefabricated speeches speak through my mouth?
To what extent are our ideas really ours?
29. When is violence justified?
Contexts can affect our ethical scales in such important aspects as the physical integrity of people?
30. When I leave, what will people remember about me?
What mark do we leave on others? Will anyone remember us once we’re gone?
31. Am I emotion, or am I reason?
This duality serves to explain above all our personality.
32. Can I be happy without the people around me?
An existential question to know to what extent we are independent.
33. Why do wars happen?
Violence is undesirable, but we are in a context where warlike conflicts are constantly arising. Why is this happening? What interests are behind violent conflicts between nations?
34. Does the current education system make sense?
Does it make sense for a five-year-old to spend several hours a day sitting down, listening to his teacher’s explanations? What would be a way to educate more in line with the values of today’s society?
35. Why do we consider dreams to be imaginary fictions? Could they, in some sense, be more real than reality itself?
It may seem a somewhat risky consideration, but if we stop to think… perhaps reality can be reinterpreted.
36. Am I my conscience?
What is the nature of consciousness? Is it that which defines us as individuals?
37. How does my belief system limit me?
Personal beliefs can become limits to our personal development.
38. Do good and evil exist as something objective?
Is there a right way to behave beyond our opinions?
39. Does my life plan exist beyond improvisation?
I mean, do we really live by personal projects, or are these just a useful fiction?
40. Can anyone be blamed for their actions if freedom does not exist?
One of the most talked about existential questions is the relationship between determinism and responsibility.