Grappling With Despair

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Despair is a black hole that threatens to rob you of all your light and energy. It’s a prime example of the faulty thinking pattern called fortune telling, where you look into your imaginary crystal ball and take it for granted that you have the power to predict exactly how things are going to turn out. In the case of despair you predict that the situation is hopeless, that not only is life bad right now but that there’s no chance of it ever getting any better.

With this sort of attitude in place a self-fulfilling prophecy is born since if you take it as absolute fact that things can never change for the better there’s no point in activating, no point in doing anything to try to improve the situation. Your light and energy keep on dimming until there’s only darkness. When you do nothing to try to improve your situation the most likely outcome is that your situation doesn’t improve. And the guaranteed outcome is that your present tense is filled with psychological and emotional pain, regardless of how the future turns out.

Despair is a prediction, not ironclad fact. No matter what percentage chance you give the future of turning out the way you believe it will you can’t know for sure. What we do know for sure as existentialists is that no matter how grim your life situation is or how little time you have left there is always, under all circumstances, something you can do to make your life, the life of those around you, and the world a little better. There’s always something you can do to instill a sense of meaning into your existence, and meaning is the antidote to despair. This something might be small or it might be monumental but the size is less important than the realization that you always wield the power to make it.

When you allow the black hole of despair to engulf your light you completely lose awareness of your efficacy to respond to your given set of circumstances as you see fit but you don’t lose that efficacy. A major part of taking it back is actively challenging the fortune telling faulty thinking pattern causing you to incorrectly believe that you know what the future holds. Many variables are completely outside of your control but some aren’t, and when you discover those variables that are inside your control you can affect them in some way and this ability to affect them replaces the black hole of despair with the bright light of purpose.