P.S. Perhaps I should have added what the four most commonly cited givens of existence are, when I first published this post. Loving the work of psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom, I will use his breakdown and terminology to briefly describe them here. Eventually, in one way or another, we must each come to terms with the following conditions of life:
1. Mortality - whether you believe in an afterlife or not you must still come to terms with the given that your body will die. Recognizing this, makes life all the more precious and usually increases our determination to make the most of every moment we have. In other words, accepting that our bodies are mortal and that our time on earth is finite will increase, surprisingly, life satisfaction.
2. Freedom - we must all come to terms with the fact that we are free to make our own choices AND that we will have to assume responsibility for the outcome of our choices. Our freedom to choose includes our beliefs, attitudes and stance toward life. Freedom engenders anxiety because when we freely decide for one thing, we are often cutting off other options. Appreciating this given of life can help us take our decision-making and responsibilities more seriously.
3. Isolation - whether in relationship or not, we are ultimately alone. Only WE can face our pain, feel our losses, confront our issues. Accepting this condition of life helps us to appreciate the value of family and social networks for the support, love and care they can offer. It will also make us nourish, educate and love ourselves more since in our aloneness, sometimes we are all we have.
4. Meaning - we must come to terms with the given that we have to imbue our life with meaning. There is a crisis of meaninglessness in our society, as emphasis has been placed on superficial values (status, wealth, celebrity, appearance, fun) that cannot sustain meaningful satisfaction for a complex human being. We are meaning-seeking creatures and we alone must decide what is truly meaningful for us and how we will bring it into our life. Much of the depression we see in our culture is due to a pervasive lack of meaning. What are you doing to make your life meaningful?
Those are the main givens of existence in the broadest sense. Of course, the four givens can be broken down into many sub-categories - but consider these for now. All of these givens of life are primary sources of anxiety - whether we actively deal with them or not. While it can seem daunting to confront them, doing so will ultimately bring much life satisfaction and will lessen your existential angst (anxiety). Most of our suffering comes from OUR RESISTANCE to what is, rather than directly from what is. That is why Richo says accepting the givens of life brings liberation - liberation or freedom from suffering.