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Living vs. Existing: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 20, 2023
Living implies actively engaging in experiences and growth, while existing refers to mere survival or continuation without significant change or fulfillment.

Key Differences

Living is about actively participating in life, seeking purpose, and experiencing growth. Existing, on the other hand, refers to a state of mere survival, often without personal fulfillment or growth.
Living involves engagement with life, pursuing passions, and finding meaning. Existing is often characterized by a lack of involvement or purpose, simply continuing to be.
The concept of living emphasizes a quality of life marked by happiness, fulfillment, and growth. In contrast, existing may lack these elements, often feeling stagnant or unfulfilled.
Living usually includes personal development, learning, and evolving. Existing might lack these dynamics, often involving routine or monotonous experiences.
Living is often associated with positive emotions and psychological well-being, while existing can be associated with a lack of emotional engagement and a sense of stagnation.

Comparison Chart


Active engagement in life.
Mere survival or continuation.


Involves pursuing passions, meaning.
Often lacks purpose or engagement.

Quality of Life

Marked by happiness, fulfillment.
May feel stagnant, unfulfilled.

Personal Growth

Includes learning, evolving.
Lacks dynamic growth, development.

Emotional State

Associated with positive emotions, well-being.
Often involves a lack of emotional engagement.

Living and Existing Definitions


Actively engaging with and experiencing life.
Traveling the world is a way of living life to the fullest.


Mere continuation of life without significant change.
He felt like he was just existing, not really enjoying life.


Experiencing joy and embracing opportunities.
Living for him means embracing every new opportunity with enthusiasm.


Surviving without pursuing personal fulfillment.
Existing in a routine job, she longed for more excitement and challenge.


Pursuing personal growth and fulfillment.
She believes that constantly learning is essential for truly living.


Lacking engagement with life’s opportunities.
After retiring, he felt like he was merely existing, not engaging with life.


Finding meaning and purpose in activities.
Volunteering gives her a sense of living a meaningful life.


Absence of growth or emotional involvement.
Existing without passion or hobbies made her life feel empty.


Maintaining emotional and psychological well-being.
Healthy relationships are key to living a happy life.


Enduring life passively or without joy.
She was existing day to day, lacking joy and enthusiasm.


Possessing life
Famous living painters.
Transplanted living tissue.


To have actual being; be real.


In active function or use
A living language.


To have life; live
One of the worst actors that ever existed.


Can someone be alive but merely existing?

Yes, it’s possible to be alive but not fully engaged in the experiences of life, thus merely existing.

How do living and existing differ in terms of emotional state?

Living is often associated with positive emotions, whereas existing may involve a lack of emotional engagement.

Is finding purpose essential to living?

Finding purpose is often considered an important part of living a fulfilling life.

What does it mean to be living?

Living means actively engaging with life, pursuing growth, and finding fulfillment.

What is the essence of existing?

Existing refers to mere survival or continuation of life without significant personal development.

Is personal growth a part of living?

Yes, personal growth and development are key aspects of living.

What role does mental health play in living vs. existing?

Good mental health is often crucial for living a full life, while poor mental health can contribute to a state of merely existing.

Can career choices impact living versus existing?

Yes, careers that align with personal passions and growth can enhance the sense of living.

Can someone be content with just existing?

Some individuals may find contentment in simply existing, though it often lacks the dynamism of living.

Is it possible to shift the focus from existing to living?

Yes, through conscious effort and changes in one’s approach to life, this shift is possible.

Does existing imply a negative state?

Existing often implies a state of stagnation or lack of fulfillment, which can be perceived negatively.

How does one's lifestyle affect living versus existing?

Lifestyle choices that promote engagement, growth, and happiness contribute to living, as opposed to existing.

How does one recognize if they’re just existing?

Signs of just existing include feeling stagnant, unfulfilled, and lacking enthusiasm for life.

Are relationships important for living?

Yes, fulfilling relationships can greatly enhance the experience of living.

Can financial status affect living vs. existing?

While financial status can impact the quality of life, living fully is more about emotional and psychological well-being than wealth.

Can the transition from existing to living occur?

Yes, individuals can move from a state of existing to living by engaging more with life and seeking fulfillment.

How does society influence our living or existing?

Society can impact by providing opportunities for engagement and growth or by imposing constraints that lead to mere existence.

Is age a factor in living versus existing?

Age itself is not a determining factor; people of any age can either be living fully or merely existing.

Are hobbies and interests important for living?

Engaging in hobbies and interests can significantly contribute to the sense of living a fulfilling life.

Does existing always lead to unhappiness?

Not necessarily, as feelings of contentment or acceptance can occur in a state of existence.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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