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It is often through testing times and hardship that we experience the most personal growth. Tough times can challenge our thoughts on what is important to us and how we want to be able to manage through difficult times. They provide an opportunity to reflect upon life and make conscious decisions about who we want to be, and how we want to be known.

Reflection such as this can be both upsetting and enlightening. It can make us consider our past and what we have maybe taken for granted, and consider our future and what we will cherish.

We cannot change the past, but we can influence the future and how we feel about the world around us.

A journey of personal growth can provide a great source of comfort and help you to feel more in control of your life, your emotions and your mental wellbeing. After going through a difficult time, many people can experience what is known as ‘Post Traumatic Growth’. This is where people may find new meanings, new purpose or a new appreciation of the life that they have. This can take time though, so be careful not to put pressure on yourself for this to happen straight away.

Many people also report ‘benefit finding’. This means that even though the situation they went through was incredibly difficult, they did find some benefits emerge from it. Commonly these benefits are a deepened connection with loved ones, a different perspective on life and ‘no longer sweating the small stuff’, or finally committing to something you’d been putting off for years. Everyone is different though, and it’s totally okay to not see any benefit to situations that were distressing.

There are many resources that you can tap into to help you on your journey of personal growth such as:

  • counsellor

  • EAP (if this is a benefit at your workplace)

  • guided meditations

  • seek support from others such as friends and family

  • the Cancer Society runs a ‘Moving Forward’ group programme specifically designed to help people with personal growth following cancer treatment. Contact your local site to find out when and where the next group is running.

  • connect to your ūkaipō (tribal or spiritual homeland) and Pūrākau-ā-iwi (tribal history)

  • seek support from Kaumātua and/ or Cultural leaders to learn your whakapapa (genealogy), pēpeha (tribal saying) or start to learn Te Reo Māori.