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How can I figure out my own sense of meaning and purpose?

Question mark with pencil

Exploring your own sense of meaning and purpose can be a good way to discover aspects of yourself that can help you navigate challenges.

Questions that you can ask yourself
  • Where do I get inspiration and motivation?
  • What matters to me?
  • How do I cope with challenges?
  • What makes me feel brave and resilient?
  • Where do I find belonging and connection?
  • How do I make sense of what is happening?
  • What am I good at?
  • What makes me happy?
  • How can I contribute to other people and the world?
  • What do I believe in?
  • What kind of legacy do I want to leave in this world?

If you have never thought about these questions before, coming up with answers might feel hard! Or you may have already carefully planned them out and now find yourself needing to rethink everything. 

You can also reflect on how meaning and purpose has played a role in your life before now. For example, you can ask yourself, “How have I dealt with challenges in the past?” or “When was the last time I felt happy?”

Everyone will have different answers to these questions. You may even find that the way you feel about your own beliefs or values changes along the journey from diagnosis to treatment.

Take your time

Although you may feel an urgency to uncover answers to your questions about who you are, what you believe in, and what gives your life meaning, it’s important to know when to take a break. Navigating a serious illness can be exhausting and requires endless kindness to yourself. Take care of your body and mind as best as you can, and when you need to simply rest and not explore the sometimes heavy questions of meaning and purpose - take that time to relax.

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