persoonlijke groei

As I write this, I look at a beautiful tree with dark green leaves. I look back on the past four years and see myself as the tree; a tree of personal growth.

A young tree

When I started studying on the other side of the Netherlands, I was still a small tree. Just planted, with thin twigs and small leaves. I really liked that I could finally leave high school! I came in as a freshman and didn’t know anyone. Luckily I wasn’t the only one who came alone, so making new friends was easy. Every week the young tree grew a bit. Sometimes barely visible, but a lot of good things happened inside. Months passed and the tree continued to grow, it became visible on the outside too. The leaves multiplied and got larger. The trunk grew thicker and could handle more.

Personal growth with tears

Still, the tree trunk had a few cracks. These cracks consisted mainly of insecurity and the fear of failure. I wanted to perform, but couldn’t always deliver. The cracks of the tree were camouflaged with decorations and paintings so that no one could see them. I disguised my faults by keeping up appearances. Eventually, more cracks appeared in the tree trunk. This time it was due to a storm that had not shown itself so violently for years. In addition to the cracks in the tree trunk, the leaves also got affected. They were blown away and the tree got a gray color.


The tree got grayer and grayer, while the other trees didn’t suffer from the consequences of the storm. While the other trees continued to grow and the leaves got buds from which beautiful flowers bloomed, the small tree was left behind. I felt less than anything and everyone. This was due to bad experiences and negative thoughts. My concentration was gone, I didn’t sleep well and I didn’t want to study because it cost me too much energy. And there you are, with your heavy luggage on your back. The feeling that you want to crash into a ravine so that you don’t have to think about that luggage anymore. Meanwhile, the little tree looked worse and worse. The tree bark began to break down and there was no leaf left. But then something miraculous happened.

And she lived happily ever after?

A little girl with two braids came to the tree and embraced it. She whispered, “Don’t worry, tree, I’m going to help you recover.” She grabbed a stone from her coat pocket, made a hole in the tree trunk and put the stone in it. After two weeks she came back and you know what? The tree started to get some color again and there were leaves growing. Every week she sat by the tree and whispered positive things. After two years the tree looked better. The leaves grew, the trunk got thicker again and it had also grown in height. The little girl is not done yet. She will continue to help the tree until it no longer needs her.

The little girl inside me tries to help me every day. Some days accept her help, the other days I don’t feel like it and I push her away. Yet she insists. Because she also feels the pain. Together you are stronger than alone.

Quote with this story: Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop – RUMI



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Deel dit artikel! Als dit artikel voor jou inzichtelijk was, deel het dan met je omgeving - laten we het samen hebben over mentale gezondheid.


By telling others about my own experiences, I hope to support people that deal with mental disorders in their own process. I find it important that mental illnesses are recognised as real diseases, even though they might not be visible to the eye.

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