Just over a week ago, I celebrated my birthday and this year was completely different than it had been from other birthdays. I would have to say that this was probably the first time since I was a child that I felt like I wanted to celebrate me because I am worth it! That is new and a reflection of the work I have been doing on myself over the past years, and man does it feel good!
I am sure I am not the only one out there who on their birthday feels like it’s not that big of a deal or they minimize it in some other way. Most of my friends are that way, well, all accept one. She is the friend who refers to her birthday as her “princess day” and, to be honest, I never really could relate to that. I would think often think “Come on, we are adults!” But now I finally get it! This “princess day”, I actually felt the excitement that a child feels on their birthday. The biggest difference this year is that I believe and have embraced that I am a good person who has talents and strengths and am a unique individual and who deserves to be celebrated (we all do)!
When you look at kids, they are so ecstatic about their birthdays. They feel special on their day and they really do celebrate themselves. Why does this change? At what age do we start to accept that we are not really that special and that our birthday just means we are another year older? What is it that makes us feel that we do not deserve or are not that big of a deal that we should not celebrate who we are?
I think that the difference is that we start to develop versions of ourselves that are not authentically us, as we get older. We begin to take on the expected behaviors that we observe in the world around us. We start to learn that we are not alright and that we need to do, be, or act better. For me, this is the beginning of us feeling that we are not good enough and start believing that we need to be better. If we feel we need to be better and that we need to step up our game because we are not good enough, then why would we celebrate our mediocrity?
This couldn’t be further from the truth! We are all good enough in our own ways and these internalized versions of how we need to be better are just that – they are stories that we tell ourselves that keep us chasing the carrot. There is far too much information on how this happens to go into in this short blog, but to prove it does happen, look at a child and see their pure joy! For example, my niece and nephew dance, play, run and laugh freely. They don’t stifle their laugh because they have been told it is “too loud” or “obnoxious”. They don’t worry about what their dancing looks like because someone has told them they are doing it wrong or that people don’t dance that way or that they look silly dancing. They just dance freely! They play and create games that don’t always make sense, but they are having fun nonetheless. I think we have got it all backwards. Kids are the prime example of what it means to live freely and authentically, but the older they get, the more they buy into the stories/lessons that they are being taught by society and then they start to lose their authentic selves, like most of us have. They start to believe that they laugh too loud, they dance too silly, that their games and imaginations don’t make sense, and they start to hide away these pieces of themselves that do not fit the mold. And after years of hiding them away, as adults, they feel like who they are is not good enough and that they don’t measure up. This creates the scenario where they no longer celebrate themselves because, again, why would you celebrate someone who is not good enough and doesn’t measure up?!
So, I say celebrate yourself! Celebrate your birthday this year because it is a special day. You, unlike anyone else, were born into this world with a unique set of gifts, talents, quirks, and beauty, so why would we not celebrate something that rare?! There is no one else like you and that is something to celebrate, you’re one of a kind! In other areas of life we certainly celebrate rareness, so why not with ourselves?
So, no matter when your birthday is this year, Happy Birthday! Celebrate the wonderfulness that is you! If your birthday has passed, have a do-over, you deserve it! You may even feel like I did this year – happy to be celebrating and grateful for all those people who celebrated who I am with me!