Recently I attended my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary. Let’s just pause there. 50 years!!!! Wow!
My cousins did a beautiful job of making the occasion memorable and including ceremony to mark the event. It was intimate and festive, loving and joyous. During dinner, a few of us were talking about how important celebrations are, yet momentous occasions seem to slip by, often unmarked. My aunt said she may not have celebrated without her children organizing the event.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary with a trip (without our kids!). As we were enjoying the alone time we wondered why we had waited so long to celebrate our marriage.
My friend recently received a well-deserved promotion, and was hesitant to let me take her out to lunch to celebrate.
These are just a few examples of big events that caused me to wonder why we don’t allow ourselves to celebrate? We are all good people doing good things. A little celebration seems in order!
Here are my typical excuses (and I’m guessing yours):
- I don’t have enough money.
- I don’t have enough time.
- It isn’t that big of a deal.
Let’s break it down and dispel the myths.
Excuse 1: Not enough money.
“I don’t have enough money to celebrate all the time! Who has extra money for celebration?”
Sure celebrations can be lavish dinners or vacations at swanky resorts, but that is only one way of celebrating. Celebration can be a green juice or a nap. Celebrations can be as simple as making your favorite meal at home. Eating dinner on your good china. Wearing your favorite outfit. Reading your favorite book. Taking a walk in the woods. Planning a camping or kayaking trip. Calling your best friend. What makes you happy? THAT is the way to celebrate. Celebrating the small things in everyday life has made a huge difference for me. I finished that project at work, so I’m going to take a walk in the woods before I pick up the kids. Even if it is 5 minutes. Which brings me to excuse #2.
Excuse 2: Not enough time.
“I don’t have time to celebrate! Who has time for celebration?”
Again, celebrations can be long vacations or jetting somewhere exotic, or they can be the 5 minutes of bliss you give yourself in the a simple pleasure of noticing a flower in your front yard. Patting yourself on the back or giving yourself time and space. Or the one that I love from Master Coach Brooke Castillo is doing something that follows your heart and saying to yourself “I did that for you.” I finished cleaning the house (I did that for you). I left that crappy relationship (I did that for you). I drank the smoothie instead of the milk shake (I did that for you). There you are, showing up and taking care of YOU. It only takes 30 seconds, and it is intensely rewarding.
Excuse 3: Not a big deal.
“Getting ____ (promotion, positive evaluation, sandwich, etc.) isn’t that big of a deal.”
This is huge excuse that often goes undetected. We discount and dismiss our efforts and desires. I see it in myself when I play down that feels really big for me, but may not look that way to others. I recently had a research article accepted in a journal. THAT is a good reason for celebration. Yet, the self-critical voices come in to tell me that the journal is not the prestigious, I should be publishing more, and well, it is a part of my job so it is not that big of a deal. Now I can say, “Really?” to the inner lizard that Martha Beck refers to and celebrate anyway.
If you look closely you may find these excuses as a recurrent theme in your life, keeping you stuck in whatever situation you don’t love. But you know what? Each one of us deserves celebration. Each one of us deserves to feel loved and taken care of, and we can do that for ourselves instead of waiting for someone to do it for us.
How to bring celebration into your life
The truth is we do 100 amazing things every day. Really, every day. So find every “excuse” to celebrate (Ha! Pun intended :) ). For example, getting the kids to school on time definitely deserves celebration (Yea me!) and yet it often goes unrewarded. Instead I could sit in the sunshine for 5 minutes before going inside to work, something I love. Or if I take a deep breath before speaking to someone when I’m cranky. Who-hoo! I could celebrate with 5 minutes of my feet up and my favorite book in my hand. Today, I chose a salad for lunch AND went exercising in the woods. Whoa. I could throw a boat-load of confetti (and say an encouraging and kind word to myself)! Seriously. Each thing deserves a celebration, even if it is a moment to take in and receive your accomplishment. Small celebrations will begin to make be changes in your life. What if we simply filled our lives with celebrations, both big and small? Try it and report back on my Facebook page. I’d love to know how it changes your life.
Peace and Celebration,
Join in the celebration! Celebration and self-compassion are foundational components of the 4 week Instant Relief program as well as to my new program, Five Steps to Healing Stress and Fear. If you want to learn more about how to incorporate self-compassion into your own life, sign up here for a free phone chat!