The art of celebrating yourself

I have perfected celebrating me. This isn't said in a narcissistic way, this is said through an essential, imperative and empowering way. It is a very human need to want to be celebrated, to NEED to be celebrated. It took me 40+ years to learn how to do so and why everyone should learn the art of celebrating YOU.

My childhood was steeped in survival - I don't fault my parents for not making a fuss over me, but every child SHOULD have a fuss made over them. We didn't really celebrate birthdays and Christmas so in my house, special days were like any other day. I always envied my friends who had people in their lives that celebrated them. That found joy in them. That absolutely delighted in their existence. That wasn't my reality. I know my parents and family loved me, but no one was in tune with ME and what I needed, and dare I say what any child needs in order to cultivate a sense of worth and self esteem.

As I grew older, this trend continued into my adult life. I held out hope that every birthday, every Christmas would be that turning point but it never was. It was a groundhog day of disappointment that kept reconfirming that no one found me particularly special. I was also very engulfed in martyrdom at the time so I would literally exhaust myself celebrating others in hopes that same enthusiasm would be returned. But that's not the right reason to do anything for anyone so that was my err and struggle to solve.

I secretly pined for years, dreaming of someone throwing me a surprise party or making me breakfast in bed... someone to host a hootenanny in my honor. Is that too much to ask? My expectations seemed to grow alongside my disappointment so I believe even had I been the guest of honor at a hootenanny, I am not sure I would've been able to see it because my past was clouding my view. And then when I turned 40, something shifted in me. I found myself thinking, why not celebrate yourself?! I mean 40 is a milestone that most women DREAD but I didn't. Of course I was hoping for a birthday party and when that didn't happen, this wave of self swept over me. I decided to take my power back and stop this perpetual pity party because THAT wasn't the type of party this girl likes to be the center of.

I found myself buying myself flowers and cake for no reason other than because I like chocolate cake. I was not at the mercy of anyone else and I let go of the hurt, resentment and expectations that no one could possibly ever live up to because all of that was coming from this wounded little girl within that had never been acknowledged. Until now that is.

The ways I decided to best celebrate myself were to heal myself. I had carried so much baggage and pain around with me for YEARS and it was spilling all over everyone I loved. I decided to go to therapy, I also developed a meditation and journaling practice and I went back to school to become what I really wanted to become, a counselor for women. Celebrating yourself is honoring yourself. As I get older, I need less confetti and more compassion, although I do secretly hope that one day there will be some event in my honor which will include a confetti bomb. What can I say, I LOVE confetti!

If this all sounds self absorbed I'm here to tell you, it is, but in the best way. Everyone has a need to be seen and to feel they matter. That's what all of this comes down to. I wanted to matter, to someone. So I decided that someone needed to be myself first. I don't write this to drag anyone through the mud; especially my parents as things were so different back then. They had their own issues that diluted how they could show up for me. I see that now because I have made parenting mistakes that weren't from a place of malice but because I hadn't dealt with my own issues.

I challenge women far and wide to celebrate yourselves too. We are so socialized to think that doing for ourselves is selfish when I am here to shout it's actually an act of love. How can you celebrate yourself? It's unique to every woman but the one method I would implore everyone to try is healing old wounds. I know I know that doesn't sound like a fun celebration but is it fun dragging barrels of bitterness around? Healing is liberating and once you get to the other side of the mess, THAT will be your celebration. That feeling is unlike any other in the world. You'll soar my friends, and I'm here for it. I want that so much for all of you too.

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