Nourish relationships and self-care

Empathy works. It always does.

Giving to others by celebrating your own life

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I had my birthday last week.

I carry pain around my birthdays. Not getting the presents I want. Having anxiety that I am not popular enough. Fearing that no one will like my parties. Things like that. It all boils down to the thought that my birthday is a litmus test of how much I am loved, how much I matter. And in the comparison with others I have often felt ashamed, thinking I am indeed not popular, not worthy enough. Dan Greenburg suggests “that if readers have a sincere desire to make life miserable for themselves, they might learn to compare themselves to other people” (Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication, a Language of Life, p. 18). I have found that absolutely true for me.

Image courtesy to David Nayer

This year was no different, especially since I turned 50, so the thought that I should throw myself a BIG party with many, many people showing up was even stronger.

As anxiety arose, conflict increased, till I finally decided to take off the day before my birthday and focus on self-care.

It was the best thing I could have done for myself. After receiving empathy, listening to my heart’s desire, and nurturing my own needs, I felt peaceful going to bed, thinking “What can I give to others?”. This was a shift from “What should others give to me?” It was too late to make presents, even cards, so I let the question go, just appreciating the shift and this new intention.

I woke up delighted with my life and my birthday. I put on my new dress, an orange crown, and indulged in the phone calls, emails, messages, cards, and friends showing up. I had a big smile on my face all day. It turned out that the biggest gift I could give others was my joy, and my celebration of life, especially my own. And in giving to others, I gave to myself.


You want help to share your delight about your life with others? Contact me for a free, discovery session. I would be delighted to help, 512-589-0482.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping professionals schedule time for relationships and self-care. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

2 thoughts on “Giving to others by celebrating your own life

  1. Happy Birthday, glad you celebrated your life…..such blessing.

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