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.
Last Saturday I wrote how humor can help us take our own desires a bit more lightly, and allow us to relieve some of the shame and embarrassment around our feelings and wants. “Yep, I want to do a striptease, that’s just my thing. Haha”. Not to make fun of ourselves, but to invite ourselves to accept our own desires for what they are: just desires, not a reflection of our self-worth. Humor can help us befriend ourselves.
Rick Hanson talks about befriending yourself as a key ingredient of self-care. Being on your own side. Accepting yourself. Taking a stance for who and how you are, with all your desires, however you feel about having them. He offers an exercise to deepen your friendship with yourself. This is my summary:
- Sit in a comfortable position, and connect to your breath as it flows through you. A quiet, private space can help you focus and feel safe.
- Think of a moment, a situation where you really took a stand for someone, listened with an open heart, supported with care and compassion, protected them from harm, encouraged them to grow into their best selves, helped them heal and grief. A moment where you really took someone’s side and supported them wholeheartedly.
- What did you do? What did you say? How did you feel? Which needs were met? Which values were alive? Connect to yourself, while you put your hand on that part of your body where this experience resonates, to reinforce the neural pathways of what being a friend means to you. Breathe in all the positive feelings, all the needs met. Take your time to fully connect to this experience of taking a stand.
- Now extend this experience of friendship to yourself. Imagine you befriending yourself in the same profound way. What does that look like, how does your life change, if you take a stand for yourself each and every day? Reflect on this, and ACT on it! Throughout this day. Throughout tomorrow. Throughout all days. So that your friendship with yourself grows strong and helps you show up for who you truly are.
You want help to befriend yourself? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a free, discovery session.