The holidays signal a time of celebration – a time when we gather with family and friends, when we share in life’s blessings and each other’s company. And, as I spent time with my family over Christmas, as I took part in various holiday traditions, I questioned if we really need a holiday or calendar designated observance in order to don our party hats? As it turns out, the overwhelming response from religious, medical, scientific and spiritual communities is no.
When you celebrate something, you signal to your subconscious – and inner critic – that you are thankful for the progress you are making toward your goals, for what you have done and for where you are in this moment. Most importantly, the act of celebrating allows you to stay in the flow of joy and expansion, the voice that says, Look at all I have accomplished.
For most of us, it’s easy to celebrate for the “legitimate” reasons: a birthday, winning an award, an anniversary, a holiday, the completion of a project, or some other special occasion. It’s easy to celebrate something or someone when it’s “justifiable”. But, how often, even in those “legitimate” and “justifiable” moments do you allow yourself to celebrate you?
If you’re anything like me, it’s a rarity. I’m the first to beat myself up when something isn’t up to par, but when I do something well, I don’t acknowledge it or allow myself to feel the satisfaction of what I have accomplished. While I enjoy celebrating and finding reasons to celebrate those around me, I find it extremely challenging to celebrate myself – and I tell myself I have plenty of “reasons” why I can’t celebrate me or my accomplishments:
I tell myself that I don’t have time to celebrate myself because I have more work that needs to be done.
I tell myself I’m not “there” yet so I shouldn’t celebrate this “here”.
I think if I celebrate myself or my accomplishments, people will think I’m obnoxious, conceited or full of myself.
And, I tell myself, someone else should be celebrating me and my accomplishments – that their act of celebrating validates my achievement and my worth.
Can you relate?
The problem with this story is that when we withhold recognition from ourselves, when we neglect to acknowledge and celebrate what deserves recognition, we run the risk of taking things for granted and minimizing how powerful we are in creating our destiny. Instead, we inadvertently trap ourselves in a consciousness of lack and struggle, one that tells us life is hard and full of struggles – one that has us questioning why the job, the relationship, the whatever we want still hasn’t shown up yet.
Celebration deserves recognition and giving acknowledgement to those achievements, no matter how big or small, is neither indulgent nor narcistic. In fact, acknowledging and celebrating our wins is necessary to propel us forward because doing so registers in our subconscious all the good things we have done – not just what we have failed to do.
While it might seem counterintuitive, celebrating for no reason – or simply celebrating for any reason, even when things are hard – can literally transform our experience of being alive.
This week, as I take a pause to celebrate and reflect over 2017, I’m acknowledging how amazing it was to step into my role as Studio Manager for the LifeTime Fitness in Fort Washington. I’m celebrating the fact that this career move enabled me to become financially independent and to move out on my own. I’m celebrating the leaps I’ve taken with my heart. I’m celebrating presenting Warrior Sculpt for Be Well Philly on the rooftop of the Hotel Monaco, something that has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I’m celebrating raising a kind and empathetic child. And, I’m celebrating the difference and impact I make in people lives on a daily basis.
Most importantly, I’m acknowledging and celebrating something that is a HUGE career accomplishment for me (even the fact that I’m tell you is huge!).
Last month, I found out that I was ranked 16 for performance at LifeTime Fitness. Nationally, out of all the performers teaching classes, I am 16 – and, the only person in my region to be in the top rankings.
This. Is. Huge.
And for over a month I didn’t say anything except to a few close friends and colleagues. I allowed myself to be small because I thought if it really was such a big accomplishment, someone would make a big deal about it, right? I knew that artistry and this ranking was paramount at LifeTime, but I had convinced myself that it somehow didn’t mean much because it wasn’t being outwardly shared with others from the people I thought should share it. I had seen plenty of outward displays of celebration but since mine was not one of them, I told myself what I had done wasn’t enough.
As I reflected on 2017 and compiled my list of “wins”, it occurred to me that 16 wasn’t on the list. But it wasn’t until a dear friend gave me a bracelet with the engraved words, “I am enough” that it hit me: I was leaving this accomplishment off my list because this number meant I AM enough.
16 was an irrefutable fact. My ranking was earned. Not given. There was no politics or hidden agendas. There was simply my efforts and talents. In a year’s time, I had proven my abilities in this company and no one could take that away from me. And I was afraid to acknowledge it because I was still afraid to step into my absolute worth. I was still waiting for someone to validate my worth and tell me, Hey, now you are enough. Look what you’ve done. Well, not anymore.
No more waiting for someone else to celebrate. No more shrinking myself because I don’t feel enough of whatever yet. No more proving or trying to get something.
Celebration reminds us of our true magic and power and this whole experience taught me that celebration doesn’t have to be an after the fact phenomenon. Celebration can be a way of life, one that continually inspires us and propels us forward. This week, I’m celebrating this realization, all that I’ve accomplished in 2017 and most notable, my ranking of 16.
This week, I invite you to ask yourself:
What did I achieve in 2017 that shows I’m on track toward my deeper purpose?
What have I learned during the last year that will help me move forward toward my goals?
Regardless of what’s going on in your life right now, there is always something to celebrate and be grateful for. We don’t have to wait until we close the deal, win the game, finish the project or fall in love – and we sure as hell don’t have to wait for anyone else to celebrate all the good we’re up to.
So, what are you celebrating this week?