Celebration is a BIGGIE for me. A NEW Frontier if you like. I struggle to celebrate. To celebrate even my birthday, takes effort. I won't lie, my conditioning is STRONG. My habit is to focus on the next goal and to analyse what went wrong along the path to the last goal. If you have your own resident Inner Critic lodged in your brain, you know what I am talking about.
Intellectually, I’ve always known that this was unhealthy. Intellectually, I understood that the brain, for all its magnificence, is primarily a maintenance and risk management machine, and therefore is inclined to focus on what's gone wrong rather than what gone right, let alone focus on what's gone brilliantly.
Intellectually I’ve always understood that this results in our brains being steeped in a brew of chemicals that is more stress and anxiety inducing than it is happiness and joy enabling.
In 2020, and as part of my own Self-Love journey, I elected to make celebration a welcome part of my life.
Phew!!!! What a learning curve!
I am still faithing it till I make it, but I am committed to keeping steady on this journey until I am an aficionado at celebration.
In the meantime, I make a deliberate effort. Sometimes I don't win with the word 'Celebrate'. I swap it out with
Appreciative of; etc
Whatever your objections to celebrations, you're probably overcomplicating things. Celebration does not have to be an expensive, over-the-top affair. A simple fist pump or an impromptu happy dance may be enough ... to get you started ... but get started! Make sure that you're making space to notice and to commemorate the good things in your life.
Here are a few reasons why I have made celebration a part of my routine:
1: It’s a Self-Love potion and It’s marvellous for your Self-Esteem
Self-love is not something that exists mysteriously just because you pulled a particular gene straw.
It is a relationship you create with yourself.
In other words, it’s about how you relate to YOU.
If you were to design the ultimate loving, esteeming, supportive relationship between yourself and someone else, what would the elements of that relationship be?
How would you want that person relating to you, and to your accomplishments?
Would you want that person to bully and demoralise you by focusing only on your failures and what you could do better?
Wouldn't you want this person to be your cheerleader? To believe in you even when you falter in your belief in yourself?
I know I would.
I also know that sometimes we make it difficult for our loved ones to celebrate and cherish us. Perhaps that's the biggest clue that we need to up our Self-Love Game. When we make the goodness that others offer us unwelcome in our lives, not only do we deny ourselves their adoration, but we also disappoint and hurt them in the process.
So, if you're intent on cultivating a Self-Loving relationship with yourself, treat yourself as you would treat someone you adore and are proud of. If nothing else, just start by making it a wee bit easier for those who do cheer you to actually cheer you!
Even if you take the teeny-tiniest of baby steps, start making celebration welcome in your life. Over time, it will get easier and you will start enjoying it.
What I am noticing is that with each little celebration, I'm enjoying being me just a little bit more. In my book, that makes the occasional discomfort of celebration totally worth it!
2: Learning and Adaptation
Celebration allows you to reflect on what's working and why, and how you can replicate it in other pursuits, goals and aspects of your life.
In other words, celebration allows you to multiply the benefits of your wins.
3: Developing a Success Belief System
Whatever we want to change, achieve or have more of in your life, success lies at the heart of it.
A large part of success is your state of mind, i.e., a success mindset.
Your success mindset requires Deliberate, Constant Cultivation.
Mindfulness techniques like journaling, affirmations and visualisation are well documented as being powerful practices for cultivating a success mindset. Less celebrated as a potent practice for cultivating a success mindset is the practice of Celebrating.
Train yourself to focus on what you’ve accomplished, rather than a long overwhelming list of what you’ve still got to do. Celebrate EVERY success, to cultivate your success mindset and make it a part of your belief system and self-esteem. Make it part of Believing in Your Enoughness.
When you do this, you amp up your self-esteem. By definition, having a healthy self-esteem implies that you experience yourself as successful and competent, and that your accomplishments nurture positive feelings about yourself. When what you accomplish facilitates good feelings about yourself, you reinforce what you value and you can see it flourish in your life. Celebration compounds this goodness even more and reinforces your values even more. After all, would you want to celebrate an accomplishment that makes you feel like crap?
Bake a cake? Cook a meal? Lost a kilo? Ran a Kilometre? Saved a few rand? Beat a habit? Landed a client? Got an affirming performance review? Make someone smile? Cross something stubborn off your to do list? Figure something out?
4: Positive Motivation
We are always in a state of Motivation.
When our troll brain runs the show, we tend toward risk-aversion and low/demotivation. If you’re feeling blah often, you have probably missed the opportunity to celebrate your wins and life is feeling drab.
By focusing on your accomplishments, you give yourself as many opportunities to be as successful as you can because you train yourself to operate from a place of motivation and confidence rather than from a place of demotivation and low self-esteem.
Either way, there will be a compound-effect. Make it work for you!
5: Feeling Great About Yourself
Need I say more? You're celebrating yourself! Maybe it can feel a bit awkward, but somewhere deep within the embers of pride burn. These embers stoke your motivation and propel you to further growth. It's also good to bank this feel-good feeling. There will be dark days. These feel-good moments are important for your resilience and the face of challenges.
6: Happy chemicals
When you celebrate you give yourself boosts of happy hormones. Chemical and neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are not only good for your mental and emotional wellbeing. They're pretty important to your overall immunity, and to resisting countless illnesses throughout your life.
7: Sharing Success
Be celebrating, you allow others to participate in your success and to be inspired by it.
You literally give others a peek into what is possible for them. We all need role models and unfortunately, there are insufficient role models in the world that lead us past our perceived limitations.
It may not feel that way, but by celebrating, we offer others real opportunities for growth.
So, there you have it. As awkward as it may be from time to time, celebrate because it is good. Celebrate because it is good for your self-esteem, your health and your well-being. Celebrate because it is good for your environment. Success is infectious, and you have no idea who or how many people around you are ready to catch the success bug from you.
Celebrate! Life's too short not to.