Birthday self-love?

Why do we celebrate birthdays?

Why do you celebrate your birthday?

To celebrate the auspicious moment in time when your presence graced this Earth? When your family’s “awesome rating” went up because you were a part of them? I used to joke about that when I was younger. I still do, and probably will continue to. But if anyone were to ask me now, I’d say I couldn’t care less about my birthday (or birthdays in general).

Celebrating the day of one’s birth is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard of.

Today is my birthday, but I don’t want to celebrate the fact that it’s been x number of years since I was born. Today I want to try to celebrate who I am, who I’ve become, what I’m doing. I want to recognize, internally, my struggles, my goals, my achievements, my ambitions and my plans for the future.

I don’t need to celebrate the day I was born.

I had nothing to do with this (shout out to my parents!). I should be celebrating something that I have to do with. I should be celebrating my contribution to this world.

I don’t need birthday cakes and candles.

Sentimentally, they’re great. I still do a cake with candles every year with my family. Is it nice? Yes. Do I need to? No. It’s symbolic as a year-marker just like any other 365-day period starting on any other date. But is it symbolic as a year-marker of 365 days of working towards something? 365 days of being closer to accomplishing your goals? Only you can be honest with yourself about that.

I don’t need to party, go clubbing, or get drunk.

This will make me more of a liability than an asset/contribution. If people want to go out, party, get drunk… by all means… do it. But don’t do it to escape the reality of your world if it’s something you’re not happy with. Make changes (can’t be done while inebriated). Go to an alternate reality knowingly. Don’t try to escape your duties. (Sorry, I know I sound like a party pooper but #PartyOn anyway).

I don’t need to spend money on designer clothing and accessories for “self love.”

No.

Not a mani-pedi, not a day of shopping. No amount of material spoiling can truly get you the happiness you all deserve to feel.

Indulge in the immaterial pleasures of life. THAT is self love.

Travel. Spend money on new experiences. It builds character. THAT is self love.

Share your time with your friends and family, surround yourself with people that love you. You owe that much to yourself. THAT is self love.

Focus on your body, your health, your peace of mind, your career. Focus on you. A better, healthier, more capable you can make bigger and more meaningful contributions to your family, your community, and the world at large. Ensure you’re in tip top mental/physical/emotional condition to do good for yourself and others. THAT is self love.

Self love is loving the person you are, believing in yourself, and promising yourself that you won’t give up on your dreams.

With that in mind, today, I will be re-committing to focusing on my life, my career path, myself, and my loved ones. I will do good things for my family and for my community. I will use this “new year, new chapter of life” type of moment to remind myself of my goals, and make more measurable and clear plans to achieve them. I will strive to make as positive a contribution I can.

So my challenge to you: on your next birthday, among other well-deserved festivities, take a moment aside to think about what you’re really celebrating. Celebrate your goals, and your ambitions, and your contributions to the community. Give back. And you will be ever so thankful to yourself for it.

Oh, and happy birthday to me.

Yours Truly, AJ

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