Today is the first of July. This also happens to be the month in which I was born. One of the things I have learned from the love of my life is that it is ok to celebrate this occasion all month long. As she informs me, “It is not your birthday it is your birth month” I am not sure how she came up with this and I do confess to have found it rather silly to begin with. Like many things she has brought into my life, upon further inspection I have come to see the great gift in this. We spend 11 months of the year sacrificing our health, our time and our well-being for others, for our work, for our world in general. We should, at the very least, take one month of the year to celebrate and focus on ourselves. It is a great recharge and recalibration of life. Discovering and being reminded of the gifts we bring to the world is not only important for the way we live our lives, but would certainly take more than a day. So I say, celebrate your birth month!
Michael Beckwith, one of my favorite mentors, encourages us to ask ourselves what we can celebrate everyday. Can you imagine if everyday of your life was a celebration? It really can, and should be! There is so much in our lives that we can be grateful for we really have a reason to celebrate everyday. Even if you are short of reasons to celebrate, just look up holiday on ____ and put today’s date in the blank. There are holidays everyday of the year. July 1st, for example, is National Postal worker day. That is a double for me. It is my birth month and I am a postal worker! It is also National gingersnap day, National creative ice cream flavor day, and for my friends north of the border, today is also Canada day. What fun ways could you celebrate all of those? Imagine doing this daily? Life would be one continuous celebration!
Back to the birth month idea. Imagine if you could come up with 30, or in the case of my birth month 31, ways in which to celebrate yourself? How good would you feel about yourself at the end of the month? How might that good feeling impact the way you interact with the world? I can assure you that a confident and happy Neil interacts with the world a lot better than a self-conscious and doubtful Neil. For my friends that are a bit too humble to dive into this right away, their are still ways to celebrate. Celebrate all of the ways you make others happy. Celebrate the ways in which you make a good spouse. Celebrate ways in which you can bring your gifts to benefit the world. Celebrating yourself does not have to be an exercise in ego, but taking a break from focusing on your faults and starting to focus on your finer attributes. You may discover this feels so good that you decide to do it more often.
It is true there can be a great deal of growth and self-improvement by studying our faults. There is, however, a totally different kind of growth that can be had by focusing on our gifts and talents. Developing them can leave us not only feeling happier and more fulfilled, but increase the way in which we can contribute to the world. Another great thing to keep in mind for our more humble-minded friends. This month of self-celebration can result in us being able to better share our gifts with the world or at the very least show up as a happier, more self-confident version of ourselves. Can you think of 30 or 31 ways in which to celebrate the awesome person you are? I believe you can and you should!
Let us all decide to use our birth month to our advantage. What if July is not the month you were born in? It’s ok, I give you permission to borrow mine. Plus, let’s face it, you haven’t celebrated a birth month up to this point, you deserve a bonus one this year. Starting today, think of one way a day to celebrate how you are awesome. It may seem like a challenge at first, but it can be fun as you get used to it. If you want to be really brave, share this experiment with others. Get you spouse or your coworkers involved. Encourage them to celebrate themselves everyday for a month. Offer ways in which you think they are amazing and ask them the same about you. Share your celebration with those you care about. Celebrate them as they celebrate you. It will end up with both of you feeling better about each other and yourselves. I encourage you to do this with everyone in your life. Can you imagine how good your friend will feel if everyday in their birth month you text them something you admire about them? Imagine the great work this could do in your intimate relationship? Celebrate my friends. Please leave both the ways you are celebrating yourself and what you are celebrating in the comments below.