We just celebrated Mother’s Day and next month will celebrate Father’s Day. We have Grandparent’s Day, Boss’s Day, Administrative Assistant’s Day and a plethora of other national days to acknowledge people who have impacted our lives.
To be clear, I am not saying we shouldn’t honor our parents or others who are important people in our lives. But at the risk of sounding narcissistic, what about celebrating who we are and how far we have come?
I’m calling for a national Celebrate Who We Are day.
A few years ago I stopped for gas on Mother’s Day and the cashier gave me two paper tulips, wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. I was so touched by that gesture. I certainly have the nurturing gene as I nurture my land, my dogs, my friends and sometimes complete strangers.
But since I do not have any of my own children, I have never before been acknowledged that way in public for being a mother.
It started me thinking: why shouldn’t we celebrate how far we have come in our lives? How many people have experienced radical life changes with an unexpected financial, physical or emotional challenge?
And yet, they have had the courage, the strength to put one foot in front of the other every day.
Often their casual acquaintances, their work peers are never aware of the struggles going on in their personal lives. I’ve reminded myself of this when someone in the office is being particularly difficult; that I have no idea what they are dealing with at home.
I have friends who struggle every day with chronic pain or with stretching their paychecks to pay all of the bills. How many people do you know who are single parents, students or entrepreneurs who by themselves are trying to build a better life? How many people do you know who are caretakers, who give so much of themselves to others out of love or dedication?
Life coaches tell us to honor ourselves, to love ourselves first; that this is necessary before we can truly love others.
I was raised to be humble; that any amount of self-celebration was narcissistic. So when a friend of mine cancelled her wedding but still had the reception, I was so impressed. It was too late to cancel the reservations, so she asked all of her friends to still come and party with her. She walked in wearing a beautiful gown with a feather boa around her neck. She danced and read poetry. Friends toasted her life, ate a delicious meal and had a wonderful time. Now that’s celebrating your life with grace!
What if we all took this approach with a day to self-nurture, to celebrate how far we have come in our lives? I know that we have all made mistakes or taken unexpected detours. But haven’t we learned from them? And haven’t we still shown up even on those days we wanted to stay in bed with the covers over our heads?
Life isn’t always easy. It often takes strength, resolve and courage to take the next step.
We don’t always have someone there to give us a hug when we need it, to wipe that tear from our eyes or to dismiss the self-doubt that creeps into our minds after we’ve made a decision. But even without that, we have continued to move forward.
It’s time we took a day to pat each other on the back for just showing up, for taking that next step. Honor each other for the quiet strength we exhibit every day. Allow ourselves to be proud of how far we’ve come and for continuing to dream, in spite of set-backs or unforeseen challenges.
Today, for me, is Celebrate Who I Am Day.
For I know deep down that I have made a difference in people’s lives and that I have the strength to keep moving forward. But today is just for me, to be still, to dance, to act crazy, to do whatever I want to do. I deserve it. I earned it. And so have you.
When will you celebrate Who You Are day?
Author: Celine Koropchak
Editor: Renee Picard
Photo: amanda tipton at Flickr