This year, for the first time since I was sixteen, I threw myself a birthday party. Now, just to put things in perspective, let me say that at my sixteenth birthday party, we danced in the high school gym to the album my parents gave me, Roy Orbison’s Crying. As you can see, it’s been a while.
One of the things I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is the importance of celebrating myself. So this party was my gift to me, with lots of help from my family. We all gathered in a big, beautiful house on a hill outside Wimberley. Friday night, my actual birthday, we dined with our friends, Joe Vitale and Nerissa Oden. Then on Saturday, more friends and family came to spend the day with us. Saturday night we stayed up late visiting and playing games. There was wonderful company, delicious food, and lots of gifts. One of the couples who are our closest friends, Tom Pauley and his wife, Diane, flew from California to spend a week with us, just to share the festivities.
As is always the case in life, my decision sent out ripples to the Universe, which responded by bringing me more and more wonderful birthday gifts. I’m still receiving presents, and being dined and feted by friends. When I was younger, it would have been a challenge for me to receive all this, because I was much more comfortable giving. Perhaps that’s because when we’re giving, we feel in control. Or perhaps it’s because my sense of worthiness was less in those earlier years.
For many of us, giving to ourselves is difficult. Many of us women are much more comfortable giving to our children, and our husbands or lovers – even to our friends. And many men believe their worth lies in working hard to support their families, and somehow taking care of themselves must come in a distant second.
Of course, we all know women and men who are always buying things for themselves, and people who usually put themselves first, before the interests of the people around them. But often that behavior comes from a darker, sadder place. Often those people are secretly angry or resentful, feeling they’ve never gotten “enough.” Sometimes they haven’t matured enough to establish real grownup priorities.
My birthday gift to myself was – and continues to be – a decision to honor myself. I am choosing now to recognize myself as a beautiful person, worthy of love and of self-love, deserving of all good things. I’ve evolved to this place slowly over time, but it feels wonderful to be here.
If you are also in a place of loving and celebrating yourself, congratulations! And if you’re still in process, I invite you to join me. Come on over. It feels good – and you deserve it!