The Art of Celebrating

The Art of Celebrating

As we start into a new year, I already have a list of all that I want to accomplish. Projects I want to realise and things I want to experience. And although they are all things that I want to do, the sheer volume of them overwhelms me at times. I could easily start into my year, frantically trying to get off to the best start and immerse myself in my to-do-list. I have learned that this is not a recipe for a year filled with joy.

Before getting into the mountain of projects, I know it’s important to take time to look back at the year that has just ended. To take in all that I accomplished, experienced and realised in 2018. Yes, I’m keen to keep moving and doing, but if I don’t take the time to acknowledge and celebrate then what is it all for?

I know that for me, I have a tendency to feel a sense of urgency to keep doing. There is a definite impatience. Celebration? Why would I take time for that? I just want to get on and keep doing. But what I have come to realise is that I miss out on the feelings of relief in being done with something. I miss out on feeling pride in something I invested my time and energy into. I miss out on joy. Rather than soaking up all these pleasant feelings so they can fuel me for what comes next, I push them aside and plunge back into feeling restless, determined, slightly anxious, impatient...

I’ve reflected on this quite a bit and I’ve a good sense of where this comes from. Part of it is definitely a hidden belief I have that I need to prove myself by doing and producing a lot. I also know that both of my parents also don’t take time to celebrate or pause in between things. Actually, they even minimise the things they do and make it seem like it’s no big deal. Not even worth mentioning or talking about.

The natural feeling we have when we accomplish something meaningful that we have invested ourselves in, is pride. But pride has a mixed reputation and is often thought of as boasting or showing off. So people sometimes go the other extreme and don’t mention or celebrate their successes at all. That’s my parents. And yes, I might have picked up some of that too.

So yes, for me and I know for many others, it requires a conscious effort to shift our natural way of behaving. Thankfully our brain is able to adapt and change as a result of Neuroplasticity (as explored in this blog: Can people really change?). The first step is to be aware of this pattern. Then we can do what it takes to break out of it and create a new and improved pattern.

What I did this year, was to write down all the things that were important and meaningful to me in 2018. As a family we went around the table and shared the three highlights of our year with each other. Mine were (1) getting married and having a magical wedding, (2) finishing my Masters in Applied Positive Psychology with distinction and (3) restructuring my business so it makes my life easier and I can focus on creating more value. We clapped and toasted to all of it, acknowledging each of us and what we had experienced in 2018.

I think this will be a new ritual for the family and I like it. At the same time, it’s also important to acknowledge and celebrate things along the way. That’s something I’m still working on. The other day, I received the newly designed Feeling Magnets. Dave wanted to take me out for a glass of champagne to celebrate. He know’s this is something for me to work on and is very supportive. I couldn’t wait to go get a class of champagne so we did a happy dance in the living room instead. I also see this with some of the children I work with… they manage to do something they couldn’t previously do and they just want to move on to the next thing. That’s when I pause the session and we find a way to celebrate their win - with a high five, a happy dance (as you might notice, this is my favourite) or something they come up with.

What about you and your loved ones? Do you acknowledge your successes? Do you pause to celebrate them? I’d love to hear how you celebrate… I’m always looking for ideas, especially those that don’t cost anything and can be done on the spot - anytime and anywhere.