Summer is festival season. That means it’s time to celebrate!
During festival season no matter your interests or tastes, there is something for everyone:
from visual to performing arts,
bacon wrapped chicken to Thai watermelon soup,
pinot noir to craft beer,
street performers to Shakespeare,
vintage cars to dragon boats,
classical to rock music and everything in between.
Festivals allow and encourage us to embrace uniqueness and diversity. The world would be a pretty boring place if vanilla was the only flavor of ice cream.
While we are all happy to participate in the celebration of just about anything, there’s one festival we often skip.
The Festival of You.
When was the last time you took a minute to stop and appreciate yourself?
Probably it wasn’t any time recently. And if it was, it was likely a passing thought. There are a few reasons that most of us don’t take the opportunity to celebrate ourselves.
First, as soon as we start thinking about singing our praises, even just to ourselves, our inner committee calls an emergency meeting to shut it down. We label it as ego, or selfish, or boastful. We were taught that it’s not nice to brag on ourselves. We minimize our efforts and accomplishments.
Secondly, we are more likely to focus our failures, rather than our successes. We think about what’s not working in our lives instead of what is. By focusing on the negative we highlight in our heads all the things we don’t like about ourselves.
Lastly, when we are successful, we tend to move from one accomplishment or goal to the next without a pause. We don’t stop to consider what contributed to our success or what our role was in achieving our goal. We just head off in pursuit of the next thing.
Why is it important to celebrate yourself?
When we stop long enough to celebrate our successes, we begin to understand what actually makes us successful as individuals. It’s not the same for everyone. When you know what works for you, you can replicate it in other areas. That in turn builds confidence which lets us stretch our comfort zone a bit further.When we stop long enough to celebrate our successes, we begin to understand what actually makes us successful as individuals. Click To Tweet
Most importantly we begin to shift from celebrating not just our accomplishments, but also who we are. Yes goals and accomplishments are wonderful. But they are not as wonderful as the unique set of qualities, skills and talents that make you who you are. When we acknowledge our uniqueness, we can more fully share it with the world. That’s the key.
So this summer, have a festival of you.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Make a list of 50 things you do well. Go back in time as far as you need. The focus is not only on big successes but to remind yourself of your ability to succeed.
- Pause at the end of the day and ask yourself: What was my success today? Remember successes come in all shapes and sizes. It’s not just what you did, but also the qualities you brought to the task.
- Start a “Festival of Me” journal. Collect photos, thoughts, mementos that celebrate who you are.
- Treat your body well. Your physical being is the container that holds the essence of your spirit. Show it respect.
- Embrace failure. Instead of thinking that it is a negative thing, consider it as a personal growth opportunity. Mistakes invite us learn more about ourselves. Go ahead and celebrate the oops and oh-oh’s of life.
Remember that we are all in the habit of defining ourselves mostly by what we do. Begin to appreciate not only your accomplishments, but also who you are. Try this:
- Make a list of 50 of your most wonderful qualities. If you are stuck, phone a friend.
- At the end of each day ask yourself how well you honored your values. On any day, if you find that there is a gap between what you say is important and how you show up in the world, tomorrow is always another chance to narrow the gap.
In the end how you show up along life’s journey outweighs any destination you might reach. That’s definitely worth celebrating.