As 2018 heads into its final days, here at Fresh Air Fridays we have been creating space for celebration.
At this time of year there is often a pull for us to make changes and “fix” the things that we may perceive are “wrong” in our lives. When we celebrate our successes, we can embrace our greatness. This does not mean ignoring areas where we could develop ourselves further, but it is more about looking at the glass being half full rather than half empty.
This year I have taken the time to think back on 2018 and identify my highlights. I noticed that I’m proud of personal achievements, and the more I looked the more I found. Satisfaction about challenging myself, being brave, pushing my comfort zone and remaining strong against the pressure of conforming to societal expectations. For me those things are huge, and a cause for celebration. I may well have missed that without the permission to enjoy my own awesomeness.
Being clearer on our successes results in a more positive and realistic mindset from which we can create newly. I’m not against making resolutions at New Year but could we be missing a vital step here. Surely we need to celebrate our successes first.
My 3 and 5-year old children revel in their successes daily. Seemingly simple little things are cause for celebration; a picture, reading a new word, swinging that bit further on the monkey bars, or doing something independently for the first time. They find such joy in their own fabulousness. It reminds me of when I was a kid. I’d just learnt to do a summersault on the bar and was desperate for my parents to watch me. I can still taste that bitter disappointment when they missed it and the thrill of excitement when they saw me do it. It wasn’t enough for me to achieve it for myself, I wanted those people whom I loved and respected most to share my triumph.
When do adults lose that ability to revel in our own awesomeness? When do we stop allowing ourselves to be acknowledged for how amazing we are? Perhaps more importantly how can we reestablish delighting in our own brilliance? Maybe children have the answer. Kids live largely in the present moment and are often single channeled when attempting tasks. They are also uninhibited and persistent in wanting their amazingness to be noticed. Maybe we could invite a little more of those childlike qualities into our adult personas.
The first time we achieve something new it’s a big deal, like starting a new job or passing a driving test. That mix of nerves and excitement, those feelings of pride and self-satisfaction tend to fade with familiarity. It’s normal to absorb our achievements, and for things that once seemed impossible to become routine. This makes celebrating our successes even more important. If we’re constantly moving on to the next thing before acknowledging what we’ve just achieved, we’re snatching victory from ourselves. So, lets give ourselves permission to taste success, share it and enjoy it!
The beauty of all this is that we don’t have to wait until 1st January to celebrate our achievements or create new goals. Realising we can start afresh at any point in the year is hugely liberating. It also presents opportunities to set smaller, more achievable intentions and review them within discrete time frames. We can create goals that work and fit with us and with what we want to achieve.
Of course, nobody has to set goals. Undeniably, some of us (myself included at times) might be quite resistant to them, but it is helpful to have a bit of a plan, no matter how vague. The truth is that every choice, action and reaction we have shapes our lives. It happens whether we notice it or not. The secret is to bring some awareness to this. Only then can we consciously and powerfully create a life for ourselves, a life that we both want and love.
A playful reflection of this year is something I’m going to share with my nearest and dearest during the festive time. Perhaps whilst on a wintry walk or curled up warm and cosy in the evening. So, my invitation to you this New Year is to identify your own 2018 highlights. What are you proud of? What do you want to be acknowledged for? Then take a moment to celebrate those triumphs and share them with the people who matter most to you. Really allow yourself to feel, acknowledge and remember just how awesome you are!
Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.James Baldwin