“Gosh, how do we celebrate ourselves without feeling vain? I don’t have a partner who can organize a birthday party or congratulate me on an accomplishment, but doing it for myself feels very… wrong and selfish somehow. Probably some bad thinking in that, but also feeling stuck on how to not feel lesser for being single in this aspect.”
If I had a nickel for every time I felt weird about organizing a celebration for myself, I’d have many-a nickel. Even though I love hosting and celebrating, it can feel like all the things this person listed. Vain. Selfish. Wrong.
Mayhaps the Christian idea that we shouldn’t be self-focused drives these feelings. At the same time, if we want to acknowledge something important in our lives, we can’t rely on others to read our minds. For singles in particular, this can lead to an awkward dilemma. Do it ourselves and deal with the uncomfortable feelings that go along with it. Or ask a friend to do it for us and deal with feeling like a burden.
Underneath this desire to celebrate and mark milestones can be a desire to be seen and feel connected. However, as Anna Broadway writes, “For many singles, celebrations year-round can resurrect a similar pang: the sense that most of life’s important milestones require a relationship to which they don’t have access.”
I’m pretty passionate about singles learning to celebrate their lives in little and large ways. Honestly, I think everyone should do it regardless of relationship status. At the same time, it’s easier to follow through on celebrations when we have the encouragement of those around us. Many of our friends probably want to celebrate with us, just as we want to do the same.
Celebrations help us tie a particular moment with a strong memory. They make it easier to remember and appreciate. They are an opportunity to recognize the amount of time and effort we put into something. Celebrations help us see one another. They invite us to pay attention to what’s important to the people in our lives.
If you’re interested in learning to celebrate yourself more, it’s been helpful for me to start small. What do you love and whom would you like to invite to join you? If you like hosting, can you have a couple of safe friends over and toast whatever you’d like to celebrate? If you like being outdoors, can you invite a few friends to go on a hike and take a moment at the summit to express gratitude for your friends and whatever you’re celebrating?
It will feel uncomfortable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing something wrong. It’s just new.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think! What feels doable to you?
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