I do not mean that every day I deserve to be spoiled by others, given presents and surprises, to be taken out, wined and dined. No, that would mean that my birthday would lose its significance and meaning entirely. What occurred to me was that as I was planning what to do for myself, what nice thing I could do as a special treat, I realised that I did not need to wait for the advent of this one single day of the year to dawn before doing so. I realised that it would in fact be better to treat myself every single day of the year, as if my birthday occurred every day. What I saw was not a matter of self-indulgence but rather I saw a question of love, and in particular, the love of self.
It sounds a little bit strange doesn't it? Love of self. We are very accustomed to love being an external emotion, flowing outwards and away from us, towards the object of our love, whether that be another person or another thing. When we love another person, we want the best for them. We want to see them succeed in their endeavours and to be happy. We give them our care and attention, we look out for them, and we provide help and support. We buy presents, give them gifts and make surprises for them. We give compliments and we let the person know that they are loved and wanted. We strive to know the person, so that we may better understand them and in so doing, provide all these things to an even greater degree. How often do we do this for ourselves?
Often, what we practice is self-loathing and self-hatred. "I don't like my hair", "I'm too fat", "No one likes me", "I'm ugly", "I'm too shy", "I'm too quiet", "I'm too complicated", "I'm too fussy", "I'm too tall", "I'm too short". You get the idea. We all have said these things to ourselves. I know I have and I still do, constantly. I know that I look in the mirror and often I only see the negative. In fact, it pains me to look upon my own reflection. As a result of this, I am left with the feeling that I am no good and therefore, I reach the conclusion that I don't like myself. Then I reinforce those feelings by pointing out all of the reasons why that is my own personal truth. I practice self-loathing on a regular basis.
Here's a small exercise to try. Find a pen and a piece of paper, sit down and write a list of all of your bad points - those things that you do not like about yourself. After this, do the same only this time, list all of your good points - the things you do like about yourself. I am pretty sure that the list of the bad will be longer and was more easy to compose. Those bad things came straight out, whereas you had to think about the good points a little harder. I know that is how it is for me.
We are taught from an early age that selfish behaviour is not a good thing and that we should avoid being self-centred. With this, I absolutely agree and I am not condoning those actions. What I am saying is that we do need to honour the person that we truly are and that we do need to give ourselves the love that we deserve. We need to do this without detriment to the other people in our lives that we love. I do not see self-love as a selfish act, I see it as the exact opposite. If we learn to love the person that we are, then we will strive to become a better person, to take care of ourselves, to give ourselves attention and to see ourselves in a positive light. That can only help our existing relationships with our loved ones, as our outward love will be coming from a place of positivity, not negativity. If you do not currently have a partner, then the act of self-love will help attract the right kind of person to you, you will appear more confident, more open and as a direct result, you will appear more attractive - because you are.
This is why I say that every day should be your birthday. Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself. Do it daily. Avoid indulgences like alcohol, candy, sweets, chocolate or ice cream. These seem like an act of kindness, but often, those things in which we like to over-indulge are detrimental to our personal health and well-being. Instead, treat yourself to a new haircut, a day at the spa, an afternoon in the movie theatre, a massage, a walk in the fresh air, look upon a sunrise or a sunset, gaze up at the moon and stars, lay on your back and watch clouds drift effortlessly over the sky, listen to sound of waves breaking upon the shore, listen to the songs of birds in the fields and amongst the trees, inhale the fresh scent of the early morning. Make eating healthily and regular exercise a part of your everyday activities. Take a little time for yourself to be alone with your own thoughts. If you have a dream, if there is something that you have always wanted to do, plan it, book it, and do it. Make it happen for yourself. This is self-love. Don't tarry or delay. Don't wait until the first day of the new year to begin something new. Make a pledge to yourself that this day you will begin, whatever day that happens to be. And stick to it. Resolutions can be made at any time, they are not the sole property of New Year's.
Love. Love radiates from us and it permeates every fibre of our being. It flows through us and around us. Love is not reserved only for those that are external to us. The love that we have inside of our heart's is for everything and for everyone, and that includes you. So go on. Fill your soul with love and fill your soul with life. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself. Love yourself. Know what it is to be heartstrong. Because you know what? Every day really is your birthday.