Is it worthy of celebration if you can’t buy a greetings card for it? We think celebrating is for the big stuff in life, the landmark moments, the goals met, the milestones reached. But this could be stopping you from gaining a myriad of benefits available when you celebrate the smaller stuff in life too.
In this episode I share:
Pressing Pause Episode 113 What’s not to celebrate?
Welcome to Pressing Pause, I’m your host, Gabrielle Treanor, a coach, writer, introvert and sensitive soul with an inclination to ponder over the stuff of life. Join me as I explore how we can create, find and feel more calm, ease and joy in our daily lives.
I wanted to give you a quick heads up that if you’ve been thinking about joining The Calm & Joy Catalyst the doors close this coming Friday 16 September. There is a lot happening in the world to take away our calm and joy and right at the time when we need it to be able to deal with everything that’s happening!
This is the last time I will be offering The Calm & Joy Catalyst this year and so if you want to find out all about it, and see what the women who have already been through the Catalyst thought of it, take a look at gabrielletreanor.com/catalyst. And remember you need to join by Friday 16 September.
Right then, on to the episode!
Welcome to episode 113. What do you do when something goes well, when you’re having a good moment? Do you stop, acknowledge that good thing, perhaps the time, energy and effort that went into making it happen, or give yourself a little space to relish the moment? Or do you generally get on with life, there’s more stuff to do, time’s a-ticking and you’re straight on to what’s next?
For a lot of us it’s the latter. We have a tendency to skip over the good stuff which means we’re doing ourselves a disservice because there are real benefits to gain from celebrating what’s happening in our lives right now.
We can think of a celebration as something big, a milestone or a goal reached. So we celebrate birthdays, exam results, job promotions and weddings, perhaps by spending time, energy and money on buying presents, throwing a party or going out for dinner.
When we celebrate these events we’re taking time to acknowledge a difficulty we’ve overcome, a milestone we’ve reached or the start of a new chapter in our lives. Before we move on to the next thing we’re pausing in this moment to appreciate, to recognise what we’ve done, to share what’s important to us with others and to cement it firmly into our memories.
It’s important and right that we celebrate these occasions but here’s the thing – celebration doesn’t need to be limited to only the big stuff in life. Something isn’t considered worthy of celebrating just because you can buy a greeting card for it. What we gain from celebrating these landmarks in our lives can also be felt in the smaller, perhaps more ordinary, everyday instances.
So if you think about celebrating not in terms of big occasions but instead as a way of acknowledging a moment that feels good, that you’re proud of, where you overcame a challenge (however small), you’ll find moments throughout your day that are worthy of celebrating.
This doesn’t mean that you have to celebrate every teeny little thing. You still want to be discerning or else the celebration will feel fake, it won’t really mean anything to you to and you won’t reap the benefits that celebrating gives. But what it does mean is that you can allow yourself to feel the joy, the sense of relief or achievement that you may have previously told yourself you shouldn’t feel or that you skipped over in your haste to get on with what’s next.
We’ve all experienced that feeling of elation and perhaps relief when we’ve finished a tricky piece of work, or had a difficult conversation we were dreading, or produced a plate of food that looks like the photo in the recipe book, and almost straight away we stop, tell ourselves we’re being ridiculous and brush that good feeling aside.
It happens so quickly we may not even notice what’s happening in our brains. The snippy little voice in our heads shames us for being so pleased about something so seemingly insignificant, so we cut short the happiness and sense of achievement with a sharp word and a metaphorical clip round the ear. Within seconds we’ve blown past what could have been a heartening moment of celebration and instead we plough straight on to the next thing.
The mean little voice piping up is coming from a place of protection. It’s trying to stop us from the possibility of being hurt in some way. If it allows you to be so pleased with how your dish turned out that you tell someone there’s the risk that the other person will disagree, criticise your efforts or roll their eyes at your vanity. And that could hurt so better to not go there.
Or if it lets you feel the boost in confidence from completing your tricky piece of work you might become cocky and not be so diligent next time. So you’d better keep a lid on that good feeling.
When you celebrate you allow yourself to feel good in the present moment, you’ve not sprung forward into the future thinking about what’s yet to come or what you have to do next. You’re simply feeling joy in the here and now. And that can be unnerving because what if something goes wrong? What if the thing you’re feeling good about gets taken away? What if the next time you have to have a difficult conversation it goes horribly wrong? What if your friends think the meal you made is bland and tasteless? What if the next piece of work is just too hard?
And just like that you’re out of this present, joyful moment of celebration and you’ve leap frogged into the unknown future. We think that we’re protecting ourselves from future hurt by curbing our joy in the present. But we’re not just stealing our own joy, we’re preventing ourselves from other benefits of celebrating too.
When we do something that we find challenging, that perhaps we’ve struggled with in the past, whether it’s navigating a new city, networking at an event, baking a cake, formatting a presentation or putting up a shelf, we’ve proven to ourselves that we can do it. That the thing we found hard, perhaps we failed at in the past, maybe we doubted we could do, was possible for us. So now we have the evidence that we can do hard things. Which means that not only do we have the proof that we can do it the next time we’re faced with the same challenge but the evidence that we are capable also applies to brand new challenges.
By taking even just a little amount of time to pause, recognise that you overcame an obstacle (even one you think is small) and celebrate it you’re banking this experience into your memory. You’ve building your resilience by proving to yourself that you are capable and boosting your confidence at the same time.
This is something that comes up with my coaching clients when they’re faced with a challenge that feels daunting and they doubt how they’re going to navigate it. It may be a situation they haven’t faced before so they don’t feel they have direct experience they can call on. But what they do have is experience of dealing with other difficulties in their lives, they have proof that they coped and the memory of what helped them in the past. And that’s what they can call on to help them move forward with the next challenge.
When you dismiss moments to celebrate, whether they’re big or small, you’re robbing yourself of the chance to build your resilience, to strengthen your confidence and to collect evidence of what you’re capable of.
It also takes away the opportunity to feel comfort and hope in the future too. So imagine something happens and in that moment you feel a shot of happiness – all the formulas in your spreadsheet work or your partner brings you an unexpected cup of tea or the bus waits for you to reach the bus stop. By focusing for just a moment on that instance, on how happy you feel with the spreadsheet or your partner or the bus driver, you’re not only feeling lovely positive feelings right now in the present, you’re also banking it in your memory.
So the next time that you’re struggling with work, or the next time that your partner irritates you or the next time you just miss the bus, you have these past memories to recall. And by remembering that it happened in the past you’re reminding yourself that it is possible for it to happen again.
Plus, by replaying your past experiences and recalling those feelings of joy you’re giving yourself the strength to deal with your current situation with the belief that you can overcome challenges, you can find peace and ease. You’re widening your focus from this instance where you’re feeling frustrated or fed up, to the bigger picture which shows you that this is not how life has always been or how it will always be.
Here’s the thing: by only celebrating the big, obvious stuff you’re doing yourself a disservice. You’re robbing yourself of opportunities, every day, to feel joy and a sense of achievement, to build your resilience and strengthen your self-confidence, and to remind the snippy, scared little voice in your head that she doesn’t need to protect you. You’ve got this.
So, what can you celebrate in your day right now?
Thank you for listening to Pressing Pause, you can find the show notes for this episode at gabrielletreanor.com/podcast.
A reminder that The Calm & Joy Catalyst is closing to join this coming Friday 16 September and it won’t be available again this year. You can find out all about how the Catalyst can support you to build your resilience, your confidence, self-trust and belief through experiencing more calm and joy every day at gabrielletreanor.com/catalyst. The doors are closing on Friday 16 September and we begin on Monday 19 September.
If you have any questions about the Catalyst or this episode, or you have an idea of what you’d like me to talk about on the podcast I always love to hear from you, so feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]
Thanks again for listening, until next time.
Throughout this website and my work when I refer to women I include people identifying as women.
If you have, or think you may have, a mental health problem that requires professional diagnosis or treatment, please consult a mental health care professional and your GP.
You can also talk to the people at Mind on 0300 123 3393 or SANE on 0300 304 7000 or Samaritans on 116 123.
Copyright © Gabrielle Treanor
Site by cptcreative