A client reminded me today of the story of my last birthday. It was a good day, but not for the reasons you might suspect. I was not spoiled. I didn’t get that one gift I’ve always secretly wished for, but never requested. The weather wasn’t even that great.
The amazing thing (to me, at least) is that it was a good day DESPITE the fact that my celebration was decidedly underwhelming. Neither of my sons (who, I should say are usually pretty good at this sort of thing) got me even so much as a card. And my husband got me a mug. A nice mug, from one of the best coffee shops in the world Blue Bottle (and mug that I had admired – which he’d noticed,) but still, not exactly a trip to Tahiti!
There was no special dinner, no special dessert planned. But when I told my family (some of whom we’re feeling bad when they realized what was happening) that I really was FINE. I wasn’t just saying it. I really was fine. In fact, I was quite happy. I was in a place I’d chosen to be in, with my parents and my kids and my husband. It was enough. It was good.
Mind you I was not always this Zen about underwhelming celebrations of me. But I am now, more often than not, because I have learned to do the two things I’m going to suggest to you.
1) I’ve learned to ask for what I need and want.
2) I’ve learned to regularly get for myself what I need and want regardless of what my amazing loved ones do or do not do. In other words, I take responsibility.
If you’re already great at asking for what you want and taking responsibility for getting what you need on a regular basis, that’s awesome! You probably don’t need to keep reading.
But if it’s hard for you, as it was for me—for decades—then read on. I’ve got a couple thoughts about how to overcome some common barriers to getting started.