This year my birthday happens to fall on Thanksgiving – appropriately for this blog post on giving and receiving thanks, appreciation, and on being celebrated.
I’ve had an early birthday celebration already, and I decided to do my birthday differently this year.
Over the last couple of years I’ve attended the memorial services of two family members: my mom and my ex-husband. I listened as we celebrated their lives and said what we loved about them. I felt sad that we didn’t tell them those things more when they were alive.
So for this year, I asked my friends for their presence for my presents. I wanted to celebrate – to appreciate – our friendships and what we all loved and valued about each other – especially me, the birthday girl. 🙂
Pretty bold … eh? To ask to be celebrated myself.
That request sure challenges all of the old protective voices that would keep me safe from the possibility of rejection. Like … “what if they don’t have anything they want to celebrate about me?”
Being celebrated by others is such a foundational need. To know that others take delight in us. That we touch their hearts and souls. That they appreciate us.
There’s giving, and there’s receiving appreciation or thanks. Often we give appreciation more easily than receive.
Receiving is pretty scary. For me, asking to receive is even scarier AND so vitalizing. To hear what other people love about us and, as peacemaker Marshall Rosenberg would say, “how we make their lives more wonderful,” fills our tank.
One time Marshall told the story of a party game where people pulled a question out of a hat to answer. He put a question in that it turned out everyone wanted to answer. “What appreciation might someone give you that would leave you jumping for joy?”
How would it be for you to answer Marshall’s question, “What appreciation might someone give you that would leave you jumping for you?”
In peace and love, Teresa