watercolour, paint, dripping

Have you ever cried on your birthday?

Have you ever cried on your birthday?

You’re probably too young to remember but there was a song in the eighties called, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to”.

Well, I was thinking about it last week, on my birthday.

I’d had a lovely day, a quiet one, firstly sitting in the sunny garden sipping a homemade raspberry and banana smoothie, then indoors, binge watching a thriller series on Catch-Up

After a romantic dinner (Take-Away) with my partner, and then a movie, I finally made it to bed around midnight. I was very grateful to have had my type of birthday, I like the quiet life and that includes on birthdays.

Strangely though, my thoughts must have wandered off somewhere I don’t recall and I started crying in my bed. Fortunately, the eyes run out of tears eventually and we do stop, as I did, but I was left feeling frustrated that I’d ended an enjoyable birthday with tears.

Why do we feel emotional on birthdays?

SO many reasons!

? We may feel lonely if we’ve spent it alone.

?We might feel overwhelmed by other people’s generosity and attention.

? We can feel relieved when it’s over because of our own expectations to enjoy ourself.

? We think of those who are no longer with us and we miss them.

? We think of birthdays in the past and our time with family or friends.

? We reflect on the number of years we’ve had and how many are ahead.

For me, it was a combination of several of the above. Mainly, I realised it was my fifth birthday without my dad and I missed him and his,

“Happy Birthday, Kid!” ?

I also thought about how I’d missed HIS last birthday because of having to be on duty at a school fete. ?

Maybe there were other reasons, who knows, but that’s how my day ended.I had a friend at Uni who would prepare a party for any student’s birthday, regardless of whether or not she knew them. She would spend hours decorating her room and buy all sorts of delicious nibbles and a cake, and then invite them and their friends over to celebrate. We appreciated this so much. ????

When I asked her why she did it, she said, “How can we NOT celebrate the day we were given life?!” ❤️

I have NEVER forgotten this, and it changed my attitude to birthdays forever. I still forget my friends’ birthdays when I’m busy, but I mostly make an effort to joyfully celebrate birthdays.

What I’ve learnt though, is that when we expect too much, we can be disappointed.?

When we plan to be happy on birthdays, we can also feel extremely sad.

The thing I love about applying a Mindful Attitude to dealing with birthdays is that we can let them unfold in whatever shape or form they take.When we stay present on the day, accepting each moment with curiosity, and without judgment, it can be an even more joyful day.There may be highs, lows, thoughts, feelings, unexpected events, gifts, lack of gifts, surprises and even what we perceive as disasters.But, when we surrender to ‘what is’, believing that the day is how it is meant to be, we can enjoy it even more.Being ‘one with life’, as I love to put it, is dropping ALL resistance. We only really suffer when we resist what’s happing in the moment. (I sulkily resisted having a different present from what I’d asked for and then felt very embarrassed when what I’d requested turned up later! ‘Only Child Syndrome’.)

Actively accepting everything that happens, as if we had chosen it to be that way, is the key, and I mean the BIGGEST key, to living a joyful life.

Resistance = Suffering

Acceptance = Joy

If it’s your birthday soon, practise staying present and accepting each moment of the day, without resistance or judgment. Go with the flow, bend with the branch, as they say.Even if you cry your eyes out at the end of it, you may feel better for that too.

(I delve much deeper into easing suffering and experiencing more joy in my MAP to JOY course. It will be available in May so watch this space for more info on that.)