Lesson of the Week
Celebrating my self: I do things to honor my self
Celebrate your virtue — even if you don’t think you’re quite good enough — today.
In his book, A Toolbox for Humanity, L.A. Johnson quotes astronomer John Herschel, “Self-respect is the cornerstone of all virtue”. This self-respect is not a self-indulgent destructive narcissism, but a vital positive, powerful estimate of your own assets – the ones that are vital your mission. These are the assets that are to be celebrated.
Unlike self-respect, narcissism is a continuum from thinking you are too good to thinking you are too bad – focusing only on your self and disregarding others. Honoring and celebrating self is not narcissism, but the ability to find enough joy and respect for your own true merit and worthiness – enough to celebrate. Celebrations can take the form of self-talk (e.g., internally recognizing you’ve done a good job) to public parties (e.g., a book signing to celebrate your first publication). The point is to celebrate or do something good for yourself and to honor your own virtue.
Author Gail Sheehy commented, “Would that there were an award for people who come to understand the concept of enough. Good enough. Successful enough. Thin enough. Rich enough. Socially responsible enough. When you have self-respect, you have enough.” You do not have to wait until you have done something that the whole world deems worthy. You can celebrate even the smallest honorable acts – going to work, taking care of small jobs at home, or serving as a volunteer. For some, it may not even be that complicated. How about each morning getting up, looking in the mirror, and thanking yourself for one of your virtues – the fact that you got up this morning and looked in the mirror.
A woman complained for forty years that she was not good enough and had no reason to celebrate or honor herself. There were many in the community that loved seeing her, loved hearing her jokes, and loved having her support their businesses. However, this woman did not have self-respect. She succumbed to feeling worthless and took her own life – murdered herself. Of course this case is complicated. There is much more to the story. But the bottom line is: she did have reasons to celebrate herself and those she left behind could have spent all day counting them. She couldn’t see her own merit or worth and consequently, she ended her life and stopped her good and effective mission.
Today, rejoice that you do have a purpose and mission. You do have a reason to celebrate and honor yourself. If you can’t think of a way, try out some of these ideas:
An American Transcendentalist, Theodore Parker’s idea was, “Never violate the sacredness of your individual self-respect.” On your mission, take the time to remember who you are, what you have accomplished, and how you might celebrate your own merit. The irony is, celebrating yourself will not only benefit you, but your mission and the whole world.
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself.
- Walt Whitman, American poet, essayist, journalist
Activity: Celebrate My Self!
Materials: Paper and pen or pencil
Time: Ten minutes to write and ten minutes to discuss your results
1. List five reasons why you have earned, merit, are worthy of being honored.
2. Choose one and describe a way to celebrate or honor your self.
3. Create an action plan to carry out this celebration (who, when, where, how).
4. Discuss your results with your group or with a friend or family member.
a) What are you planning to do to celebrate or honor your self? What is the upcoming date of this celebration?
b) What did you learn from doing this activity?
c) How could you “factor in” other ways to honor yourself throughout the year?
What do you think?