Managing the Pressure of Birthdays

3 birthday candles burning on a table In some way, birthdays are like a personal new year.

There’s a new start, clean slate, freshly sharpened pencils and another chance to get it right.

What pressure!

I recently took down one of my favourite yoga books  and my coming birthday swam up in my mind. It’s a book of daily meditations for your daily yoga practice, a years worth in fact. And, you know, I have a daily yoga practice… and I felt kind of guilty that Linus had bought me this lovely book years ago and yet I haven’t read it all yet (bad student.) It’s designed as a page per day (I’m not using it correctly, bad reader.) So I thought, how about I begin it again on my birthday and do it every day for a year until my next birthday. That would work, and be so cool…

And actually be a huge amount of pressure. For me, one of the things that keeps me on a daily yoga practice is forgiveness. If I miss a day, it’s ok. I’m not going to be mean to myself over it. I know that when I practice yoga I feel good. I want to feel good so I practice yoga. I’ve committed to my practice, but commitment and self-condemnation are two very different things.

The book went back on the shelf, I’m specifically not doing it around my birthday.

I want space not pressure and perfectionism, thank you very much. (Click to Tweet!)

We can see our birthdays as the passing of the years, and an opportunity to reflect on our lives and what we have (or haven’t accomplished.) It can be a moment of pause, of sorrow, of coming to terms with aging and opportunities lost. Another year ‘lost,’ another milestone not hit.

Or our birthdays can simply be a celebration. I love and adore my birthday. Every year I throw huge parties (this year we are having straight-edge cocktails in the city and I have a gorgeous 1930s emerald green, chiffon, beaded dress to wear. I’m so in love with it I hung it on the wall like a painting.)

You can reflect on your achievements and dreams, create personal goals and come to terms with death and aging at any time. Why do it around an already charged occasion? Of course there may be reflection, your mind turns that way, but we can make it celebration! I am so happy, so lucky to be alive, have so many things to be grateful for, and of course, the dress.

I believe that when we practice self awareness and deal with our struggles on a regular basis, when the big events appear in our lives we are prepared. A birthday isn’t a trigger for self-hatred, as we’ve been dealing with and healing our feelings of inadequacy all year. If a milestone life event brings up something big we can turn it into a catalyst for deeper healing within our current Healing Blueprint framework. We already have a Healing Team in place that knows how to help us handle it.

How to manage our struggles in daily life?





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Image courtesy of A.