There are 2 types of people. Those who celebrate EVERYTHING and those who wait for the really big, land-mark events before they break out the confetti.
I admit I am often one of the later. I don’t want to celebrate prematurely, I want to wait until I’m sure it’s something worthy of celebrating… and as a result, I don’t celebrate much at all!
The problem is life doesn’t always bundle achievements or seasons into boxes. There is often no neat, conclusive ‘end’.
This is especially true with Chronic illness. When you can’t celebrate healing or an ending, it can be difficult to celebrate at all.
And yet I think we are called to celebrate, even when there’s no miracle or no big event. Why? Well I could talk about being positive and practicing self-care and embracing your life and all the rather ‘in’ phrases at the moment…. but I want to give you more concrete reasons.
Why we need to celebrate the small things
Celebrate small things because… It’s all about perspective
Who gets to decide what’s worthy of celebrating? Whose permission are you seeking before you feel it’s ‘appropriate’ to celebrate?
The reality is, it’s all a matter of perspective. No one gets to decide for you what you’re allowed to celebrate. Someone else’s big milestone may be a small event to you, or vice versa.
You should celebrate smaller things because they’re not small to you.
Celebrate small things because… It’s not about standards
I suspect that secretly we feel that once we begin to celebrate ‘smaller’ things, it’s a sign of slipping standards. That once we begin celebrating something like a walk around the block, there’s no hope left for us.
That’s not true.
It can be disappointing to have to change your standards when it comes to health.
It can be extraordinarily painful. Yet changing standards does not mean lowering them in the sense that you become a lesser person. It’s not wrong, it’s not necessarily a sign of decline, and it doesn’t have to be a backward march.
You should celebrate smaller things, because it doesn’t mean you’re settling for less.
Celebrate small things because… You’re actually celebrating something bigger
When we celebrate small things like a nice cup of coffee or a shower, we’re not just celebrating those physical things.
Rather, the act of celebration is a way of acknowledging the importance of life.
Think about it. Only someone who values life will bother to celebrate a sunrise. Only someone who believes in a future will dance at a anniversary.
The brilliant thing is the relationship doesn’t have to be linear. Sometimes the act of celebrating can renew our pleasure of life.
You should celebrate smaller things, because it will help you realise how valuable your life is.
How do you celebrate small things?
By this stage you’ve probably realised that when I use the word ‘celebrate’ I’m not always envisioning a party complete with balloons and a three-tier cake. So what does celebrating look like, particularly in the context of chronic illness?
1. Find something to celebrate
For some of us this might be hard. We’re only used to celebrating huge things like a 50th wedding anniversary or a 21st birthday party. If this is you, it might help to replace the word ‘celebrate’ with ‘rejoice in.’
Look around. There’s nothing too silly to celebrate, whether it’s a parking spot, a working dishwasher, a doctor’s appointment completed, or a phone call made.
2. Decide what celebration looks like
So if celebrating something doesn’t mean throwing a party, what does it look like? The honest answer is: anything.
Let go of your standards! Whether it’s a hi-five, a prayer, a hot coffee, a hug or singing along to the radio, it can count as celebration!
3. Be spontaneous
For those of us with chronic illness, their carers or their family members, spontaneity is often utterly impossible. Yet because celebration can be as simple as saying, “Good job, that phone call’s done and you don’t need to worry about it anymore!” it can happen at any time and anywhere.
You can celebrate alone. You can celebrate even if the people around you are too disheartened to do so. Who knows, your celebration might prove to be infectious!
It is good to celebrate, my friends. Don’t wait until you feel like it. Don’t wait until you’re sure the achievement is big enough. Celebrate now. You have nothing to lose!
//do you celebrate smaller things? What is it that stops you from doing so?
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