How To Celebrate Yourself (When You “Don’t Deserve It”)

When was the last time you celebrated yourself? Or let’s try an easier question. When was the last time you criticised yourself?

Yes… The second question is a lot easier to answer. And that’s no surprise. Your brain is programmed to make those negative experiences more memorable.

“Negative emotions generally involve more thinking, and the information is processed more thoroughly than positive ones, he said. Thus, we tend to ruminate more about unpleasant events — and use stronger words to describe them — than happy ones.”

Clifford Nass

I’d hazard a guess that you don’t know how to celebrate yourself. It’s not your fault. Our society has created a culture where picking at our flaws is a more comfortable experience than celebrating our strengths. Yet, so many positives can be found in self-celebration. Here’s how to get started.

Why celebrate yourself?

Self-celebration can be as big or as small as you choose to make it. It could be a simple slice of cake purchased on the way home from a long day at the office. Or an all-out party with your family and friends when that promotion finally gets signed off.

But however you choose to celebrate, the key is that you’re building a connection with that particular moment. By recognising that achievement, no matter how big or small it may be, you’re turning it into a memory with deep and meaningful emotions attached.

If you always gloss over your achievements, how will you ever understand what you’re capable of?

Over time, self-celebration can help you become better at recognising your achievements. Your self-esteem and confidence grow stronger, as you start to realise what you’re capable of. And the next time you find a hurdle in between you and your goals? You’re able to remember the last time you overcame that challenge.


How to celebrate yourself

There’s a question I always hear from my coaching clients. Whenever we start to talk about how to celebrate yourself, they ask me “but what if I don’t deserve it?”.

In an “always-on” world filled with endless to-do lists and productivity hacks, it’s easy to forget the importance of just revelling in the moment. But celebrating yourself as you move towards your goals allows you to be grateful for everything you have and everything you’ve done. Rather than focusing on any “lack” or what you haven’t yet achieved. 

Even though there’s always more to be done, there’s always something to celebrate.

How to celebrate yourself at work

Your office is actually set up for self-celebration. But, sometimes, it can be a little harder to find.

When your boss or colleagues look at you, they’re able to look with a degree of perspective. Their viewpoint isn’t muddled by your anxieties or fears. Instead, they’re drawn to the qualities that have a direct impact on them and their working lives. 

Those qualities? They’re your strengths. They’re a reason to celebrate. Here’s how to find them.

Take a new look at your performance reviews

If you’re an employee, you’ll have a regular performance review. Each quarter, your boss sits down with you to discuss your progress. They’ll tell you what you’re doing well and what can be improved. But can you guess which of those two factors you’re most likely to remember?

You’re right. It’s the second. Most people will only read the negative portion of their performance reports and then spend their time (and energy) dwelling on those comments.

Dig your latest performance report out from your pile of documents and have a read through. Look at the positive comments and read them out loud to yourself. What do you notice? How do you feel?

Give yourself the chance to let that positive feedback sink in. 

Write a letter from your future self

It’s an understatement to say that, no matter where you live in the world, the last couple of years have been challenging. But have you given yourself the gift of that context?

Zoom out and look at the wider context of the world right now. Then use that perspective to write a letter from your future self. Try to get into the same reflective frame of mind that you feel when thinking back to your younger self.

Here are some prompts to get you started:

  • What is your proudest career moment from the last year?
  • What has been your biggest surprise?
  • What hurdles have you overcome at work?
  • What do you want to bring more of into your work life?

My letter from my future self goes a little like this:

“Lisa, you’ve gotten through a year when so many changes and challenges have come your way, yet you’ve kept growing. 

You’ve been a parent for 18 years now and have just sent your daughter off to university overseas, a dream that you’ve had with her for so long. And you’ve done all that whilst maintaining a work-life balance

Despite the turmoil of the last 12 months, you’ve still been able to build your coaching business and impact more people than you dared to dream of. I’m proud of you.”



How to celebrate yourself at home

You’ve likely heard of the saying “treat yourself like your best friend”. But what does that actually mean in practice? 

When you’re friends with someone, you automatically look for the good in them. You have a positive relationship with that person, and so your mind tunes out the “negative” that they might see in themselves to focus on their strengths instead. It’s a bit like when you’re driving along thinking about red cars, and suddenly they’re all you can see. 

It becomes blindingly obvious. 

I want that for you. So that when you look at yourself, you see the smart, strong, multi-faceted person that you are. Rather than picking apart your flaws.

Write a love letter to yourself

Put yourself into the shoes of your best friend. And ask yourself, what do I see?

From your talent in the workplace to that addictive chocolate cake recipe that everyone loves so much, write it all down in a love letter to yourself. Resist the temptation to look for things that you might want to change. And instead, focus on what you’ve done and who you are.

Keep a gratitude journal

This is one of the simplest yet most impactful tools that I introduce my clients to.

Get yourself a journal that you feel proud to keep on your bedside table. And then spend five minutes each day writing down at least three things th

at you’re grateful for. From the things you have to the people in your life, to the things you’ve accomplished. They’ve all got a place inside your gratitude journal.

What’s standing in the way of the celebration you deserve?

Take the quiz to find out:



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About the author

Lisa is a mother, a business owner, a founder, and an executive leader. She's been through it all and has come out the other side to thrive. Now she's helping you to do the same! Learn how you can find clarity and support through her services for individuals and organisations.