“I never had a birthday party as a child.”

I think that it is hard to believe that any small child never had his or her birthday celebrated with candles, songs, friends and cake. In most cultures (if not all?) all children have  parties to celebrate the fact that  they are loved and prized.  Some of my own birthday parties stand out as somehow more remembered  than others. A lot had to do with  the fact that I was remembered as someone special to my family and friends.  Much of the talk at those  parties,   centered around our birth day itself, with Mom telling  about her experiences  on that day.   I also love pictures of those childhood  parties–showing candles being blown out and the receiving gifts from family and friends.

I want to quote  from our manual Depressed Anonymous (pages 90)  which relates how  not receiving love and acceptance for who we are has for some  led to those sad feelings  of anger, and rejection when mention of children celebrating their own birthdays is   illustated.

“Many times persons depressed find that the more they get in touch with their  feelings, painful as they might be, the more they  need to remain with the feelings and feel them. This is the beginning of getting free from their tyranny. We have to get in touch with our feelings of anger, sadness, and the fact of our denial that we have even experienced  the fierce feelings of rejection so early in life. There may be some covered-over rage resulting from these  unpleasant childhood experiences. It’s amazing to hear people say that as children they never had a birthday party. We  know that  sadness, guilt, shame and a few other losses coming at one time in our life, can slowly push us over the line as we find ourselves overwhelmed with stress and feelings of defeat. It’s this subtle feeling of being out of control that brings   a  deepening sadness  we feel totally    immobilized.

…(Many)  times when we describe what we feel we begin to release in ourselves the feeling  “stuck ” that keeps us  in a mood of hopelessness.”

I can understand what a party which celebrates the fact that we are special and loved by others can do to our self-esteem.   It just might cause us to prize ourselves  and then to share who we are with others.  I’m not saying that to have or not have a birthday party as we grow up makes all the difference in our lives. It’s just  that it may  give us the message that we are loved just as we are. To be prized and made to feel special can  add a wonderful dimension to young lives.

The date of your birthday and how it is remembered is   more than just another day on the calendar. It’s your day! You can ask your self  “how was my last birthday”  and how will it  be different this year? Will my birthday be a day where I will reflect on all those persons in my life who I feel prized me for who I am? And are  there certain persons who you will always feel a gratitude for their presence and love  for you in good times and bad? Write down in your journal who these people are and what they mean to you today.