I threw a birthday party dinner in 2022 that made me unhappy. The purpose of this post is to go over what happened and learn from it so you can avoid my mistakes.
1) During the party I did and said things I thought other people wanted instead of doing and saying things that I wanted. Because I didn’t express myself, I felt invisible, alone, and undervalued. Even though everyone had come out to celebrate my birthday, I felt like the least important person there.
The mistake I made was people pleasing, and the solution is to verbalize what you want in life and communicate it to people who care.
A deeper lesson is that sometimes you are the creator of your own pain. If you feel alone, ask yourself if it is because others took an action to make you feel alone, or because you took an action to make yourself feel alone? By asking myself this question, I was able to realize I am often the creator of my own feelings of loneliness. My friends coming to celebrate my birthday is the opposite of making me lonely, thus they did not take an action to make me feel alone on my birthday. So if I felt alone during the birthday party, it must be because of something I am doing. And if it’s something I’m doing at my birthday, it might be something I am doing during the rest of my life as well.
2) I barely ate any food and went hungry so that everyone else could eat enough. People pleasing caused me to not even eat the food I paid for.
The deeper lesson here is to take care of yourself and achieve your priorities. Eating is important, so during meals, make sure you sustain your health.
3) I sat in the most uncomfortable and undesirable seat. Not only this, I explicitly did not want to sit there, but because others urged me to sit there, I gave myself the worst treatment.
The mistake was not honoring my wants and desires. I don’t have to sit where I don’t want to sit, so I shouldn’t have given into others’ demands. In fact, I didn’t even tell my friends I didn’t want to sit there. I should have at least verbalized my feelings so that they could know not to ask me to sit where I don’t want to sit.
This echos the deeper lessons earlier of me creating my own pain by failing to take care of myself and my priorities.
4) I didn’t order the dishes that I wanted. It’s my birthday, but I let everyone else pick the dishes. I should have at least picked one thing I liked and wanted.
5) I spent most of the night working to make everything go smoothly. Managing logistics, texting everyone updates, greeting them as they came and saying goodbye as they left. I spent very little of the night actually enjoying myself, doing what made me happy, and doing what I wanted to do.
6) I didn’t care about myself.
7) I gave incomplete answers to questions because I was afraid of being judged. This was a birthday party with friends who care, accept, and support me. These are relationships that are meaningful enough that I should be comfortable to open up with. Yet I ruined my own night by denying myself a genuine, authentic, honest connection with friends by not being vulnerable.
8) I didn’t get to have any continuous conversations with any of my friends because I prioritized making everyone welcome instead of enjoying any individual conversation.
9) I was stressed and working the whole night to make everyone else happy except for myself.
10) I didn’t enjoy myself.
I did and said things that I thought other people wanted instead of doing and saying the things that I wanted. I didn’t express myself. I felt invisible, alone, and undervalued. Even though everyone had come out to celebrate my birthday and I should have felt good about that, I felt like the least important person there.
Being vulnerable, caring for yourself, and overcoming your bad habits take a lot of effort and energy. I was exhausted coming into this birthday party so I fell into bad habits. Next time, I will be sure to rest well prior to the dinner, and consciously build good habits moving forward.
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