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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
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Happy Birthday

Birthdays. Some people love them. Some people dread them. We often see them as a reason to celebrate. But what, exactly, are we celebrating? What is the purpose?

The day that I am writing this column happens to be the birthday of someone who is close to me, which got me thinking about what we are celebrating for him. I think that there are many reasons to acknowledge the day a person was born. First, we need to simply say that we are glad that they were born, that we think the world is a better place because this person is in it. Hmm, that is actually not such a simple statement. It is quite a profound one. To be able to say to a person, “The world is a better place because you are in it” is a powerful, uplifting statement. We may not even be aware either as the receiver or sender that that is the message that is being sent out. So stop. Be very clear about what you are saying when you celebrate a person’s birthday. Be sure to directly and clearly give these lovely and meaningful messages.

Another message is that the birthday person is worth celebrating. Something else that is not a simple statement. Often in this world we are put down, we are told that we are not worthy, not valuable. But when we acknowledge someone’s birthday, we are, instead, telling them that they are worthy and valuable to us.

We are, in fact, telling a person, when we wish them a happy birthday many profound things. I am going to go home now and tell my birthday person all of them! Celebrate!

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