By Natasha Sidi 

“How are you going to celebrate?” is a question that I often ask myself and other self-identifying Black, Indigenous, and racialized women in my network when we activate our ideas into wins, no matter how small. I discovered that there was a lot to unpack in their responses to my question.

I’ve been keeping a list of our responses and the most common celebration activities centre around self-care. Most of us view self-care as a reward, which global wellness expert Chivon John advocates must be a priority throughout a productive process and is a form of activism. She often speaks to how self-care is viewed as a luxury in our capitalistic society, which is parallel to how we view celebrating. For example, it is common for people to treat themselves to something. That is okay, as long as it is not the only way we choose to celebrate our wins because there’s so much we need to do to make it more enriching and wholesome. 

For racialized women, contributions are often underappreciated, overlooked, and ignored compared to their white counterparts. It is no wonder then, that celebrating wins can often feel unfamiliar and, at times, unsafe because of so much attention at once. In many ways, celebrating our wins is revolutionary and is a form of activism because we put ourselves first, and create spaces of validation and visibility for ourselves that were denied to us. These are the spaces we very much deserve and are long overdue. 

How do you intentionally create these spaces for yourself to truly celebrate your wins? Here are 5 tips to help you get started.

 

Tip #1 – Take a moment to pause

So you’ve completed your win, now what? Oftentimes, we tend to move from one goal to another, without giving ourselves the time and space to embrace it fully. Only you know what it took to get here. Sit back and reflect, pay particular attention to those challenging moments, recognize your persistence, and how you used your strengths and gifts to carry you forward with determination. This victorious feeling and sense of joy is something you truly deserve to embrace. This is the best gift you can give to yourself: taking time to be seen and validated by the most important person – YOU. 

 

Tip #2 – Write it down

There’s something truly powerful about writing down what you accomplished. You’re seeing what you did in writing, giving your mind a chance to imprint it in your psyche. Consider getting yourself a celebration book where you make a note of your wins and keep a record of how you celebrate yourself. 

 

Tip #3 – Give yourself a shoutout (publicly)

Yes, I know, this can feel daunting, and uncomfortable. Many women I spoke with preferred not to disclose their wins publicly because they see it as a form of bragging, that their win was “not a big deal”, they don’t feel safe with so much attention at once (understandably), and my personal favourite response – to avoid “the evil eye”. I completely get nazar (transl. evil eye in many eastern languages). If you don’t share your wins, though, who will?  Begin by sharing with a circle that you trust. I recently witnessed a friend share her wins and the cheers and support she received was powerful. I observed other women in the group feel excited, as if they had also won something. By giving a voice to her win, she was taking up space and honoured herself. 

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

Brand Strategist & Career Expert Chanele McFarlane recommends using the art of humblebrag as a way of promoting yourself. It’s all in the why and how you choose to frame your shoutout. The context of your shoutout will be understood in good faith if you write it with the right intention. 

 

Tip #3 – Have an accountability partner

Find someone you trust to hold you accountable for reminding you to celebrate your wins (in case you overlook it). They are here to validate your win with you. Let’s build each other up, celebrate each other privately and publicly, and continue to create a thriving community. 

 

Tip #4 – Practice gratitude 

In reflecting back to how you achieved your win, what are you most grateful for and why? Perhaps some things didn’t go the way you planned, but it worked out in your favour in the grand scheme of things. Gratitude shines a light on aspects of ourselves that we may overlook. It is those very aspects that we need to be aware of in celebrating ourselves. 

 

Tip #5 – Create a celebration ritual

Remember, your ancestors are rejoicing with you as you celebrate your wins. Karlyn Percil-Mercieca, Founder & CEO, KDMP Consulting Group and SisterTalk Leadership Academy who in her work on reframing imposter syndrome moments, invites us to embrace our ancestral wisdom, rituals and traditions. She invites us to create our Ancestral Board with music, key words, quotes, and other such items to rejoice in the strength of our roots. Each time you celebrate a milestone, think of how you can add more to your Ancestor Board. 

So the next time someone shares their win with you, ask them how they are going to celebrate.