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9 wonderful things you can do for yourself

Birthdays become a valuable day to start something new

birthdays, gift, positive affirmations, Peter Shankman

So it is my birthday, and like every birthday, I woke up, did a long Peloton ride, got dressed and went to work. I'm not a huge fan of birthdays, and the LAST thing in the world I need is more stuff.

So, on this anniversary of the day I caused my mother immense pain, instead of asking for gifts, I offer nine gifts to you. I hope you find them valuable.

1. I want you to realize that your vision of who you are is skewed. You're not ugly. You're not as fat as you imagine. You're not as awkward as you think, you're not a loser, and you're not doing worse than all of your peers.

2. I want you to remember that your race isn't with anyone else. It's not a sprint. It's a marathon, it's over the course of your entire life, and the only person you truly need to be better than today, is the person you were yesterday.

3. I want you to remember that spending one day every once in a while, not working out and eating two cartons of Ben and Jerry's ice cream while lying on the couch binge-watching The Office doesn't mean you're a bad person. It means you're human, and you shouldn't beat yourself up for it. (Seriously, there are like, 7.6 billion of us. Welcome to the club.)

4. I want you to remember that when you're at your worst and think you're absolutely and completely alone, you're not. I guarantee you with every ounce of conviction in my body, that if you were no longer here, the world's light would be a little dimmer, and there would be people who would no longer be complete without you.

5. I want you to believe that every screw-up, no matter how bad, how detrimental, or how embarrassing, has a grain of lesson in it, and if you can learn that lesson and apply it to your future, then your screw up was worth it.

6. I want you to understand that YOU will ALWAYS be in control of how YOUR story ends, and you have no obligation to be the same person you were a year, a month, or even a day ago. If you don't like where you are, move. You're not a tree.

7. I want you to reach out and reconnect with someone who has fallen off your radar. I want you to do it today, because tomorrow very well might be too late.

8. I want you to understand that every single one of us has demons lurking inside of us, and every single one of us fights a battle to maintain control over them, every single day. Every single one of us has self-doubt, every single one of us makes the occasional boneheaded mistake, and every single one of us is afraid that we'll never truly succeed. Every. Single. One of us. Including me. Definitely including me.

9. I want you to remember that you're loved. You truly are. If you don't believe you are, head down to your local animal shelter, and sit with a homeless cat or dog for an hour. Then try and tell me you're not loved.

I wish you a wonderful day today and every day, and as always, I thank you so very much for allowing me into your life.

Peter Shankman is an entrepreneur, an author and a trainer living in New York City. He is a stay at home dad as well. Check out his blog

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