I turned a year older yesterday, and I had mixed feelings when celebrating my birthday. As much as I loved the celebration, the good food, the gifts, and the sweet messages from my family and friends, I was experiencing various negative emotions, such as anxiety and sadness, on the days leading up to my birthday and even on the day itself. I had no idea why I was feeling that way since I have always loved my birthday before. I didn’t like it, and I wondered if I’m the only one who feels this way or if there are other people who don’t love birthdays or feel depressed about them as well. So, I decided to conduct some research to know why some people don’t love their birthdays.
Guess what I found out – a lot more people than I had thought fear or hate their birthdays and others feel depressed during and on the days around their birthday. There is even a term to describe the fear of birthdays; it is called fragapanophobia. Today, I want to share with you what I learned could be the reasons why some people don’t love their birthday. The next time you have a friend or family member who is not excited about celebrating their birthdays, you can understand them or try to help them because you will know why they feel that way.
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Why Some People Do Not Love Their Birthday
- Fear of aging
There is a term for this too! The fear of aging is called gerascophobia, and it is one of the reasons why some people don’t love their birthdays. A birthday indicates the passage of time, thus whenever one comes around, it means that you are now a year older. However, as proven by the ever-increasing demand for anti-aging products and procedures today, not everyone loves aging, especially women. You know your body will start or continue showing the signs of aging, such as gray hair, wrinkles, unintentional weight gain, and poor health, and hence, you feel anxious about getting older. Aging also means you are getting closer to death, which is obviously not a pleasant thing.
- Fear of loved ones growing older and dying
Your aging is not the only thing that could make you sad during your birthday. As you get older, so do your parents, grandparents, siblings, and other people close to you. Since the human body deteriorates as you grow older, you know that as your loved ones, especially the elderly ones, continue aging, they are at a higher risk of getting sick and dying of old age. The anxiety and fear of death and dying is called thanatophobia. If the fear of you or your loved ones dying is the reason why you don’t love your birthday, you will have to accept the hard truth about life that death is inevitable and unpredictable.
- High expectations
Sometimes it is not just about what growing older will do to your body but also some of the expectations and consequences of aging. For example, for most people, responsibilities increase as they get older. More is expected from you, especially if you are turning the ages when you are supposed to have achieved some life milestones such as getting a job, moving out of your parent’s home, getting married, buying or building a home, having kids, retiring, etc. On your last birthday, perhaps you also set some goals you hoped to achieve this year but have not yet accomplished them. All these expectations from others and yourself can make you feel like you are running out of time or a sense of failure, and hence, they could be the reason why some people don’t love their birthday.
- Mental health issues
Stress, anxiety, and depression are other reasons why some people do not love their birthday. If you were already going through a difficult time before your birthday, even for unrelated reasons, you will likely not feel excited on that day either. For example, if you were feeling stressed about your job, grieving, having family problems, struggling financially, worrying about what is going on in the world, suffering from chronic depression, having relationship problems, etc. Also, if you are an introvert or a shy person, you may experience anxiety about being the center of attention and having to interact with others during your birthday, thus dread it.
- Abandonment and loneliness
While many people feel loved and happy during their birthdays, others may feel neglected, lonely, and unloved. It could be because your birthday stops meaning much to other people as you grow older, and you are probably also comparing their excitement about your birthday now to when celebrating it as a kid. Another reason why some people don’t love their birthday could be due to feelings of sadness and loneliness if they have no family or friends to celebrate it with. If you have them, you may feel down on your birthday if your family and friends forget to text you, give you gifts, or do something special to celebrate it. Unfortunately, feeling depressed, abandoned, and lonely during birthdays can lead to self-destructive behaviors, especially among the elderly. A study found a high rate of self-inflicted deaths among older people above 75 years just before their birthday or soon after celebrating it.
- Negative experiences linked to your birthday
Traumatic events and experiences in your past can continue to haunt you and affect your happiness and the quality of your life even years later. For example, if something traumatic such as the death of a loved one, parents’ divorce, a nasty breakup, sexual assault, physical abuse, or an embarrassing thing happened during your birthday or in one of the days leading up to it. You may start to associate your birthday with that traumatic event, which could explain why you do not love your birthday. Celebrating your birthday or even thinking about it could make you relive that traumatic experience making you feel anxious or depressed. Other negative experiences that could be the reasons why some people don’t love their birthday can be due to anxiety while anticipating family drama during the celebration based on previous occurrences in years past.
What to Do to Be Happier on Your Birthday
- Be grateful
One of the things we learned due to the COVID-19 is that life is fragile and unpredictable. So, although you may not like the changes that occur to you because of aging, you should approach your birthday with a more optimistic attitude because tomorrow is not guaranteed. You are lucky to have the chance to turn a year older. You are fortunate to have one more day to spend with your loved ones as they age. So many other people did not and will not get those chances. You should, therefore, live in the moment, make the most of the time you have, and try to find things to be thankful for if you want to be happier on your birthday going forward.
READ ALSO: 21 Things to Be Thankful for and Why
- Go at your own pace
Stop allowing other people to dictate how you should live your life, and instead, take back the reins and own your life. Succumbing to all that pressure to achieve particular goals at various ages will only make you miserable. If you want to be happier on your birthday, you should stop rushing to have your life all figured out and trying to live up to other people’s expectations. Go at your own pace and remember to celebrate all your wins along the way, whether big or small. If you put in the effort and keep chasing your dreams, everything you deserve will come to you when the time is right.
- Be selective with who you spend your birthday with
Emotions are contagious, and thus the people you surround yourself with affect your mood. To be happier on your birthday, you should only invite or spend time with people you love and those that lift your mood. You know the people you don’t like. You recognize the drama magnet in your family or friend group. You know those who make you feel negative emotions when you are in their presence. You know who influences you to do things that get you in trouble. You shouldn’t be spending time with these people on your birthday.
READ ALSO: How to Keep More Good Friends in Your Life
- Do something you love
One of the reasons why some people don’t love their birthday is that they are stuck doing activities someone else, such as their partner, friends, or parents, wants them to do. But it is YOUR birthday; you should have a say on how you celebrate it. Don’t want to have a party? Don’t throw or attend one. If you wish to enjoy your next birthday, you should spend the special day doing something that brings you joy. You could do a hobby, throw a party, go out, sleep, travel, plan a staycation, go to church, read, watch TV, work, etc. The bottom line is that you should do whatever you want to do on your birthday. If you want to be happier on your birthday going forward, learn to say no when other people’s plans don’t align with yours. You only turn whatever age you are turning once! So, do the things you love.
- Seek help
Since mental health issues are one of the reasons why some people don’t love their birthday, you should seek professional help to deal with them. Even though the toxic positivity prevalent in the world today may tempt you to fake happiness on your birthday, do not give in. You would not be an authentic person if you deny and bottle up your emotions. Why not get help and be genuinely happy on your next birthday? Never be afraid to admit that you are struggling or apologize for your feelings. Since a problem shared is a problem half-solved, you should open up to someone, such as a therapist, about your feelings and other issues. A good therapist will listen and help you come to terms with what is bothering you or recommend solutions and treatment options for you.
Some people are so excited about their birthday that they celebrate it the entire month and make everyone aware of it. Then, there are those who experience negative emotions on their birthdays and can’t wait for the day to be over. If you are the second type, now you know why some people don’t love their birthdays. The negative emotions you feel are completely normal, and it is okay to feel how you feel. However, if you want to be happier on your birthday next time, hopefully, the above tips will be helpful.
Read more articles from Aisles of Life here.