According to the US Department of Labor, Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. This well-deserved holiday celebrates all we have achieved, earned and accumulated through our hard work. While it is encouraging to reflect in this way, this perspective places value on what we do rather than who we are. By solely focusing on our achievements we dismiss the truth – that to be human is to have value regardless of what we accomplish.
This Labor Day, celebrate yourself by taking stock in the qualities that make you who you are. Ask yourself questions like, “Am I loving towards others, especially to those whom are difficult to love? Do I persevere, despite challenges? Am I quick to judge others based on appearances? Do I take the time to bask in nature? Am I able to cultivate compassion for myself and others? Am I forgetful at times? Do I sometimes lose my temper and inadvertently hurt others?”
Without judgment, become aware of the intrinsic qualities – generous/selfish, truthful/dishonest, loving/hateful, compassionate/judgmental, proud/shameful, connected/aloof – that you both like and dislike. Gently cultivating this dual awareness paves the path to self-acceptance. The more we can accept our many parts, the greater value we believe we have and the less we need to prove our worth through our achievements. Remember, you have tremendous value simply because you’re alive.