01/09/2015 04:00 pm ET Updated Mar 11, 2015

The 'Somebody' Syndrome: Are We Milestone Biased?

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I recently was blessed in achieving a lifelong dream of publishing my first book. I was never the girl who flipped through bridal magazines in high school eagerly folding and circling pages of future wedding day glamour to come, and I never chimed into conversations where my friends laid claim to the names of their future children. And I have to admit I've always felt a little odd those things didn't register with me the way they appeared to factor into the lives of so many of my peers. But I was always the girl sitting in her room, writing. I'd write poems, memoirs, invent fiction, conjure up life reflections and dream of a day I could hold a book with insights I could share with the world.

Fast-forward to age 31, and I am seeing that dream breach into reality. And yes, it's everything I thought it would be...and wouldn't be at the same time.

This book is in a very similar sense, my wedding and my first-born child. While I realize it is not alive by the human pulse sense, or an actual ceremony formality, it is to this day, the biggest personal milestone in my life and a spiritual one at that. Ask any type of artist (and hey, we all really are artists in some aspect) if their art purifies the root of life and guides them in our common quest of becoming a better person. Ask if at the source of what they do is a desire to pass along some tailored piece of good into the world. Isn't that a large part of why we get married and have children - for a human to be able to share forms of love with another human? Art (and in my case, the written realm) has the exact same goal.

Knowing now where my heart and head have been in the sacredness of this time in my life, imagine the "ouch" jolt I encountered when I learned a relative of mine had made the comment, "Oh, does she think she's 'somebody' now?" when joining a conversation regarding my book signing photos.

If a stranger had made that comment, my reaction would have resembled shooing away a nagging, verbal fly. But this was from someone who has seen me grow -- both figuratively and literally in this world. They've had a front row seat to seeing "little me" have hopes and dreams and now I'm grown up and living them. The very type of inner circle, behind-the-scenes familiarity you think would be the most proud and eager fan of you living out your destiny, right?

But like all "ouch" jolts, the impact is really the swift delivery of a life lesson -- one that feels more like a brick to the gut than a feather on your shoulder, and the awareness this particular life brick granted me just may save a couple people from encountering their own surprise deliveries.

This isn't about hurtful comment vindication. Upsetting comments and their narrators will come and go -- it is about a collective cultural tolerance. Should we examine society's support threshold to see why we're uncomfortable prizing personalized milestones with the same reverence as our traditional ones? Do we label the excited bride who just uploaded her gown portraits as a dreadful "somebody?" Do the thrilled parents of a newborn receive an eye-roll for daring to announce their delight to the world? Universally, these joys are not only accepted but dually praised. Somehow when joy is derived from an individual effort, the "somebody" undertone emerges, arms cross and sighs of annoyance are emitted.

When did being labeled a "somebody" on any endeavor spectrum inherit a negative connotation? When someone purposefully sneezes on another person, that individual exhibits a lack of hygiene awareness. When a driver on a cellphone pulls out in front of another car, that driver displays hazardous habits. And when someone slams the door in your face, that's an indication of rudeness. But what part of being in a spotlight of personal achievement -whether big or small- denotes the negative associations that usually follow (self-absorbed, pretentious, and superficial to name a few)? Is it because the cause for celebration is focused on one person and not a "set" of people? Could it really be a numbers thing? (If so, Stephen Hawkings, get back to me with an equation that can explain this phenomenon).

Think about what being a "somebody" entails. It usually consists of an individual deciding to rise above whatever their life experience minefield may look like to step into the energies of their heart in a bare-all effort.

Are we really encouraging others to beware of being a "somebody" by making it sound like such a selfish and horrible characteristic? Are we intentionally spreading the philosophy that it is somehow more honorable to pursue traditional landmarks than individual ambitions? If that is the case, we are essentially trying to force the human spirit into a Xerox machine.

So, here's the thing. Yeah, I am "somebody." I work hard at it and I'm glad you noticed.

You feel like a "somebody," too, hopefully. We all are born to be "somebody" doing "something" in this grand life of ours. And that isn't a cheeky "Everyone is a winner!" spill like you sat through in your elementary gymnasium. That is a way of emotionally dressing yourself for life each day. May the word "somebody" penetrate your attention span, flow into every emotional cavity you possess, and exude through the way you incorporate your time in this life.

Giving thanks to the "somebodies" who encouraged me to be the "somebody" I am today.

Kat Cowley is the author of "Week to Strong: Thought-Shifting Mental Shape-Up Plan" and a personal development women's workshop creator. To learn more, please visit