Medicine, law, business, engineering: these are all noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, romance, love: these are what we stay alive for.
I love love.
I am a romantic.
I am an idealist and a dreamer.
I am a lover of classics: chateaux, castles, and churches. I am a lover of art, poetry, music and theater.
The romantic side of me has been indulged this last week. As I write this, I am a guest at an endearing chateau in a small village in the Bordeaux region of France, surrounded by grapes and sunflower fields. The smells are intoxicatingly fresh and the colors are vividly alive.
You may think based off the sounds of that, my week has been sheer bliss. Yes, there have been moments filled with unquestionable joy but … there has also been some sadness.
Let me explain . . .
I am in France celebrating the wedding of my dear friends– Julie and James– along with 31 other wonderful people from around the world.
My heart is so happy for them. But, inner-reflection is sometimes required and it has a tendency to sneak up on us when we’re not expecting, or wanting, it to.
The truth is that I’ve been working through shame surrounding the whole marriage thing. I’ve tried it twice and, even though I don’t like to frame timepieces as failures, I sometimes feel inadequate in the whole business of staying hitched.
As young girls, we daydream, obsess, and try ceaselessly to find our “Prince Charming.”
It becomes an endless search for love, adventure and satisfaction until we either A) find who we’ve been looking for, B) become jaded by the idea and give up, or C) discover that who we’ve always been looking for is actually ourselves. Personally, I would gladly choose to put myself in both categories A and C.
The trouble is that we wait for that special someone who we have envisioned for years to show up on their white steed, sweep us off our feet, adorn us with flowers, love, diamonds, and unlimited kisses, and embody the Hollywood romance.
Then, that special someone– who, in our fresh minds, is the embodiment of perfection– may break our hearts (or we break theirs), the flowers lose their luster, and the diamonds sit without really becoming “a girl’s best friend.”
We, then, become discouraged, gain (or lose) weight, work tirelessly, focus on the kids, and wonder what happened to our grand vision of a life of romance.
Does this sound familiar? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. It does resonate for me, however.
In the back of our minds, we can’t deny our desire for the childhood innocence and hope for romance– passionate adventure, sunlit dinners that creep into the early hours of the next morning, trips to Paris and kisses at the Eiffel tower, or in the most mundane of places, that completely sweep us off our feet.
A life of luxury and elegance without romance is not complete. Bouquets of flowers, sensual seduction, divine perfumes, decadent wine and food, and a fresh awakening to a new day with fiery passion and love do have the potential to invade every aspect of our lives elegantly.
As I sit here, atop a rich valley of sunflowers and earth, I embrace that I am a lifelong romantic.
Yes, I have had my fair share of heartbreaks, disappointments, and struggles. But, through it all, what I have learned is that I am part love/part fighter.
I will never give up on the idea of true love and romance.
Some may think that after what I have experienced, my heart would close. However, with such electric excitement, it’s only the opposite: my heart is so much more open.
Life is to be lived with beauty, passion and thrill. If, through past experiences, we allow someone else to come and take that from us or we wait for that someone else to provide what our heart desires, we have given that person a power that is only ours. Take that back.
Allow your inner goddess to be a fighter. The quest for love is one of the most honorable and worthwhile fights that we could ever encounter and one that we can, absolutely, be champions of.
How does one begin?
Oscar Wilde once said: “To love one’s self is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
A romantic life begins and ends with you, darling. Yet, just focusing on loving yourself isn’t enough.
When it comes to the whole self-love movement, I’m have a different view of things. When I claimed my own romantic life back, it was about so much more than just me. The more I focused on loving myself, the more separate I felt, because I didn’t have a clue as to where to start. When you spend over a decade being your own worst critic, to hear someone say, “Just love yourself,” causes you to roll your eyes.
The beginning of my self love journey started by me looking for things to love about life. And, things started to change. I began to see how I was connected to everything, and the love I had for myself grew as a result.I often tell my clients this: if you want to fall in love with yourself, fall in love with the world. (tweet it)
And, it requires continuous awareness. Sometimes, like this week, old programming that states I’m not complete without another, and I must remind myself that I’m not separated from anyone or anything. My thinking tries to convince me that I’m all alone, but there is always love all around me. And, even though I didn’t have a man by my side for this event, I was surrounded by love.
At the reception, I danced with myself and friends. I have walked through the vineyards alone, feeling the company of sunshine. I have picked sunflowers with Inge, my beautiful new friend. I have laid in bed belly laughing with my traveling pal, Carson. And, as I write, there is a bird perched beside me; there is a single, fragrant rose in bloom; there is a life of beauty to behold. And, I realize that I’m never alone.
It would be a tremendous shame if I missed it all, because I thought it only existed with another person.
This week has brought me yet another revelation. My grand romance is not with a certain person or experience. My romance is with the world and each moment it offers me. And, when I’m with that person, it’s just a beautiful extension of this whole experience.
Even deeper, I feel that my greatest love affair will be not just with myself, but with God, which is in everyone and everything I meet.
And, at the end of my life, I want to say that I loved him passionately.
Are you ready to have a grand romance with your life? Je t’aime, La Vie! (I love you, my life!) to inspire you to fall in love, because I know one thing to be true: a woman in love is the most powerful women you’ll ever meet!
With a Romantic Heart,
The Self-Image Manifesto
You’re Invited To Live An Extraordinary Life!
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