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The Fear of Being Seen

Creating Magic in Everyday Moments: A Guide to Romanticizing Your Life

Romanticizing your life involves being mindful and appreciating the present moment. Host and Master Self-Image Coach Tonya Leigh emphasizes the importance of being present and mindful to romanticize your life in this weeks School of Self-Image podcast. She highlights the significance of slowing down, being with yourself, and appreciating the details of your life. By being fully present in the moment, you can tend to the details of your life and truly appreciate the joyous moments that may otherwise be overlooked.

Tonya also stresses the practice of slowing down and being present with oneself or those around you. By taking the time to truly be present with yourself and others, you can cultivate a deeper sense of appreciation for the blessings in your life. This involves not being distracted by worries about the future or regrets about the past, but rather focusing on the beauty and goodness that the present moment offers.

Tune in to discover how you can infuse your daily life with meaning and enjoy the present moment rather than rushing toward the future.

Episode Details:

01:00 - Introduction to Romanticizing Your Life

05:30 - Philosophical Perspectives on Romanticizing Your Life

08:32 - Benefits of Romanticizing Your Life

09:16 - Embracing Adventure in Everyday Situations

11:34 - Importance of Mindfulness in Romanticizing Your Life

17:06 - Morning Routine for Romanticizing Your Life

21:18 - Importance of Self-Appreciation in Romanticizing Your Life

25:38 - Balancing Idealism and Realism in Romanticizing Your Life

29:03 - Finding Joy in Work and Daily Activities

31:31 - Building Meaningful Connections and Appreciating Moments

32:45 - Slowing Down and Being Present in Your Life

Episode Transcript:

Do you ever feel like life has lost its magic? Like you're just going through the motions day after day? Well, what if I told you that you have the power to change that and make every day feel special and meaningful? In this episode, we're going to explore the concept of romanticizing your life and how it can help you find joy, appreciation, and excitement in even the most ordinary moments. Let's dive in.

Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here's your hostess, master life coach, Tonya Leigh.

Hello, my beautiful friends. Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. I am sitting in the basement of my friend's house in Telluride, Colorado. The house is full of people, and so I've been working in my bedroom all morning and taking moments throughout the day to go on a walk around the block to really take it in because this place is breathtakingly beautiful. Summers in Colorado are just magical. I don't think the sky could be any bluer, the air, any fresher, and just the temperature any more perfect than what it is right now. I was on my walk this morning and I was thinking about my life as I often do, especially before I'm about to do a podcast. I like to reflect on my journey and share things that I have noticed that have made such a big difference in my life. And today's topic is one of those.

Today we are talking about how to romanticize your life, and if you have any resistance to this, this is for you. I have so many people, especially clients when we start working together, they're like, hurry up and help me get there. And that pressure, that hurriedness keeps you from being there because when I talk to people about their future selves, when I talk to them about their vision for their lives, there's always a touch of romance involved. And romance is not something that you have to wait until one day to have. In fact, to create a romantic life, it requires that you start right now. And I believe more than ever we need this because life can be very heavy. Just turn on the news, look around, talk to friends, and you will start to feel the heaviness of life. And I didn't live back in the 1800s, so I don't know what my great-grandparents' lives were like.

But I do think with access to social media, with us having a much more global society and being bombarded day by day with the negativity, it is important that we find a little refuge, that we figure out how to add a little joy and magic and love and passion into our everyday lives, or we will be consumed by the heaviness. Some people will say to me, well, isn't this you trying to escape life? Isn't this you trying to pretend that bad things aren't happening? And the answer is yes and no. Let me explain. What we are typically trying to escape from are our own thoughts about what is happening at all times. And sometimes you don't want to ignore those thoughts. When bad things are happening in the world I don't believe we want to just bury our head in the sand and pretend that it's not happening.

And yet again, you will be consumed by it if you stay plugged into it all of the time. So I guess one could argue it is a type of escapism, but I think it's a beautiful one. I think it's one that will make you happier. I think it's one that will help you show up in the world in a more expansive and positive way, and I think it's one that your 90-year-old self will one day say, "Well done. Well done for living your days with such beauty, intention, and love." I think many of us struggle with finding our balance between reality and what we hope to be. We have to find our balance between being in the world and being out of the world because if you constantly just look around at what is you continually recreate, what is, if you match fear with fear, you just end up with more fear.

And at the same time, I don't think any of us just want to bury our head in the sand and pretend that bad things don't happen. We all have our unique ways of processing and dealing with life and its challenges and hardships and the heartbreaking stories that we hear about and maybe have even experienced ourselves. But for me, I will tell you, learning to romanticize my life has been one of the biggest gifts that I've given myself. And when I look back on my life, it was when I started to do this that my life became magical and it continues to be magical. I have studied philosophy for many years and I've often questioned, where does romanticizing your life? Where does it fit inside of philosophical theory? Because you have the realist, those people who focus on accepting the world as it is without any illusions or any sugarcoating, and they believe in dealing with facts and reality even when it's harsh and unpleasant.

On the other hand, you have idealism which emphasizes the pursuit of high ideals, principles, and values, and they believe in striving for perfection and focusing on how things should be or could be rather than how they are. Then there's pragmatism, which is all about being practical and focusing on what works best in any given situation. They believe in finding the most efficient and effective solutions to problems even if they aren't perfect. When I think about romanticizing your life, it really doesn't fit neatly into any of those three schools of thought as it involves elements of all three. Because to be a romanticist, you can't argue and fight with what is because that takes you further and further away from the feelings that you want. You also can't be a perfectionist. You can't have such high ideals that you're constantly feeling like you are letting yourself down, and it's never good enough.

However, there are some similarities to idealism because it involves focusing on the beauty, the joy, and the potential in life, even in ordinary moments. It's about having a positive and optimistic outlook, which aligns really well with idealistic pursuits. But there's also a pragmatic element. It's not about completely ignoring reality or challenges, but rather finding practical ways to appreciate and enjoy life even when it's difficult. Romanticizing your life involves making intentional and conscious choices and taking actions to create a more positive and fulfilling experience, which is a pragmatic approach. So I want to argue that romanticizing your life is one of the best ways to create your life and lead your life into a more positive direction and here's why. When you romanticize your life, you are taking charge on where you place your attention and how you filter the world, and you can filter it in a way that makes you small, makes you anxious, makes you feel in a way that can paralyze you, or you can filter it in a way that makes you feel optimistic, that makes you feel full of gratitude, that makes you feel abundant.

And when you are in those states of being the way you show up in the world, it's powerful. Let me give you an example. About six months ago, I can't remember exactly, but we were traveling. We were in an airport and our flight was delayed, the first delay, okay, but then you know that feeling when they come over the intercom and they're like, "It's still delayed and we don't know when it's taking off." Well, it was the third time they said that I could just watch the people at the gate become more and more frustrated. I had a choice. I could become frustrated and grouchy and start complaining, but the reality is nothing was going to change that flight taking off other than whatever needed to be done to be done. And so I looked at Ombi and I was like, "Let's go on an adventure."

And she's like, "What are you talking about?" Ombi, by the way, it's my soon-to-be stepdaughter. And I'm like, "This is an amazing time to go on an adventure. Let's go see what we can find." And so we took off in the airport just looking for things. I was like, let's go find something interesting. I didn't know what we were looking for, but I was like, you know what? If we're going to be stuck here, let's make the best of it. Let's turn it into a scavenger hunt. Let's turn it into something that is more interesting than just sitting in an airport complaining about being stuck in the airport. Now, think about that. I could have drained all of my energy sitting there complaining, being with the people, frustrated and just depleting my own energy by where I place my focus and attention. But instead, I chose to rise above the situation.

I chose to create this alternative universe that I could live in that's full of adventure, that's full of opportunities, it's full of surprises. And the more I have done that in my life, the more I realize there's a whole different realm that we get to exist in. Most people are not existing in this realm because they feed off of each other's energy. They're so in their heads that they're full of anxiety, they're living in the past or fretting about the future. And the thing about romanticizing your life is it requires that you come back to the present moment. And what it really requires is mindfulness, being mindful, and taking it all in. I was just having a conversation with a friend the other day and I said, "You know what I want to get back to is living in that state of awe that I remember first having when I traveled to Europe for the first time." I remember the first time I went to Paris, you all, I was just in awe.

It took my breath away. Everywhere I looked, it was eye candy. It was so romantic. But then you go to Paris again and again and again and year after year you start to notice that you don't feel the same way. While it's still beautiful to you, it just becomes another trip. And I had noticed that with my travels not only to Paris but to other places, it's like I was not appreciating it and the only thing that changed was my lens. I didn't see it in the way that I first saw it, and I realized I get to create that by being mindful, by not taking things for granted, but really being like, wow, I am on a plane 30,000 feet in the air heading to a destination that maybe I've never been to or maybe I have, but what a miracle this is.

I'm so grateful that I get to travel and then you get off the plane and you really just take it all in. Don't worry about where you're going for dinner. Don't worry what's going to happen if it rains tomorrow, but just be in this moment and try to see it through the eyes of your first time, even if you've been there a million times. But it's probably easier to feel that romantic feeling when you're traveling. Let's be honest, when you're traveling and you're out of your familiar environment and you are seeing new things and you are more present, it's easier to access that romantic feeling. But what about your ordinary day? Waking up, getting dressed, going to work, picking up the kids, making dinner? That's when this practice is more important than ever because those ordinary days are making up the majority of our lives.

And I'm going to brag on myself here because this is one of my superpowers. I am really good at romanticizing my life. I haven't always been, which is good news for anyone that thinks, oh, this is going to be hard because I used to resist my life. I used to complain about my life. I used to have constant worry about my life. This is a skill that I have been practicing, and now it's more of a natural state of being than not. In fact, my soon-to-be stepdaughter, Ombi, she told me the other day, she was like, "You are the happiest person I know." She's like, "Why are you always in such a good mood?" And it's because I choose to be. Listen, there are many reasons that I could use to be in a bad mood. In fact, one just happened this morning.

I got a text from my builder that it looks like the house is going to be delayed again. And this is after I had made plans to move in on a certain date, and it's looking like that date is going to be pushed back. Just like the airport I could sit around and complain about it, it is what it is. I told Fons because we have to move out of our place by a certain date. I'm like, "Well, guess what? This might be an opportunity for us to go on a little short vacation while we're waiting to get into the house." There's always a romantic spin on anything. Are you looking for it? So I'm going to share with you the ways that I love to romanticize my life. Now, everybody has their different version of romance. One of the ways you can think about it is how do you like to be romanced.

Imagine life is your lover. How would you want your lover to treat you? Where do you want him or her to take you? What do you want them to say to you? How do you feel around them? What are you doing? What are you listening to? What are you eating? How are you eating? How are you dressing? That's a really fun question. If life were your lover, how would you treat it? And how would you want it to treat you? Because life is giving us an array of potential experiences, and it all comes down to how you filter it and how you think about it, and how you see it. What I experience as joy someone else might complain about only because I'm thinking about it in a different way, but on a day-to-day basis, I'm going to tell you from morning to night how I love to romanticize my life.

The first thing that I love to do when I wake up is to greet my day. What does that look like? I love to think, oh my God, it's going to be a beautiful day. Good morning. And oftentimes I'll say that to Fons. I'm like, "Good morning sunshine. It's going to be a great day. Are you excited about your day? What's your plans for the day?" Just getting that good energy going first thing in the morning versus waking up and thinking, ugh, I got to get through another day. I got a lot of stuff on my to-do list. I've got a lot of stuff on Asana that I got to check off. Those things are there. I will get to them and I will probably romanticize them when I get there. But first thing in the morning, I just have to be there in that moment looking for the blessing, looking for the joy, looking for the love, looking for the abundance.

It's there if you're looking for it. I love to look out the window at the trees and really appreciate them. Do you ever just appreciate what's right outside your window? Do you ever look and just think, wow, look at this, these beautiful trees? Or maybe you live in a city, look at these amazing buildings really appreciating what is right outside your window. Then next thing I do is I turn on music. My favorite playlist right now is called Jazz House 2024 on Spotify. It has this artist that I've been obsessed with recently called Berlioz. I think his tagline is if Matisse were to make jazz. It is so good, and I love to turn that on in the morning. And then I love to leisurely walk down to my kitchen and make my first cup of coffee. Now, you can make a cup of coffee or you can make a cup of coffee.

There is a difference between the two. One is unconscious. You just go through the motions like a robot. The other one is like a ritual, a freely paying attention to the smells, to the sound, to what's around you. Anticipating that first sip of the day. And I take my coffee and I have that first sip and I just sip it and savor it. And then I love to sit down and I love to journal in the Daily 5 Journal, which is available to all of the members within the School of Self-Image, which I almost forgot to mention. We are opening up enrollment just for two days because next month we are focused on creating your pleasure portfolio because so many people don't have true pleasure in their lives. And it's one of the reasons why you may find yourself sabotaging yourself over and over again.

It's why your energy may be depleted. It's why you may be struggling to reach your goals. It's why every day may just feel mundane and heavy. We are going to be intentionally creating a pleasure portfolio. This is a tool that I taught years ago, but I haven't taught it within the membership, and I'm so excited to share that tool with you and how to use it to have that romantic and exciting and magical life, which by the way, will help you reach your goals so much faster. But more importantly, y'all, it's just going to make you happier. It's going to allow you to appreciate and enjoy your daily life more. So again, we are opening up enrollment just for two days. You can go to and get inside the membership for the month of July. It is going to be a very pleasurable month, my friends.

Nevertheless, I love to journal first thing in the morning and go through the Daily 5 process. And that really gets me into that intentional romantic state because at the heart, I'm a romantic, and when I'm not in that feeling state, I can feel it and it shows up in my work, it shows up in my relationships. It has a domino effect. So my goal is to get into that state first thing in the morning to really get intentional about how I want to show up in my day. After that, I will do one of two things. I will either go to the gym first thing in the morning or on some mornings I love to get to work first thing. It varies. Sometimes I'll go to the gym later in the day or go for a long walk in the afternoon. But let's just say I go to the gym.

Now this is where you can get out of the romance. You can get into the drudgery and the, I've got-tos and the shoulds. If you're going to go to the gym, I want you to romance the gym. What does that look like? Well, for me, it's about me appreciating my body. It's about moving in ways that feel good to me. Now, there have been seasons where what felt good to me was yoga and Pilates, and then there were seasons that what felt good was lifting weights and doing more intense exercise. It varies, but doing it from a place of love and appreciation for your body versus punishing your body, punishing yourself, there's a very different energy. It's the same activity, but one is done through the lens of romance, and the other one is done through the lens of heaviness and shoulds. After the gym, I will sometimes meet Fons for a coffee or sometimes we go to the gym together or I'll meet a friend for a coffee before I get to work.

And just really appreciate this day with the human that is in front of me. And sometimes that human is just me. Sometimes it's just me at the coffee shop and I spend time appreciating myself, which is at the core of romanticizing your life. If you don't have a good relationship with yourself, how can you have a good relationship with life? Because you're the one experiencing life. So if your relationship isn't solid with yourself, your relationship with life will not be solid either. Do you spend time appreciating you, loving on yourself, caring for yourself, celebrating yourself? Again, that's at the core. All this other stuff I'm sharing with you doesn't really mean much if the relationship with you isn't solid. So for some of you all listening, this needs to be where you start. Write yourself love letters. Write yourself letters of forgiveness if you need to.

Every day, show gratitude towards yourself. What are you proud of? What did you accomplish today? So many of us are so accustomed to looking to what we didn't do, what we failed at, what we're not good at, versus looking in the other direction. The direction that the romantic within you wants to look towards at what you did well today, what you did accomplish, what's beautiful about you, what's right about you. Love on yourself more if you want to romanticize your life. So after I go to the coffee shop and have a coffee, my second cup of the day, I come home and I get to work, but I don't work in a rushed and jarring and heavy way. I love to slow down. One of my favorite mantras is there is no hurry and right now I'm about to embark on probably the busiest season of my business.

Right now we have, let's see, four major projects that we are working on and I could not be more excited about. If you've been listening to the past few episodes where I've talked about the sweet spot and what you crave, I'm moving back into my sweet spot in business and really focusing on what I'm craving more of. And with that comes changes, comes things that need to be done. Now, I could be all up in my head worried about it and creating anxiety for myself, but it's a day-by-day process. The idealist in me, the one that dreams is always thinking about creating a better world who has those values that she wants to live by. She helps me to craft the vision. But then my realist comes in and she's like, okay, girl, this is the timeframe. This is what we're dealing with.

We got to break this down. Look at the facts of the situation. Work with your team, create a calendar, get it into Asana, and get to work. But the romantic in me, she's like, all right, now, what needs to be done today? I don't need to worry about tomorrow. I don't need to fret about what happened yesterday. What needs to be done today? What do I get to do today? And being grateful for my work, being grateful for my business, my team, my clients. I think especially as entrepreneurs, and when you have a business, you can begin to have a lot of resentment towards your business. You can begin to blame your business for how you feel. And it's like that John F. Kennedy quote where he says, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country?" And I feel that way with my business.

I don't want to ever have a business where it's like, what can you all do for me? What can my business do for me? I want to show up and think about what can I do for my business. What can I do for my clients? What can I do for my team? It's such a more abundant and fun energy to create from. And so when I sit down at my desk, it's like, what can I give to my business today? How can I show up and serve at the highest level? And in the meantime, I'm doing all of these things around me like I light a candle, I have my music playing in the background, and I just focus on what's right in front of me. And I give so much gratitude that I get to do this work. It is such a blessing. And no matter how hard business has been for me, and there have been seasons where it's been hard, there have been seasons full of doubt, there have been seasons full of contraction.

But one of the things I've never done is have any kind of animosity towards my business. I have always realized, and maybe this is because of how I grew up, maybe it's from working night shifts as a nurse, but for whatever reason, I have always just had immense gratitude for my business. But going back to working night shifts as a nurse, I remember my friend, Carolyn, she romanced the hell out of her career. She would come in, we would get called in. This is actually when I worked, not night shifts, this was when I worked in the OR. But we would get called in at 3:00 in the morning to do an emergency C-section, and she would come beat bopping in there, and she would say things like, "How amazing is it that we get to bring a baby into this world?" She was romancing her life, which shows you even if you are working night shift, there are things that you can look for and appreciate no matter what kind of work you're doing.

And I will tell you, Carolyn inspired me. I was like, I want to be more like her. I want to have that kind of [foreign language 00:29:44], that kind of attitude. Because let's face it, life changes, jobs change, relationships change, but can you access that romance no matter where you find yourself? So I get to work, and throughout the day I take little breaks. Sometimes I dance, sometimes I stretch. Sometimes Fons will come home and we'll have lunch together, and I just practice being grateful for what's right in front of me. And on those days where I'm feeling low, where I'm feeling down, it's because I'm not doing this. The moment I get back to romanticizing my life, I feel better. Other little things that I do is I buy myself flowers. We have flowers in our house every single week. We go to Trader Joe's. I love to go to the farmer's market.

I just love flowers. I feel like they embody a woman who's willing to slow down long enough to do something for herself, and that she places a lot of emphasis on the details of her life because the details matter. We're so caught up in the big stuff, but it's the details that are shaping the experience of your everyday life. Let's see. Other things I love to do, I already mentioned this one, but I love to put a romantic spin on life's frustrations. Look for the opportunities. Look for what's good about that moment. Look for how you can stop fighting it and enjoy it a little bit more. I also love hosting dinner parties, having friends around. The people that you surround yourself with matter. And I'm very fortunate, even in Charlotte, we moved here over a year ago and I have created the most incredible community around me.

We all get together once or twice a week. We have dinner parties, we laugh, and really appreciate the little things. I'm here in Telluride, and we've been playing this game called Rumi Cube. I just learned how to play it. It is so much fun. And just being with each other and not taking it for granted, make your daily activities more enjoyable. How can you elevate the ambiance of your house? For me, it's playing music. It's the candles, it's the flowers. It's the little details around my house that make my house feel more beautiful and notice and appreciate those joyous moments. I think we can start to take them for granted. We experience them so much that we just don't appreciate them as much. Really romanticizing your life is not that hard. It's about you being awake. It's about you appreciating. It's about you tending to the details of your life.

And most importantly, it's about loving yourself. I think about Ruby Carr. She has this beautiful quote that says, "I will never have this version of me again. Let me slow down and be with her." And that's what it means to romanticize your life. Slow down, be with you, be with the people around you. And when I say be, I mean be with them, not on your phone, not worrying about what's going to happen tomorrow, but being with them, really looking at them. This is a powerful exercise, but looking at the people you love in the eyes, and just think about how blessed you are to have them, because not to be morbid, but there might be a day where you don't. Let's not waste it away worried about what's going to happen tomorrow. Just be with the people. Be with yourself. Be with life. Appreciate all of the goodness that it offers. That my friends is how you romanticize your life. Have a beautiful week and I will see you in next week's episode, cheers.

I used to think happiness was a fairytale forever, just out of reach. I felt stuck a lot of the times, helpless, and like I was constantly failing at life. But then I discovered a simple shift or three that changed everything. Now I help women like you create their own powerfully ever after. In my free masterclass, you'll learn the secrets to unshakeable desire, fearless action, and finally believing in yourself. You deserve a life you love. So stop waiting and start creating. Watch the masterclass and unleash your inner powerhouse. You can go to and watch it now.





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