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Can you be romantic without a romantic partner?
romance – noun (rəˈmæns ; ˈrəʊmæns)
* a love affair, esp. an intense and happy but short-lived affair involving young people
* love, esp. romantic love – idealized for its purity or beauty
* a spirit of or inclination for adventure, excitement, or mystery
The other day, one of my clients and I were working together to help her identify her top 5 values. Values identification is one of the very first coaching exercises all of my clients go through because our values form the foundations of our lives; to live in “right relationship” with our selves, we must be congruent with them.
One of her top 5 values stopped me in my tracks.
Can you guess what it was?
Bingo! You’re right – it was ROMANCE.
When I saw that, I had to challenge her a little bit on what this truly meant to her because when most people think of romance, they think of it in terms of having a romantic, sexual partner. While this is totally understandable, given our society’s tendency to lump sex with romance, it can lead into a trap … here’s why.
To live a life we are totally energized by and engaged with, we must learn to honor our top 5 values on a daily basis … and we need to find the independence within that allows us to honor them, regardless of outside circumstances. When we rely on a romantic partner to satisfy any of our top values, we jeopardize our own fulfillment because we are at the mercy of someone else.
We often don’t recognize that it’s our job to meet our own needs and honor our own values. This is what I mean when I talk about being The Chooser or the Architect of our lives. It’s the lack of taking responsibility that has lead us to become a society overly obsessed with finding that one perfect person and partnering up — so much so that we’ve forgotten how to love in other ways. You know, without a romantic partner.
Surprise! Romance is not actually synonymous with sexual feelings! (Although most people use it as a way to elicit those feelings.) Not only is the feeling of romance not dependent on romantic or sexual feelings, it doesn’t have to happen with a partner. (And geez, watch what you’re thinking!!)
Romance is about enjoying spending time with someone, enjoying their company. Romance is about emotional intimacy, caring and concern.
You can enjoy that fuzzy feeling in all sorts of ways. When we think of romance in a non-sexual way, and fall in love with our lives, we’re really allowing ourselves to experience a spirit of or inclination for adventure or excitement.
So if romance is important to you in your life, and you’re ready to create it in your life, read on for eight exciting, unique opportunities to experience ROMANCE in a new way.
- Your dog, cat, horse, bird or other pet.
All creatures great and small have love and affection to give, and your pet is no exception. And besides, our pets’ love is unconditional, whereas some people can run either hot or cold while still others find it nearly impossible to give that sort of love. You know your favorite furball will love you even on your worst days.
- Your children.
Granted, it may be harder to fall in love with your children when they refuse to clean up after themselves, are giving you a hard time about curfew or what have you… yet wait a few years and the feeling may come back. If you don’t have children, perhaps there is a special child in your life, like a niece or a nephew or your best friend’s kids, that you can lavish with attention. (I know that’s what I do with my niece.)
- Your best friend.
When was the last time you allowed yourself to truly and deeply appreciate your dearest friend(s)? When was the last time you renewed your vows of deep friendship? I know that when I express my appreciation to my dearest friends, it lights up their day and in turn, it lights up mine.
- Your favorite author, actor, artist, or athlete.
No, this doesn’t mean you have permission to stalk them or harbor any delusions that they love you back. And no, it’s not all about worshipping celebrities. It’s about discovering what you enjoy about their work. Try to think on a local level, too – there are all kinds of local artists pretty much everywhere who would love to hear some honest-to-goodness praise of their work.
- Your favorite family member who makes you feel loved and special.
Small gestures mean a lot. I know that when my niece insists that I sit next to her at our family holiday dinners, I feel beams of love emanating from my heart. Maybe you can do something similar with a beloved family member that causes their heart to burst with joy.
- Your work and career.
Yes, some people really do fall in love with the work they do and the difference they make in their world. I know many who are crazy about their profession. Loving your career can be one of the most rewarding and fruitful things you do. Not wild about your career? It’s time we work together to make some changes in your life!
When we engage with Nature, we open the door to our intelligence, notice the lessons to be learned, and see that everything has its own purpose, rhythm and balance. We learn from Nature about how to truly be who we are — that is, to be in full and open self-expression. Nature also gives us an easy and powerful way to work in the realm of soul ~ even a small amount of time in Nature can awaken the Sacred within. Engaging with Nature is about opening to the possibility that the entire universe is a resource for growth.
- Your life and life itself.
If you can fall in love with life — your life — then you’ll live each day with a full and open heart. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?