So, a while back, I was bored and scrolling through YouTube when I came across this video from an aesthetic lifestyle YouTuber that was called something like “how to romanticize your life.” Curious, I clicked the link and watched the video. It was a very pretty, delicate, aesthetic video, but something about it troubled me and for a few days I couldn’t figure out what it was. Finally, it struck me what my issue with the video was: it was incredibly materialistic in its basis, and, on top of that, most of the activities it suggested doing in order to “romanticize your life” were things that required a lot of money.
Now, I’m not trying to shame anyone for their wealth or their lifestyle, but, this vlogger was trying to pitch her version of “romanticizing your life” as being something that could help ease your struggles and stress in the midst of a fast-moving, productivity-obsessed world. But the only people who’d be able to access her version of this would be the upper middle class and the wealthy. And, to utilize a famous quote, “If it is not accessible to the poor, it is neither radical nor revolutionary.”
Beyond that, there is also a larger issue with materialistic self care and romanticization. It’s that if you’re basing your happiness on materialistic things, your happiness will inevitably run out when you no longer have access to those things. Hence why basing your “self care” on a “treat yo’ self!” mentality eventually falls apart. Sure, it’d be romantic to go out to a bakery and buy some freshly baked bread, as this vlogger suggested. But is your life any less romantic for not being able to afford it? I’d say not.
This got me thinking on how I’d personally define “romanticizing your life,” and what I came down to is that “romanticizing your life” is a mindset, rather than a lifestyle. Which, of course, means that it’s inherently accessible to everyone. So, what do I think are the key components of such a mindset? Well, friends, today that’s what I’d like to share with you…
- Being Intentional About Noticing Beauty In Everything Around You A friend once asked me for advice because she was feeling kinda blue. She told me that she was feeling like she would be resigned to accepting that life was just a series of monotonous events strung between very few “big moments of joy,” such as graduating or getting married or something similar. So I gave her my perspective, which differed greatly from hers and which is this: There is magic in the ordinary, “small” moments, if only we choose to intentionally notice and appreciate it. Every morning you wake up and it’s a miracle. Every moment you live on and the universe keeps moving forward, and there’s so much beauty in that. And I know it can seem like the quiet days can drag on sometimes, but those quiet times? Those are the times we dream of going back to when the going gets tough. So we should enjoy them when we have them, even if they’re not the most “worldshakingly astounding” events, right? I think so and I think recognizing the quiet, ordinary magic that literally everything in life has is the first key to “romanticizing” your life.”
- Making Self Love A Priority Look, as someone who faces a continuous struggle with depression and anxiety, I know this one is a lot harder than it seems. Nevertheless, we must persist, dear friends! So what do I mean by “self love,” exactly? I think pop culture has created a very shallow idea of self love and self care for us, when practicing self love is so much more than bubble baths and repeating mantras to yourself—it’s honest to god work! Yes, “self love” can take the form of splurging on a pretty top, but it can also take the form of taking three minutes to meditate or cultivating habits such as taking a walk once or twice a week or making dinner or cleaning or showering even when you don’t feel like it. Practicing self love can also be kinda painful at times when it means stopping negative thought sprials or caring for yourself when you don’t feel like you’re worth it. But it’s through these small, sometimes difficult steps that we begin to make our lives better and to free up mental space to recognize more often and be grateful for the beauty and magic of life and our own existence.
- Making Space Within Yourself This one kind of piggybacks off the previous two, but I think it’s equally important. I think, especially in The West, we live very busy, fast paced, noisy lives, where we don’t really know how to feel comfortable slowing down our lives, thoughts, and emotions to the point where we can be intentional with and about them. I’m pretty sure this is one reason why DBT, or mindfulness-based therapy, is so popular with (and difficult for) Westerners. That all being said, I think making space within yourself, within your thoughts and emotions, so that you can intentionally notice the world around you and your reactions to it is really crucial to “romanticizing your life”! Think of it like this: if you don’t make space in a room to add more to it, you’ll end up with a room which has no space for what you love to have a place in it, because it’s already too full. Your mind is like the room, and your thoughts and emotions are all the “stuff” you’re filling it with. If you try to stuff the room of your mind full of all of the thoughts and emotions that you’re hanging onto, instead of allowing those thoughts and emotions to float through and only intentionally keeping the relevant ones, you won’t have the mental space to hang onto the recognition of the good and beautiful things in life.
- Allowing Yourself Space To Feel “Negative” Emotions Too Look, we all know life isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. As a matter of fact, I’d say the only quality of life that’s pretty consistent is that it’s hard work! And you know what? Sometimes that wears you down and that’s okay. A lot of people view emotions like anger or sadness (among others) as “bad” or “wrong.” But guess what—I couldn’t disagree more. You’re emotions are never “negative,” but the ways in which you express them can sometimes be. Sometimes anger or sadness or frustration or lonliness are the correct emotion to feel. And it’s important to take time to remember that. Allow yourself to feel those emotions fully in order to let them pass. I find that doing this gives me great comfort in times when I am feeling those “less desireable” emotions, and allows me to let go of them so that I have the emotional space to be at peace and/or happy once again.
So, friends, that’s all for today. Life can be so fast-paced and demanding sometimes that it can really help to stop and take a moment to notice the beauty of being alive. And that’s where romanticizing your life can really help you find your footing and feel you have room to breathe. That being said, I hope you may have found something useful when it comes to “romanticizing your life” in today’s post! Until next time, dear friends…