For the Love of the Sublime, Romanticize Your Lifeby Kinga Lewandowska
As the hours advance towards the end of another day, week or month, do you feel there should be more to life? That maybe you’ve been gliding on the surface of reality, unable to experience the kind of depth that would give you a sense of meaning? Then you need to fall in love with your life again. And if you’re in need of advice on how to find that je ne sais quoi in mundanity, you’re in the right place.
The Emma Watson Way
Whether you’re in a stable relationship, presently looking for your significant other or perfectly happy and whole on your own, self-love is crucial to infusing your life with romance. It’s the starting point of every other kind of love. And, more importantly, the quality of your life is directly linked to how you respect yourself.
Who says Valentine’s Day has to be THE love day? Pick your own anniversary, the sacred time of honoring yourself. However you want to go about is perfect. Whether you commemorate something that actually happened or close your eyes and land a finger on an arbitrary date in the calendar, block anything from a few minutes to half a day to do yoga, enjoy a cup of your favorite coffee, take a pottery class, or watch a movie by yourself. Choose you. Note that you’re free to pick more than one such special day in a year, preferably at least once a week (no joke).
Show yourself some love. Take care of your health on a daily basis –– the stronger you are, the more self-loved you will feel. Schedule time for what makes you happy, gua sha your way to rest, prioritize relaxation — add a healthy dose of egoism to your lifestyle and you’ll be happier for it. You know what you need. Do more of that.
“If you inherently long for something, become it first. If you want gardens, become the gardener. If you want love, embody love. If you want mental stimulation, change the conversation. If you want peace, exude calmness. If you want to fill your world with artists, begin to paint. If you want to be valued, respect your own time. If you want to live ecstatically, find the ecstasy within yourself. This is how to draw it in, day by day, inch by inch.”
― Victoria Erickson
The Romantic Poet Way
If we want to romanticize our lives, let’s go directly to the experts. Romanticism as a movement began in the late 19th century in response to The Age of Enlightenment. It leads with emotion and feeling, stands in opposition to reason, and is less structural than other art movements and the scientific examination of the world. Artists, poets, or musicians of that era were essentially guided by their hearts.
What we want to focus on in the context of this article is how Romanticism distinguishes a second type of beauty — the sublime. We normally perceive the world in terms of its aesthetic value, the surface pulchritude, which makes perfect sense as these are the elements of reality we see straight away. The sublime goes further.
In A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful, Edmund Burke characterized the sublime as the experience of the infinite. You know that overwhelming feeling when you listen to a song or admire a painting and something in it resonates with you so deeply that you need to sit down and remember how to breathe? That’s the sublime speaking.
These moments are the building blocks of a romantic life. When a majestic landscape takes your breath away, or a particular sculpture in a museum appears as if it was about to come to life — embrace the sublime. Next time you read a poem, pause and try to feel the words on the page. There is so much more to life than meets the eye but we need to keep our hearts in the receiving mode to understand that.
Here are a few ideas on how to live like a romantic poet and gain a deeper appreciation for the sublime around you:
First of all, if you want to turn your life into art, you need to experience it. Visit a museum, listen to live music, express yourself through dancing, or even go on Pinterest and create a mood board with imagery that sparked the sublime within you.
Then, read, far and wide, to find the type of storytelling that will captivate you. Books will help you start narrating your own life, say, in a journal. Tell yourself about your day in a way that will make you appreciate the events of the past few hours. Play with various forms — compose a lyric, movie script, or short story — never a dull moment with this strategy.
To help you notice more of the sublime around you (and within you), start a YT channel or an Instagram account — both will help you focus on what’s worth sharing with your audience (even if it’s a dozen of your closest friends). Look for everyday magic: a droplet of rain bouncing on a leaf, a teenager helping an elderly person cross the street, that beautiful shadow on your coffee table, the sound of trees in a local park, or a star-studded sky — anything that moves something within you has the potential to add value to somebody else’s day.
Last but not least, add a soundtrack to your life. A workout, dinner party, or morning walk to work will feel very different with an artsy soundscape. Music can elevate any moment to the best one of the day.
The Intelligent Change Way
At Intelligent Change, we wholeheartedly believe in the effectiveness of all of the above solutions. However, we always ensure to make room for gratitude and mindfulness in every day.
We believe in minimalism. In the literal sense it’s filling your surroundings only with what is useful or brings you joy. Declutter your space. Ponder how much value certain things (and people) add to your life. When we take time to reassess what to keep and what to discard, most often we end up feeling lighter, with a sensation comparable to that of freshly laundered bedsheets. Divine, right? And oh, how romantic. In the literal and metaphorical sense, you create more space for new self-love gifts.
We can declutter and deep-clean anything: our houses, our social circles, our daily routines. The Five Minute Journal is a toothbrush for the mind, yet in order to properly invest our time and energy into practicing gratitude, we need mental space for it. Once we have it, all of a sudden it’s easier to be still, more sensitive to the sublime, and more intentional in whatever we do. We grow to be more mindful of what keeps our glass always half full, we gain necessary perspective, and we are able to not only receive love but also share it.
With the attitude of gratitude, we trust-fall into average moments and transform them into bliss. However hard it might sometimes be, when you fall in love with your life, it will start exceeding your expectations.
Some lives are easier to romanticize than others but the smallest changes can make a big difference. We can reframe the narrative of anything in order to see the most mundane or even painful experiences in a new light. Where there is rain, there’s a potential for a beautiful rainbow. Reframing something so beyond our control as bad weather will help you develop a sense of belonging in your own life. That is truly romantic. Let love in.
“I choose to live by choice, not by chance; to make changes, not excuses; to be motivated, not manipulated; to be useful, not used; to excel, not to compete. I choose self-esteem, not self-pity. I choose to listen to my inner voice, not the random opinion of others. I choose to be me.”
― Miranda Marrott