April 24, 2014

What Does It Mean to Be a Romantic? ~ Freya Watson

Photo: Elen Maggs via Pixoto

‘There’s something so familiar about you,’ she’d said, those happy eyes smiling up into his. ‘It’s like I know you’. He knew what she’d meant—it was the same for him… Later it seemed like the ultimate in romantic illusion… an illusion that had swept t hem along in those early honeymoon days, when the reality of being parents and having to share the management of a household hadn’t yet hit them. Perhaps they should have thought about the practical side a little longer, made sure they fully understood the demands it would make of them.’

(from A Heart to Share by Freya Watson)

Romantics have a hard time.

They are the visionaries and the dreamers. They see possibilities that others don’t and they believe in them wholeheartedly.

They live with their hearts firmly pinned to their sleeves and care more for love than for practicality.

They wish that the world felt the same.

As long as the world delivers according to their expectations, they greet each morning with open arms and a smile that comes straight from the heart. When it doesn’t, it hits them particularly hard and can send them spinning into a depression from which they don’t always recover.

We’re all different combinations of spirit and matter. Each of us has a particular way of expressing ourselves in the world, a certain emotional make-up, a characteristic way of thinking. And when two people meet and start a relationship, they gradually become entwined.

The longer the relationship continues, the deeper their energetic patterns become enmeshed.

When those two people are romantics, the early stages of the relationship can be the most magical time – a heaven on earth. Each is supported in their visions and hopes by the other.

Finally, they’ve found someone who shares their optimism for life, someone who understands their dreams—even if the dreams and visions have never been clearly articulated. These are the couples who speak of having found a soul mate or twin flame while others, who may be less romantically-inclined, look on in wonder and disbelief at their apparent naivety.

The thing is, romantics are more naturally attuned to the world of spirit than matter, although they may not know it. They more easily perceive the deeper realities of life, the innate worthiness of others. They have no difficulty in believing in ‘happy ever after’ because, at some level, they are anchored to a place where all is well—the realm of the soul.

What they struggle with, though, is the more mundane, human aspects of relating which become ever-increasingly relevant the longer they are together.

They may have the wonderful gift of seeing each other’s potential but completely miss the fact that they jointly lack some of the skills needed to handle household finances or cope with parenting. Two romantics may make for an incredible love-affair but their combined lack of interest in, or aptitude for, physical reality can create a very difficult environment for a long-term relationship to flourish.

If some of us are more naturally attuned to spirit, there are many who are more anchored to the material aspects of the world. These are the people who seem to navigate daily realities with relative ease, perhaps not having such grand expectations of their relationships and understanding that anything worth having needs to be worked at.

They may not see the same possibilities or envision heaven on earth, but they make solid friends and acquaintances who can give sound advice and a shoulder to lean on when their less-practical companions’ dreams aren’t working out.

Life has a funny way of trying to balance things out, though. Those more comfortable being focused in the material world often find themselves prompted to discover their spiritual aspects as years go by. And us poor old romantics are often thrown a few curve balls to help us develop our more material sides.

To put it another way, the world eventually challenges romantics to find ways of grounding their dreams in the same way that it challenges ‘realists’ to broaden their perspective beyond the material.

This is the stage at which many run for cover.

For romantics, it often means the disintegration of relationships into bitter disenchantment as dreams lie ruined in the face of everyday reality. New lovers are found, bringing new hopes, and old ones are judged as false and discarded. Or else we retreat from the world, nursing our wounds in private and perhaps even turning hard, let down by lovers and life that failed to deliver on our expectations.

‘All romantics meet the same fate, some day cynical and drunk, and boring someone in some dark cafe.’

(from ‘The Last Time I Saw Richard’ by Joni Mitchell)

I do wonder, though, if romantics and romantic couples were more aware of their true nature whether they might be more able to find ways of handling what life inevitably throws at them without giving up on their dreams or their relationships.

From a young age, many romantics are discouraged from actively dreaming—either being told off for living in their imaginations or encouraged to participate in more mainstream views of how things are instead. But unlike those of a more practical disposition who tend to focus their energy externally, the energy of many young romantics is initially directed internally before it can be given external expression.

Dreaming is vital to their natural way of being and to their happiness, and without being allowed permission to explore their inner landscapes they start to lose their way and themselves, cut off from their source.

Most of us are ill-equipped to become something other than who we really are. Romantics are natural dreamers and encouraging them to be anything other than that will end up in unhappiness not only for themselves but also for those close to them.

Not only is dreaming essential for romantics, it is also important for society in general. It is a dreamer who can see possibilities which others can’t see—whether that is a relationship’s highest potential or the opportunities for peace in a war-torn country.

It is part of nature’s balance to have people who are more tuned into possibilities than actualities, as well as the other way round.

I’m not saying that if they are given space to dream, all will be well in their world. Even if we understand and accept how important imagination and visioning is in our world, we romantics inevitably face the fact that others regularly fail to deliver what we’d like. And there is always the temptation to reject either our dreams or what’s happening in the physical world, as if a choice has to be made between them.

That’s not how it works, though. We don’t have to trade one for the other. We don’t have to reject our romantic natures in favor of a less-romantic view of the world, nor do we have to retreat permanently from the world. It’s just that dreams take time and energy in order to manifest.

Sometimes we simply need to look for support in navigating the world more easily and to accept that our dreams are our own responsibility rather than depending on another for delivery.

We can take it a step further as well. What if we considered part of our life purpose to be bridge-building between the worlds? If it is romantics who see more inspired options where others may not, who have a natural ability to see someone’s essence rather than simply their surface, then surely they are the ones who can start drawing that vision into a concrete reality.

As they increasingly believe in the relevance of their dreams and reach upwards to the realms of inspiration and creativity, they can draw down into daily reality that energy and help to create the world which most of us aspire to live in. It becomes a cycle which needs to be constantly refreshed. A vision is dreamed—then the dream needs to be integrated somehow into life—the reality is lived for a while, only to be reconsidered at some point—then the dream needs to be revisited and refreshed.

We may struggle with the process of having to do this dirty work and wish it wasn’t part of our journey, but ultimately romantics may find that there is far greater satisfaction in grounding dreams than in constantly turning away from the challenges which that inevitably brings. And others will benefit too from romantics leading the way in showing how dreams can, indeed, be brought to life through happy relationships, peaceful communities or other yet-to-be-imagined ways of living.


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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Pixoto

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