Have you ever seen Romancing the Stone, a movie starring Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas that was made in 1984? It was a wild ride of a film billed as a “high-flying romance adventure.” I think I liked it, but I don’t actually remember.
And really, that doesn’t even matter. I’m not here to discuss movies with you. It just so happened that, as I prepared to write this February blog post, I remembered that in February we celebrate one of my least-favorite holidays: Valentine’s Day. For me all of the hype and commercialism, not to mention the sledge-hammer-like focus on romantic love, is contrived and numbing.
Thankfully those thoughts came into my mind as I was sitting down to meditate, so I didn’t engage with them. I didn’t let them steer me to a grumpy, cynical place. Instead I let them drift away as I invited my awareness to expand.
So there I was, sitting in the welcome peace of a quiet mind, when the words, “Romancing the Stone” suddenly appeared, followed by a few blurry images of Michael and Kathleen in a jungle. I started to inwardly chuckle at the improbability of that particular movie showing up in my awareness.
Then my mind jumped back to the movie title itself: Romancing the Stone. It struck me that it was the perfect title for my February article. I thanked my Large Self for that inspiration and continued with my meditation, silently wondering how on earth I was going to create an article out of a movie title.
After meditating I stayed in my big comfy chair for a little while and my mind wandered back to those words: Romancing the Stone. And then it hit me.
The most fundamental relationship in our lives is the one we have with ourselves. How we understand, view, think about and treat ourselves forms the vibrational container in which all of our relationships take shape. And in that primary, life-giving relationship, many people have hearts of stone. They don’t love themselves.
Some people don’t even like themselves very much. And even those who do – those who have a clear sense of their strengths and talents and the confidence to develop and share them – don’t always know what it really mean to love themselves. They have a tendency to “love” themselves only when they have accomplished something, and they have little tolerance for their mistakes and perceived character flaws. They think they are holding themselves to high standards when they take themselves to task for their failures, but what they’re really doing is judging and condemning themselves.
And if you’ve heard me say this once, you’ll hear me say it a thousand times: self-judgment will never, ever, EVER get you where you want to go.
But love will. And only love will.
The kind of love I’m talking about is deep, abiding and unconditional. It’s the “I love myself no matter what” kind of love. In truth, it’s the “No matter what I’m experiencing now, deep down I know that I’m an extension of the Divine, so I am uniquely and infinitely worthy of love” kind of love.
It’s an ongoing choice and commitment to stand with ourselves, to support and encourage ourselves, to advocate for ourselves, to listen to ourselves, to respect ourselves, to speak our truth to ourselves, to forgive ourselves, to follow our own guidance.
It’s a love big enough allow our mistakes without judgment, and it’s a love wise enough to see our mistakes as evidence that we’re growing, not failing.
So where does romance fit into all of this?
As I reflected on the qualities and expressions of self-love, it occurred to me that romance has a light touch, which is the perfect antidote to the heaviness of self-judgment that turns our hearts to stone. It is inherently kind, caring and uplifting.
To me the essential quality of romance is one of unexpected thoughtfulness. The message it sends is, “You are precious to me and I love thinking of ways to surprise and delight you!”
Isn’t that a beautiful message to receive?
Isn’t it the perfect message to send to ourselves, each and every one of us?
So I say, regardless of whether you’re in a romantic relationship with someone else or not, and regardless of whether you even want to be in a romantic relationship with someone else if you’re not already in one, and regardless of whether the relationship you may be in is wonderful or whether you’d like to see it grow in new ways, let’s challenge the notion that Valentine’s day is only about celebrating a relationship with someone else.
Let’s dedicate this Valentine’s Day to doing something unexpectedly thoughtful for ourselves.
Let’s romance the stone of our judgy-wudgy hearts.
(Many thanks to the writers of Sex & the City for that priceless phrase which somehow, in just two words, admonishes us in a light-hearted way to stop the judgments, already!)
What might you do that you haven’t done in a long time, or perhaps have never done, that would absolutely delight you? What would make you smile or laugh or feel appreciated? What might instill a sense of wonder in you? What could help you feel beautiful? What might give you a thrill to try? How might you feed your senses in a fresh way?
Spend some quality time actually reflecting on these questions or creating questions of your own to stimulate ideas. No, really, I mean it. See what it’s like to consider yourself worthy of being cherished and romanced. Figure out what lights you up. Devote to this the kind of time and energy you would devote to planning a surprise for someone you dearly love.
Because that’s what you’re doing.
If you feel awkward or resistant or in any other way unenthusiastic about this, just acknowledge your feelings, breathe through them – and keep going. Dare to actually do something unexpectedly thoughtful for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, although it certainly could be. (Wouldn’t that be exhilarating?)
It just has to be genuine. And it has to feel good to you.
And with a little luck – and a decision to not wait another year before you do something like this again – it might just start dissolving that stone taking up precious space in your heart.
It might even help you remember who you really are.
Copyright © 2018
Suzanne E. Eder