One way I think about romance is two human beings bringing themselves fully to each other in that moment. It is not necessarily sexual or sensuous. Romance occurs when full intention and full presence is given to another. It is the key to what makes moments and relationships special. We create romantic moments with friends, lovers and strangers alike, simply by being fully there—with them and for them—in the moment.
Romanticizing is the act of making something more out of a “less than romantic” situation. Romancing is a reality while romanticizing is a fantasy. Through romance we discover a whole new level of self and love. By romanticizing we create a world of fantasy, usually as a means of escape. While romance is usually all about acceptance and honesty, romanticizing usually involves some form of self-deceit.
Romanticizing could be making something appear better than it seems, or communicating that you are a romanticized hero or victim based on how you are dealing with your circumstances.
In this age of 24-hour multi-tasking, communicating romance is becoming scarce while romanticizing is becoming a way of life for some.
Romanticizing at the Expense of Romance?
While some will not want to face this fact, some of the most frequent tweeters and “Facebookers “are the best at romanticizing their life, but they do so at the expense of losing romance in their own lives. I’m not referring to those who use these technologies to stay in touch with friends, or even those professionals who make use of creating a slew of followers and friends.
Here’s the deal… If you are busy tweeting during dinner out with your spouse, or ‘liking’ your friend’s status while in a conversation with someone, or trolling for updates while you spend time with your kids, you are missing out on bringing everything you have to that moment. This makes it difficult to find and keep a romantic relationship with those whom you care about most.
And here’s an ironic twist to those who are unwittingly romanticizing away romance. Nearly 70% of adults say they are not honest on social networking sites.* So not only are those who tweet while talking, or Facebook during a face-to-face chat, losing romantic opportunities to create a fuller life, they are probably engaged in some form of deceit beyond romanticizing.
Now I don’t mean to say that social media sites, texting, tweeting, cell phones and email are bad; in fact I use them often and rely heavily on my portable devices to keep up with my clients and travel. So what’s the big deal?
The big deal is the cost. If deceit is a loss or denial of true self, and romanticizing is a loss or denial of true romance, then tweeting, texting and facebooking while in the presence of others is not being productive. If it becomes a habit or a way of life, it can easily lead to a life that is empty of romance and adrift of authenticity.
I’ll end this modern day message of love by sharing two maxims that the ancient Greeks thought to be so important that they carved them into the temple wall of the ancient Oracle at Delphi.
Know thyself (gnōthi seautón)
Nothing in excess (mēdén ágan)
And perhaps in our modern times we would add a third maxim…nothing in excess, especially if it prevents one from finding the romance of truly knowing thyself.
(c) Joe Caruso and Caruso Leadership, 2011.
*USA TODAY Snapshot, Feb 2011