“All of me, loves all of you. Love your curves and all your edges. All your perfect imperfections.”

Oooh, there’s just something about John Legend’s song All Of Me that gets me every time. (I listen to it quite often. It’s made several playlists for my romance novels.)

What a beautiful way to talk about love, about romance, about accepting someone heart and soul, everything they bring to the table.

It’s the month of love – and I love talking about relationships. This is the perfect month to think about the people in your life, and how much they mean to you.

We’re taught that’s what love should be about. Especially in today’s times, where we believe love should be everything.

We want a spouse or partner that gets us. One that really sees us, hears us, listens to what we have to say.

And we’ll do anything for that love. Especially as women.

We’re taught to give our all. We put everyone else’s needs above our own. And we move through our lives that way. Year after year.

I’ve had multiple conversations with women who are suddenly faced with an empty nest, and they have no clue as to what to do next. They’ve given their all to their family, to their kids, to their spouse, and now that the kids are adults and out living their own lives, they are lost, wondering what’s next. They have so much time on their hands, and not a clue what they should do.

Giving our all sometimes means we take away from giving to ourselves. When your focus is spent 24/7 on everything around you, you forget the most important person in the equation … You!

The “You Complete Me” Nonsense

I’ve been a sucker for romance novels and those feel-good rom-coms on television for years. In fact, I’d even say they influenced how I approached love.

It went even deeper than that. My grandmother had an 8th grade education. My mom wanted desperately to go to college, but settled for secretary school instead when her parents wouldn’t pay – you’ll just get married anyway, they told her.

I hold no grudge with the words above. It’s simply a sign of the times. But that background influenced who I am today because of the words I heard in my daily life.

You need a man to complete you. It was an underlying assumption. I could go to school, get a degree, stand on my own two feet. But at the end of the day, I needed a man to survive.

Think about what that means. If you look for someone to complete you, that implies that you are anything but whole. That you can never be a complete person on your own. That you’re broken somehow, and you need someone else to patch that hole. That you cannot be complete, cannot grow, cannot thrive, without joining with someone else as a part of your survival.

What!?

We believe that in our teens, twenties, and thirties. Maybe that’s a part of the mating ritual. Maybe it’s ingrained in us so we will procreate.

I see that slipping away as I age. In my forties and fifties, I love my husband very much. But I’ve found that it’s no longer about survival, I can do that just fine on my own. I love him because of the way he thinks, the way he makes me think, the person he is, and the person I am around him. We grew together, and I’m grateful.

Happiness Factor

Many years ago, when I was first starting my entrepreneur journey, I attended classes and expos and training regularly. I was a self-help junkie, always looking for education and knowledge on … well, everything.

I might go to a three-day seminar to learn entrepreneurial skills. But as I wove my way through the class schedule, attending keynotes and filling in with classes to help me grow, I discovered what I call the “Happiness Factor.”

I sat in a seminar where an instructor asked if we were happy. I nodded lightly, my mind instantly moving to the problems in my life.

I was happy, in some ways. But at the same time, I had a lot of things I wanted to change. I wanted more clients, more income, a bigger house, a better car. Yep, the American Dream in all its glory.

Then she went on.

If you aren’t happy now, today, you’ll never be happy in the future. Because if it takes something to strive for to make you happy, there will always be something else to reach for. When your dream comes true, you’ll want bigger dreams.

Happiness is a state of mind. You either have it or you don’t. That’s what you should strive for.

Wow! Mind blown.

I can’t say I’ve always been successful at it, but those words definitely changed my approach.

Of course, it also applies to other things in your life too.

Happiness comes from within.

Love comes from within.

Peace comes from within.

Yep, there’s a trend here. And it always leads back to me.

Skip The Love, Give Me Romance

I’ve been big on self-care for a very long time. But over the last year, I’ve noticed it’s taken on new meaning. It’s not just about self-love, I think it’s moved to self-romance.

Romance is all about the excitement and mystery of love. It’s tiny surprises. It’s indulging in feel-good.

And in the middle of a pandemic, I think it’s something we all need now more than ever.

Why can’t self-care be about the romance? It’s how you treat yourself. It’s the tiny things you do to feel good. It’s what you do to keep your happiness up.

It’s dancing to Grease show tunes because you can.

It’s about walking every day, breathing fresh air, listening to the birds, watching an eagle soar.

It’s lighting a candle because you enjoy the scent.

It’s slipping a ring on your finger because you bought it FOR YOU.

It’s choosing to watch Bridgerton because it’s sexy as hell and you love the way it makes YOU feel! (Rege-Jean Page, yes, please!)

Romance is about excitement. And excitement comes from the little things.

But it does start with one thing: Awareness.

I’m working my way through a 6 week guide from Julia Cameron called The Listening Path. You might have read her book The Artist’s Way before. (And if you haven’t, pick both of them up today.)

In the book, you’re challenged each week to listen in a new way. To listen to the environment around you, and to listen to the relationships present in your life.

Remember the children’s game telephone, where you went around the circle whispering a phrase to one another? The last person would state what they heard, and it almost always was completely different from the simple concept the game started out with.

Listening takes work, even when you focus on it. You might hear what’s going on around you, but what about what’s inside you?

Are you giving yourself permission for a little excitement? Are you romancing your own life?

Sing loudly now …

I just listened to All Of Me once more. Call me a hopeless romantic at heart.

When you’re in touch with your own depth, when you know deep down who you really are, you have more to give.

Maybe it’s time to change the words to the song just a little:

All of me, loves all of ME!
I love my curves and all my edges.
I LOVE my perfect imperfections!

You too?