By: Jeanine DeHoney
When you think of being romanced, what comes to mind? Nights with your special someone who whispers sweet nothings in your ear as you sip wine under a moonlit sky?
Past Valentine’s Days when your partner created a heart made of rose petals followed by a full body massage with aromatic oils? A friend once told me while in the midst of a new love, “Romance causes you to skip out the door, sing in the car, and shout like you’re listening to a sermon in church on a Sunday morning!”
So how do you begin a romantic relationship solo? Here are seven ways to romance and love yourself by integrating personal pleasures into your life.
1. Create a romantic space.
Your home should be a place where you not only unwind, but also where your physical, spiritual and emotional aspects of yourself can be cultivated and bloom. How true rings the mantra, “We can’t completely love anyone else (or even fully accept love) if we don’t love ourselves.” We have to “love on” ourselves just as purposely, soulfully, and as often as we love on our significant others. Creating a romantic, private space – such as in your bedroom, is your life insurance policy, a guiding principle for to ensure you do not become an empty vessel.
Here, you can think about your goals and dreams, meditate or pray. Create a romantic space by filling it with things you love such as a painting by your favorite local artist, scented candles, back copies of your favorite magazines, and of course a journal coupled with a set of colored pens and pencils to doodle with.
2. Buy your own bouquet.
Who doesn’t love receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers from his or her special someone? Become your own love bug and buy yourself a bouquet just because you’re phenomenal, or because you nailed the audition, or finished writing the first chapter of your novel. Don’t forget to sign the card, “XoXo, To Me.”
3. Have breakfast in bed.
It’s always romantic to be served breakfast in bed on special occasions by your partner and/or children. Breakfast in bed shouldn’t be just limited to Mother’s Day, your anniversary or birthday, however. Choose a day – any day, when you’re primarily free and alone. Turn off all electronics and bring your bamboo breakfast tray to your bedroom, topped with your favorite morning foods. Pair that with a pot of herbal tea to indulge in your mini retreat.
4. Dance solo.
Dancing is sensual. Love yourself through dance. While you work out your body, soul, and mind, wrap your arms around your curves, while your favorite playlist of love songs hums in the background.
5. Appreciate your bare view.
It feels good to see our partner eyeing us with appreciation of our bare bodies, but when we stand naked in front of a mirror, we tend to focus on physical flaws instead of our fineness. Choose to regularly stand in front of a full-length mirror in the buff and shower yourself with loving, affirming words. Praise your naturally curly or kinky hair, your full nose and lips, your love handles. Call what you used to label “flaws,” your unique beauty marks.
6. Write a love letter to yourself.
I remember finding a love letter from my grandmother to my grandfather when he was in the army. From her simple words I could tell how profound their love was and realized the power of a love letter. I’ve always written love letters to my husband but a few years ago when I was feeling low-spirited I began to write love letters to myself. Love letters are tangible reminders of what you love about yourself, a place where you can list all of your innate gifts. Write one on fancy stationary, place it in an envelope and scent it with your favorite perfume. Put a wax seal stamp on the back of your envelope and open it whenever you need a mental boost.
7. Be present.
It’s easy to be present and shut out the world when your partner is romancing you. Our challenge is being present during normal day-to-day activities. Today be present and truly listen when a friend is talking. No checking text messages on your phone. No distractions. Eat your meals slowly and enjoy the bounty of food, the colors, and the aromas in front of you instead of rushing through them. Throw yourself into a full play session with your children instead of worrying about the dirty dishes in the sink. Being present helps you to savor all aspects of your life.
When you get into the habit of romancing yourself, the romantic gestures of your partner will be the delicious icing on your sweet, self-love cake.
About the Writer:
As a freelance writer Jeanine DeHoney has had her writing published in Essence Magazine, Divine Caroline, Upscale Magazine, Black Secrets, Black Romance, Timbuktu, and countless other notable publications. She is an essayist in “Chicken Soup for the African American Woman’s Soul” and the “Whispering Angel Book: Living Lessons.” She was a 2013 finalist in the Brooklyn Art and Film Festivals Nonfiction Contest and the 2014 Winner of the Brooklyn Art and Film Festivals Nonfiction.