I am so thrilled to introduce Masafumi Matsumoto to you. From the moment I started tweeting about Romance he was there with so much joy and enthusiasm about the topic I was blown away. I already shared his Define Your Romance and Live A Romantic Life post with you on Monday and his entire site is a treasure trove of Romantic inspiration. We are lucky to have him join us for Romance Week.
I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.
Vincent Van Gogh
I’ve got something important to tell you. You are an artist and your life is your art. You create this artwork of yours by living your life. Whether it will turn out to be a masterpiece for you or a total junk for you… is up to you. You will be the judge of your artwork and no one else.
I’m curious. What kind of life do you want to create as your art?
I want to create my art by living a romantic life. I came to realize that I want to live my life this way about a year ago, and I’ve been telling people about it and sharing my thoughts on living a romantic life since then.
The word ‘romantic’ might mean different things to different people. So, let me clarify what I mean by ‘romantic’. For me, being romantic is about loving people, loving what you do, loving things around you, loving things you experience, and loving yourself.
The way I create my life – my art – is to love what’s in my life.
It sounds really simple, right? But, it can be daunting for some. After all, you need to have courage to love. You need to go beyond your fear of rejections and you need to be able to stand strong no matter what. I was afraid of loving as well as being loved to some extent, so I can understand how scary it can be to let yourself love and be loved. I’m still working on it and it’s my life long mission to learn to love more and to be loved more.
But understand this. You can make a choice to love. What really matters is whether you make that choice or not.
If you are delighted to make this choice, I want to share with you some insights I learned from my experiences. These insights would help you love more and create your romantic life.
Let me begin with the most important thing in living a romantic life: Your relationship with yourself. It is the most important relationship you can have. This is the foundation of your romantic life.
If you can’t love yourself… that is, if you can’t accept who you are, you can’t be fully comfortable about being loved or can’t give the best gift of love you can give to others – your authentic self.
Loving yourself is, I believe, a must for being authentic. When you are authentic, you can express your thoughts and feelings for people you love. You are not afraid of rejections.
If you can share who you are, including your strengths as well as your vulnerabilities, with people you love, it is as a gift you can give to them.
So, what can you do to love yourself more? In fact, what can you do to love more and make your life more romantic?
Here’s 14 actions you can take to be an artist of your romantic life. Some are easy habitual changes. Others need you to make some effort.
1. Stop saying negative things about yourself
Whenever you feel like saying negative things about yourself either out loud or in your head, stop it. Make it your new habit and see what happens.
2. Just say thank you when you receive compliments
It’s a variation of the above, but when you receive compliments, don’t say anything that dials yourself down. If someone gives you a compliment, take it as it’s given.
3. Take care of your health
Eat properly, exercise regularly and sleep well. Taking care of your health is one way of loving yourself. What can you do today to keep yourself fit? This week? This month?
4. Accept who you are
Whoever you are or you aren’t and whatever you have and you don’t have, you are who you are. When you think about who you are, stop making evaluative judgements like “I’m a valuable person, because I’m this way… but I’m a bad person, because I’m that way…” and just think of ‘this way’ and ‘that way’ about yourself.
5. Believe in yourself
When you believe in yourself, you are doing an act of loving yourself. You’ll also get confidence by doing it, because confidence is about believing in yourself.
Sure, you might make mistakes, but when you believe in yourself, what you really believe is not that you are perfect, but that you can recover and stand up again.
Can you think of any past experience where you made a big mistake, but managed to recover from it? I’m sure you have some experiences like that. And that means you can stand up again and again.
6. Be honest with yourself
Desiring is OK. What do you want to do? What would you do if you could do anything? Write down your desires and be honest with yourself.
7. Strive for excellence
Striving for excellence is how you manifest your trust in yourself and your potentials. If you believe in yourself, push yourself further and see what you can do. By trying to see your potentials that way, you are striving for excellence and you will be more excellent.
Did you write down what you would do if you could do anything in #6? Pick one and you can work on it!
8. Learn from everything and everyone
This attitude is a must, because it will help you appreciate and celebrate whatever happens to you and whoever you meet. Before complaining about things or people, think if you can learn anything from them.
Did something annoying happen to you recently? What can you learn from it?
9. Be curious
Make curiosity the driving force of your life. When you choose to be curious, you will not be defeated by fear. You will enjoy what you do and curiosity will take you further.
(Hint: In a romantic context, show your genuine curiosity towards people you are interested. Who are they? What are their dreams? What’s important to them? What makes them sad?)
10. Look for beauty
Make it your habit to look for beauty in your surroundings. What’s beautiful about where you are right now? What’s beautiful about the person you are talking with? If you master how to bring out the beauty in everything and everyone, you will be surrounded by beauty everywhere.
11. Create and cultivate connections with people you love
I believe making deep connections is what matters in relationships. When you interact with people, you need to be curious about them and really need to listen to them so you can understand them better. You need to share who you are with them as well.
12. Create and share great memories with others
Choose experiences over material possessions. That’s the first step in creating great memories with people you love. The reason why it’s important to create and share great memories is because it’s what enriches our relationships. Flowers will wither, but beautiful memories will last longer.
Whenever you need to make a decision, think about this: What will help you create great memories?
13. Hug more
Handshakes? Hugs! It’s another, relatively easy habitual change you can make right now, but it’s powerful as well. Whenever you meet someone or see someone, hug instead of giving a handshake. You’ll get used to being open this way.
14. Make other people’s lives more romantic
I believe this is one of the best ways to make your life more romantic. Don’t wait for someone to come and sweep you off your feet, but be proactive in making your life more romantic. No, you don’t have to show up to a party on a white horse, but do something small like giving sincere compliments to people and flirting with them.
What’s really important here is to do these things as a way of appreciating and celebrating who they are and as a way of giving them a gift rather than trying to take something from them by complimenting or flirting. It may take a while to really understand this perspective, but always keep it in mind. You will get it eventually.
What will your art of life look like when you create it with love – by doing what you love, loving what you do, and loving people you love? I’m still in the process of making it, but so far, if I am to put it into words, I’ll tell you this.
These amazing people I meet and love in my life give me stories, colors, sounds, visions and everything else, and I’m putting them together by connections we’ve made with one another.
I’d appreciate your questions, thoughts and comments. Say hello to me! I hope to learn more about you and to create something beautiful together.
Hi! My name is Masafumi Matsumoto. If that sounds too long, you can call me Masa. I’m passionate about writing on how to be romantic and living a romantic life on one’s own terms and sharing my thoughts with remarkable people like you. I’m curious about many things, including martial arts, philosophy, punk rock, languages, Argentine tango, cooking and everything else that enriches my life. If you liked this post and my view resonates with you, please check out my website and subscribe to it. I’d love to hear from you. Please say hi in the comment section, send me a message, or tweet at @mma323. Let’s create something beautiful together.