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Seek Meaning in the Mundane: The Importance of Romanticizing your Life & Embracing your Independence

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

Everyone is the main character of their own story, in which the tale revolves around you. What happens depends solely on your decisions. But do you actually feel like the main character?

It can be easy to feel like a side character in your own story, to get lost in the chaos of it all and lose focus on what is truly important to you. But reclaiming your rightful place in your story leads to positive benefits, both emotional and physical. 

In an age where things change in the blink of an eye, it is important to stay grounded by acknowledging your presence and staying true to your values. As a young woman, it can be daunting to do things on your own, but there is an endless world of possibilities.

It is important  to realize that loneliness and being alone are not the same thing. Immense empowerment hides within the act of embracing your independence. 

You can learn to be okay with doing things on your own, feel comfortable with your own company, and become satisfied with solitude. This new-found independence will truly reframe your outlook on the world.

Romanticizing your life

The phrase “romanticizing your life” recently emerged on social media as a call to action to view the most mundane activities as unique and special. Romanticism generally emphasizes emotion and individualism, allowing people to express themselves in a more liberating way while enabling them to be more optimistic. The thrill of romanticizing life encourages people to appreciate the little things. 

Audrey Dionne, 20, said she wishes she spent more time alone and that romanticizing your life is an important part of finding happiness. Otherwise,  “you’re just going through the motions in life with no real purpose.”

Romanticizing your life is a form of exploring mindfulness, which is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment. The best way to practice mindfulness is to be alone with an active mind.

A common misconception of romanticization is that it involves actively disregarding or ignoring the negative aspects of life. In reality, the mindset promotes reframing the negative into something more inspiring and meaningful. Use difficult moments as motivators to reach a goal. Change your mindset and make challenges an opportunity to bring new meaning to your life. 

Main Character Energy

The term “main character energy” also originated from social media. However, it is not to be misinterpreted as being selfish or thinking the world revolves around you. Instead, having main character energy means that you recognize your worth and navigate the world with that in mind.

Main character energy and romanticizing your life work hand in hand. Essentially, the first step to romanticizing your life is to act like the main character in your story. When you have that mindset, you infuse your everyday life with a sense of purpose.

“Seeing yourself as a main character makes you feel more empowered because you value yourself and the things you do more,” said Dionne.

By taking control of your life and focusing more on yourself, you are able to put your needs and desires at the forefront of your actions. You are investing in your life and advocating for yourself, indulging in what makes you happy. Essentially, it all begins with you.

When asked about what having main character energy means to her, Cassie Rodrique, 21, said, “I always think about a quote from the movie Aquamarine – ‘Why live your life unnoticed?’ – that Aqua screams from the balcony of the mall. I love channeling this energy.”

Mental & Physical Benefits

Licensed psychotherapist Alyssa Mancao says that people often mistake mindfulness for clearing your thoughts and doing nothing. “But it’s really about being aware of what’s happening around you without attaching any judgment to it and accepting things as they are,” she said. 

“Research suggests that practicing mindfulness can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and general irritability, ” Mancao said.

Rodrique said she experiences the impact of mindfulness. “I love being alone, especially because it allows me to be mindful,” she said. “Mindfulness has done wonders for my mental health and for my relationship with myself.”

Psychotherapist, Emily Roberts, says how practicing mindfulness is a great tool to get us into a calmer state of mind. 

“It’s a way of paying attention to whatever is happening in our lives, which brings us more control,” Roberts said. “When we slow down, we actually make better decisions and feel more confident in our choices.”

Similarly, Dionne said, “I want to start doing more things alone because I think it builds confidence and makes you more comfortable with yourself. You get more time to think and learn a lot more about yourself and love yourself.”

Being alone helps you become more comfortable in your own skin. When you’re by yourself, you are able to make choices without the influence of outside factors. That confidence helps you develop more insight into who you are as a person. 

Changing your mindset

Being completely present with your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations provides a sense of control that allows us to change the narrative of what being alone is really like. 

Solitude is often associated with negative terms like “alone” or “lonely.” However, solitude is a conscious choice to be alone and reflect or enjoy one’s own company.

Rodrique used to be afraid of doing things alone because she feared judgment from others. “Now as I’ve grown throughout college, I’ve realized that my own company is my favorite to have around,” she said. “Becoming friends with myself has given me a new superpower.”

Adeola Adelayo, a practicing psychiatrist with Banner Behavioral Health Hospital, said that those who embrace solitude are able to reach a “state of engagement with themselves to self-reflect, regenerate and discover.” Because of this, they have increased mental resilience and fortitude.

There is a difference between being alone and being lonely, and it is up to the individual to change their mindset and view solitude as an opportunity rather than a limitation. 

How you can start your journey

Although you don’t need to be alone to romanticize your life, solitude certainly enables you to feel more empowered to begin your main character journey. Embracing your independence will produce positive changes in your life and allow you to appreciate the world differently.

You can practice solitude in a variety of ways. Whether it be walking through a park, visiting an art gallery or taking yourself out to dinner, there are endless options.

Romanticizing your life will look different for everyone because it depends on what brings you joy. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, comparison is the thief of joy. Do not compare your experience with that of others, but be grateful for the life you live and the opportunities you receive. Seek meaning in the mundane.

Women are taught from a young age that the world is a scary place. The phrase, engrained within patriarchal ideals, leads us to believe that we have to live a life of fear. As liberating as it may be to do things on your own, great reward never comes without a little risk. It is important not to succumb to fear.

It is always important to be aware of your surroundings and your current situation. Trust your instincts when deciding where to go and find places where you feel most safe and comfortable. Protect your peace and remember, don’t be scared to be alone – embrace it.

Riley-Kate is senior at American University and is majoring in public relations and strategic communications and minoring in marketing. She intends to graduate in May of 2024 and complete her master's in marketing. Riley-Kate's preferred pronouns are she/her/hers. Some of Riley-Kate's interests are playing tennis, drinking iced chai, traveling, film photography, sustainability, writing, and fashion. She is also a big advocate for human and environmental rights. Riley-Kate is always thinking of ways that she can help make the world a better place.