I have always been a sucker for romance novels; I just hadn’t had the guts to admit it to myself till recently. Now I can proudly say that I love romance novels in any form – classic, historical, contemporary, young adult, new adult, paranormal. I’ve had this embarrassing feeling attached to admitting that I love romantic novels. I don’t know why that is though. Maybe because in our society, overt displays of affection between couples, talking about relationships with third parties, and discussing sex – in general, have always been a big NO-NO.
Anyway, since I’ve come clean of my addiction to romance novels, I thought back to all the things that I had learnt from them. Although not profound or prophetic, they are important life lessons that I’ve picked up from my beloved romantic novels. Thought I’d share them with you.
1. Conflicts arising out of misconceptions and misunderstandings can happen in any relationship. No one is a mind-reader. Talk it out and resolve your differences.
2. Your gut, your instinct, your heart – never shut them out. Stop and listen to them, when some indefinable ‘sixth sense’ tells you something – be it about your job, or a relationship, or a friend. More often than not, your intuition is right.
3. Fall in love with yourself first. Love yourself for who you are, then you can fall in love with another person.
4. Don’t let your individuality go just because you’re in a relationship. He cannot fill all the roles in your life. You need friends, family and buddies to hang out with, and just be. Be conscious of the fact that he is just one part of your life, albeit a significant one.
5. Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, you’d be hard-pressed to convince anyone else to believe in you or your abilities.
6. Every woman on this planet has issues with her body – nose too big, eyes too close together, freckles all over the cheeks, too curvy, too skinny, blah, blah, blah – the list is endless. But that supposed “flaw” you see every time you see yourself in the mirror, is the very thing that the hero finds irresistible.
7. Nothing is ever gained by keeping your feelings and emotions bottled up. They only fester and will one day explode, putting the Diwali crackers to shame. Stop biting your tongue every damn time.
8. Be impulsive. Sometimes, making impulsive and rash decisions are the best thing that can happen. (Although there is a big chance that the opposite might happen too.)
9. While the heroes are always broad-shouldered, handsome hunks with washboard abs, heroines come in all shapes and sizes, much like real women.
10. Being the goody-two-shoes all the time can get tiring pretty fast. Don’t worry about being nice all the time. It’s okay to let your hair lose and let go sometimes.
11. You’re not superwoman. You can’t always get everything done alone. You will need help sometimes. And when that time comes, don’t hesitate to ask for it.
12. Real life, unlike romance novels, doesn’t always have one HEA. Life is filled with moments of happiness that make up for that one HEA.
13. Regardless of the endless debates of the need for chivalry in today’s age and time, a woman wants, not needs, her man to be chivalrous.
14. Everyone has a past. Oscar Wilde famously said, ‘Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.’ You don’t know what another person has endured. Don’t judge.
15. Every problem, even the seemingly unsolvable one, has a solution. Don’t despair. Find different, innovative ways to solve irksome problems.
16. Be open to new possibilities, take a chance on something new, and who knows, it may turn out exciting.
17. You are the captain of your life. Steer it in the direction you want to go, even if it means going against the wind. You are the only one capable of changing your circumstances.
18. Love just happens; you don’t decide and then fall in love with someone. Be it between a man and a woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. Love is all that matters.
19. You don’t need to have the couture clothes, glossy make-up, and the styled hair in order to find love and happiness. Find the person who loves you for YOU.
20. You don’t need a knight in shining armor to save you and the day. You can save your own damn self, thank you very much.
21. Shy, quiet, and reserved people are often more than they seem. They might take you by surprise, making you realize that they just might be the one you’ve always been looking for.
22. You can learn so many different and exotic words. And besides, you can learn about different cultures, places, people, and eras, all from the comfort of your couch or bed.
23. Historical romances are a wellspring of exotic words, actual history, and the etiquette of that era. (Swoon! Bring in the smelling salts posthaste!)
24. Romantic novels are an interesting source of bedroom play. You can learn various things about, um, sex and sex paraphernalia. (God, I’m blushing just writing this!)
25. NO means NO. A hero always shows self-restraint and self-control, and backs off when the heroine says NO.
26. If you find one rotten apple, doesn’t mean the whole crate is filled with them. You have to taste a few bad ones till you come across that one red, juicy apple.
27. Heroes and heroines are kind to their inferiors, be they children, servants, valets, butlers, or maids. Villains are not.
28. You deserve to be loved and respected. You deserve to be happy. Don’t settle for anything less.
Well, any romance novel lover will have come across these life lessons at least once. Now, if this list doesn’t inspire you to take charge of your life, and also pick up the next romance novel you can get your hands on, I don’t know what will!