As Valentine's Day is rapidly approaching, I think it's time we cleared the air for "hopeless" romantics.

First and foremost, what's so hopeless about being a romantic? Some of our world's greatest authors were romantics. Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne are just a few of the many authors from the romantic period. Despite the fact that these writers definitely have some dark works, they're still romantics. They prove that being a romantic does not mean what society portrays it to be. The phrase "hopeless romantic" connotes that being a romantic is something we shouldn't strive for, something that only brings forth negative outcomes. "Hopeless romantics" can be some of the most hopeful people you'll ever meet.

So what's it like living life as a romantic? Contrary to popular belief, being a romantic doesn't entail living life on a quest for love. It's much more complex than that. Let us look at the definition of romanticism. " [Romanticism is] characterized by a heightened interest in nature, emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion and imagination, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions." OK, but what does that mean? It means that romantics often feel at one with nature, have a keen ability to express emotion and imagination, and question authority.

"We loved with a love that was more than love." - Edgar Allan Poe.

When true romantics love, they love deeply. They give it their all. They put all they have in everything they do. They wish for the best, and strive for even better. This is true for when they're loving, and when they're simply living. Being a romantic, a real romantic, doesn't mean eagerly awaiting the day that your true love will show up on your door step. Being a romantic means putting your heart into everything you do. Every article, academic paper, and piece of literature that I write has a portion of my heart and will forever carry my legacy, whether it gets published or is seen by my eyes only. I am what I produce.

"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain." - Emily Dickinson.

Romantics are oftentimes optimists, and stretch themselves far to ensure that the people they care about aren't hurting. It isn't rare to see these kinds of people putting their own feelings aside in order to help someone they care about. Others constantly come first.

"All brave men love; for he only is brave who has affections to fight for, whether in the daily battle of life, or in physical contests." - Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Loving someone, whether it be romantically of not, requires you to become vulnerable to that person. Giving yourself over to another emotionally entails a lot of bravery, but that isn't the only thing that makes you brave. Romantics aren't just the people that love, because everyone loves. They're the people who fight for what they love, no matter the cost.

Society gives romantics a bad rap. According to society, we're supposed to have our head in the clouds. It's become a joke or an insult to call someone a "romantic," and often is accompanied by the word "hopeless." People assume being a romantic is a bad thing when, really, it isn't at all. I bet some of you reading this are romantics and you didn't even realize it, because society has told you who romantics supposedly are. We are optimists. We are expressive. We are imaginative. We are brave. We are lovers.

Being a romantic is not hopeless.