“A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are.”
This seems to be the central driving force behind our search and experiences through different romantic relationships over the course of our lives. We long to find our "soul mate."
A term that has been long revered throughout history in literature, film, poetry, song, and of course, human relationships themselves. But what is a soul mate exactly? And what sets them apart from other loves?
People often lump feelings of being in love with someone as being one and the same thing as soul mates. These are not the same thing. Just because you are in love with someone and feel close to them does not mean its a soul mate type of connection.
Also, many people end up settling. A large majority of us remain in life-partner relationships because we “settle,” for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, we may have a real subconscious fear of being alone, and since we’re biologically designed to fall in love, it’s only natural that we pair up.
But frequently, we prolong what are meant to be temporary relationships and mistakenly settle into them for good. There are relationships which must last for a certain period of time to close out a particular chapter or period of growth in our life, relationships in which we’re meant to have children with our partner but not necessarily remain with them, and relationships which are just plain confusing because a vortex of emotions clouds us from seeing our predestined path.
So what is a soul mate?
1. You just know. When you have a soul mate relationship with someone, its difficult to put the feelings within this relationship into words, but you just know it, in your heart and deep in your bones. You know there is something different about this one. And this is not to be confused with simply feeling infatuated and in love, which is a stage and will ultimately simmer down.
With soul mate relationships, the feelings and connection between the two of you remains profound, resonating, poignant.
2. You get each other. With a soul mate, you just understand one anothers natures and character. You get, in a profound, deep sense, what makes one another tick, what moves each other, you can generally read the emotions and thoughts on their face. You sometimes even finish one anothers sentences. There is a sense of being pointedly tuned in to each other.
3. Its intense. Soul mate relationships are emotionally jarring, both in positive ways and in negative. When you are this close to another person emotionally, passions are easily stirred. However, soul mate relationships are intense in the best ways as well, meaning, an incredibly close friendship between the two of you, being able to read one another easily, etc.
4. You have a mental connection of sorts, even when apart. You might both move to pick up the phone and call one another at the exact same moment. It turns out that many times, you were thinking about each other simultaneously. If separated by this person for a long time, even still, there will be many moments of synchronicity between the two of you, some of which you will be aware of and many of which, you wont.
5. You cannot imagine your life without him or her. With a soul mate, you feel so deeply understood, so comfortable, so close to this person that you cannot (and do not want to) imagine your life without them in it.
6. You look each other in the eye. Soul mates tend to hold eye contact more often than others. They hold one anothers gazes more frequently, both during conversation and other moments spent together.
7. You consider them one of the people to whom you are emotionally closest. You can tell your soul mate anything, reveal your whole self to them, feel free to be completely you when in their company.
8. Your soulmate makes you feel entirely whole, healed and intact, like no piece is missing from the puzzle. On the other hand, a life partner can be a great supporter and long-time companion, but is limited in his or her capacity to enrich your spirit. That is a key difference between a soul mate and a usual romantic relationship.
9. A soul mate, while accepting and loving you totally, is also a mirror. They show you where your greatest weaknesses and challenges lie. A soul mate inspires a significant and meaningful amount of growth within you. They reveal to you your own demons and help show you the way to battling said demons.
This doesn't just mean someone who is open with you about your faults. Many relationships have this aspect to them, as healthy relationships should. What this means is that a soul mate in particular opens up a desire within you to grow in ways that you never felt before. Somehow, both silently and aloud, they light the way.
You might also be wondering, does a soul mate always have to be romantic? No. Absolutely not. Friendships can be soul mates too, as well as familial relationships. However, again, its important to remember that just because you are close to someone and love them does not a soul mate make ;-)
Many people long to stamp the label of soul mate on their relationship because its romantic and because somehow, it makes them feel better about their relationship choice(s). This somehow affirms that the relationship they have chosen is both good and the right one. "Soul mates" is the elusive, gold trophy that everyone longs to acquire.
A soul mate is a distinct, rare, special type of connection with another person. Many people never find this (in large part, because they settle too quickly in relationships- both romantic and not, that arent as ideal and well fitting as they could be if they were willing to be braver, more patient, pickier and search more carefully), and those who do find soul mates? Keep in mind that the number of soul mates you will have within your life time is likely to be counted on less than one hand.
That is why soul mates are so romanticized, so revered, so idealized. Because they are elusive. Because they are so rare and thus, very special.
"A soul mate is an ongoing conversation with another individual that the soul picks up again in various times and places over lifetimes."