Saturday, November 25, 2017

What is a soulmate? And how to have this type of relationship.

First off, what is a soulmate?  Being a hardcore romantic, this is a topic that has perpetually piqued my interest, as well as inspired and fascinated me.  Thus far, within my lifetime of reading, coupled with my own personal experiences, I believe a soulmate is classified by a handful of aspects.  So, to go into some detail on what those aspects are...

A soulmate is someone with whom you can be yourself.  Someone around whom you feel comfortable.  Relaxed.  A sense of being home.  A coziness and comfort alongside of.  Knowing this person either has already seen (or, feeling that even in when they do see) both your light along with your dark, that they will love you just the same and think just as highly of you. 

I also believe a soulmate to be someone with whom you share a poignant emotional connection.  The nature of this, not typically easy or even possible to put into words.  You just feel it.  There is a voice inside of you that doesnt use words, it just knows.  Listen. 

A soulmate is someone with whom you feel a resonating click.  Someone you are equally comfortable with in silence, but with whom you can talk to about anything and everything. 

And no, this is not the same as saying you will always agree and see eye to eye with this person :-).  In fact, soulmates are the ones who hold the most authentic of mirrors up for your own self reflection.  A soulmate is the one who challenges you in the most important of ways.  Who shows you where your own deepest struggles, roadblocks and challenges lie, so that you can potentially break through and surmount such.

A soulmate is also the one who inspires you to great lengths.  Who stirs something inside of you towards being your best self.  Who makes you want to jump far, and hard.  Who inspires and moved you deeply.

I would also venture to say that, contrary to popular perception and assumption, soulmates do not always have to be romantic.  You can have a soulmate-like platonic connection.  Either with a friend, or family member.  They can be romantic, but just as often, soul mates are not romantic.  Its more about the nature of feeling and connection between the two people, not so much about sex or romantic interest.  Sex/romantic interest do not make a soul mate.  Your connection/understanding/closeness/sense of openness and honesty between the two of you does.

However, for the purpose of this entry, I am going to focus on soul mates primarily in the romantic vein.

Next question: are all close/good romantic relationships the same as being soul mates?  No.  Absolutely not.  You can have a good romantic relationship, one that makes you quite happy, and this does not necessarily mean its of the soul mate nature.  In fact, the majority of romantic relationships are not of the soul mate category.  This doesn't make them any less relevant or special.  It

I believe there to be a difference between a soul mate versus a life partner.  I think what a majority of people pair off with and have in their long term relationships tends towards life partners.  Different from a soul mate.  To me, a life partner is a companion, often a friendship, a stable individual whom you can rely on, enjoy being with, who you will love, and build a life with.  This classifies a significant majority of romantic relationships.  A soul mate however, is something more powerful, sometimes more challenging, and definitely more poignant.  A soul mate is someone aligned with your soul, as well as someone sent to challenge, awaken, and stir different parts of you to a higher level.

Lastly, in terms of what makes a soul mate, I would say that both in my own belief as well as life experience thus far, a soul mate is a combination of both chemistry felt between two people right off the bat, a resonating click/reaction of sorts, as well as a depth of connection that grows and deepens over time between these two people.

And why might it be, that most romantic relationships are not of the soulmate depth/ferocity?

A majority of people remain in, or have, life partner type relationships as their primary romantic connection(s).  There is nothing wrong with this.  Its perfectly pleasant.  Its easy, comfy and usually pretty good.  However, why most do not end up with their soul mates may be the result of several factors.  Some of those reasons might include...

Lots of people have a subconscious fear of being alone, so we stay whom we are with because we care for them, have history together, and its good enough most of the time.  However often times we prolong relationships that are meant to have already ended, out of things like fear...comfort...shared history...laziness...whatever the reason may be, all circling around to because its easier to stay.  Each one of these reasons of which, ultimately stems from fear.  When in reality, it might be time to go, moving on to something that provokes a higher level of learning, is a more resonating, better match, and will bring us far greater satisfaction over the long term.  But because searching for that would require risk, letting go, and venturing into the unknown, most people stay in relationships that may no longer be to their greatest potential.

Its important that, if wanting to find that soul mate like romantic connection, to ask yourself these (often uncomfortable) questions, which are: 

-Is this the person I am still truly meant to share my life with and grow alongside of? 

-Do we actually compliment and challenge each other in numerous healthy, as well as special, noteworthy ways? 

-Or did I settle/attach/jump in too quickly to a relationship with someone who is likely not right for me in more than one relevant area? 

-Am I making excuses for staying, out of fear, sadness or laziness?  Even though my heart knows its no longer right and/or that the end has come?

-Might this person be someone who in fact hinders or could be stunting my growth, or taking away from my life's full potential and big picture joy over the long-term?  As opposed to being a truly awesome, fulfilling, worthwhile addition?

This takes some real, unbiased, brave, honest analysis and inner commentary.  As all of us know several people who claim their partner to be ideal for them, likely lamenting loving this person, remarking that their partner is an great match, all while as loved ones/outsiders looking in, we know and can see this to be a far cry from the reality.

Additionally, sadly, there are many people out there who either are not interested in or are not emotionally capable of such inner stretching and challenging of themselves.  People who do not have the interest or capability towards such inner growth or exploration.  This isn't a criticism or a put down.  Its an observation and truth.  So this is another reason that some people may have trouble finding and thus, creating such a poignant soul mate like relationship.  Maybe the partners they have been choosing either have no interest or aren't emotionally/intellectually capable of such.  Or, it might be that you yourself are not emotionally or intellectually ready for challenging yourself in such a way.  Another potential possibility worth critically examining and considering, if this is the type of relationship you ultimately want, a soul mate like connection, but are having trouble finding/creating it.

(Worthwhile side note: this is an excellent TED talk, 15 minutes long, more than worth your time.  She gives some eye opening, insightful, phenomenal insight about picking the right partner.  One of my favorites.  Inspiring and interesting).  

So, with that introduction out of the way, both with regards to what makes a soulmate, and why many people do not end up having relationships to that poignant soul mate potential, now onto the question of some specifics.  Such as, what are the aspects present in a soul mate relationship?  How can you create this type of connection or bond with the person whom you already feel poignant chemistry with?  Because of course, crackling chemistry alone does not a soulmate make.

To name a few in brief, of particular approaches/mindsets that will majorly help towards creating a soulmate like depth between you and your partner:

1. Your own personal beliefs.  There is a direct relationship between your beliefs and your actual experience.  As well as, having flexibility about your beliefs is important when it comes to keeping your relationship vivid and alive.

2. Learning to love your body.  Our perfection-obsessed culture encourages the picking apart of our bodies as various parts, as well as continually identifying the "flaws" and rejecting the "imperfection" in those parts.  By the time we are young adults, the habit of scanning our bodies for what doesn't measure up is deeply ingrained.  The truth is though, our bodies are nothing short of miraculous and incredibly beautiful.  Think of the things your body is capable of, the things you can feel via your body. 

Tasting delicious food, going on an exhilarating run, hiking a mountain, grasping something in your hands, holding someone you love close, watching a brilliant sunset of golds and oranges splashed across the sky, kissing someone you're have feelings for, smelling something delicious, experiencing sexual pleasure, the sensation of massage, looking into someone's eyes who you care for, going on a bike ride, painting a picture, swimming in a lake on a hot summer day, dancing, the list goes on and on.  Its all just a pretty awesome, amazing thing. 

Learning to love your body as whole, instead of picking it apart and remaining ever convinced its never good enough, is a recipe for keeping you from the deepest possible connection/emotional experience you might have with someone otherwise.  (Note: this is not to say one should just throw up their hands and choose to be complacent in being unhealthy, putting in zero effort to maintain a healthy diet/weight/lifestyle.  What it means is caring about your health, taking care of yourself, all while accepting and even loving your body at the same time).

3.  Seeking a higher possibility.  When faced with challenging circumstances, people with a high degree of soul mate potential will strive to stay open to other ideas, options and approaches.  They've learned that there is another possibility in any situation, even if its not obvious at first.  Our society loves black and white.  We also love labeling things.  Thats because its easier.  Less scary.  Less stressful.  Less emotionally challenging.  We dont like to take things outside of the box.  Fearing judgement and difficulty in doing so.  People with a high potential for being soul mates though, are willing to do exactly that.  They are willing to be brave, to chuck the labeling, to toss aside the black and white thinking, to explore the edges and corners sometimes where most people fear and avoid venturing.

4.  Treating your partner as a guest.  Often enough, especially in long term relationships, we slowly but surely end up taking our partners for granted.  Assuming that they are just there.  That we "have them" now.  We forget that in fact, this can change at any minute.  In treating your partner as a guest, this can maintain a sense of gratitude and poignancy to your relationship.  Meaning, treating them like the kind of guest you love to be with- someone who enhances your life rather than weighs it down.  When you have a guest like this, you feel honored they would appear in your life and hang out for a whileYou know your time with them is limited, so you make the most of it, looking for every opportunity to experience and share all the joys of life with them.

5.  Creating a context in your relationship.  We often go into a relationship without fully knowing why.  Yes, weve met someone were attracted to, we love spending time together, and we are feeling great about ourselves.  But then what?  When asked, many people say they want a relationship for intimacy or companionship.  For others, it might be about having a family.  But all too often, being in a relationship is really about attempting to find fulfillment via our partner.  That, by virtue of being in a relationship, we expect they will fill many of our outstanding needs.  If you really want a soulmate type of connection, its essential to examine why you are in a relationship or looking for one.  And, rather than focusing on what you want from a relationship, the recipe for soulmates is instead to turn your attention on what you can offer and have to give.

6.  In the absence of expectation, everything can be a gift.  The more beliefs you have about who your partner should be/is, and what they should do, the less you will see them for who they truly are and the more you will limit their ability to surprise you.  Very often, we come to have certain expectations about how our partners should behave and who they will be/are. 

In soul mate like relationships with another though, there will be a sense of continual exploration and prompting of growth within one another.  So when you pigeonhole your partner via a boatload of assumptions, you can be majorly missing out on the chance for them to surprise you.  In the absence of expectation, each encounter can be a sweet surprise as well as a gift.

These six mindsets/criteria for soulmate like relationships, just listed above, were inspired by and can be found in "The Soulmate Experience" by Joe Dunn and Mali Apple.  I was shocked to find this one of the best relationship books I have ever read.  (There is a stable list in my mind of 7-8 non fiction relationship books that remain solidly placed among the top as the best.  This is one of them).  I highly recommend reading it.
However, aside from the six criteria that are mindsets towards building soulmate-like relationships, the rest of the article is originally and totally my own.

In conclusion, those six mindsets were just touched upon in brief.  In coming blog entries, I will revisit each of the above criteria and delve into them in greater detail.

Additionally, there are further equally important aspects of soulmate relationships, including: -Handling jealousy
-Learning to channel jealousy into desire
-Growing into being totally open with one another and able to express anything
-Playing leapfrog with each other (sounds fun doesn't it?  Wondering what this is?  In a blog entry to come)
-And, exploring the "edges" of your relationship together- which involves bravery, trust and daring.

Each of these slightly more intriguing, subtly more challenging/a tad more intense aspects often requiring bravery, trust and a sense of exploration, in some ways more so than the first six I outlined.  The first six basically being the foundation of creating a soulmate like connection with someone.

I am not claiming the adapting and exploring of these mindsets and ideas to be easy.  They arent easy at all.  In fact, its likely to be one of the greatest challenges of your life.  Taking on these mindsets/ideas/emotional challenges.  I am continually working on and towards them within my own self.  Some aspects of the soulmate-like connection, I feel skilled in.  Others, I still very much struggle with, as they are difficult and scary.  However, if you want a soul mate relationship, these are the challenges they entail.  But the richness, fulfillment and awe inspiring experience that comes along with growing this type of poignant connection with another human being?  More than worth taking on the fear and emotional challenges of these approaches/mindsets.

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