As a spiritual counsellor, the idea of soul mates is one that comes up fairly frequently while working with clients. As with everything I do, I try to take a balanced approach to this. On the one hand, we need to honour the romantic inner child in us that believes in fairy tales. If this childlike part of the heart chakra becomes jaded by disappointment and heartbreak, our hearts can shut down due to cynicism and fear of getting hurt again.
It can be difficult to find and maintain love when your heart is in such a state!
While a little wary wisdom in the heart can help us to be wiser and and protect us from the consequences of starry-eyed naivety, we need to avoid becoming hardened due to a lack of trust. Not surprisingly, it can be an excess of trust and idealism in the first place that ultimately results in this state. We are far more likely to get hurt and shut down if we don’t protect ourselves properly. The higher our romantic ideals, the harder the fall.
We need a little Buddhist non-attachment buffering our hearts against unrealistic expectations, regardless of whether our expectations are positive or negative. People who expect love to work out like it ‘does in the movies’, are setting themselves up for a fall. These people need to loosen their strangle hold on romantic idealism. At the other end of the continuum, people who guard their hearts against disappointment by expecting the worst are overly attached to their negative expectations and they see everything and everyone through the biased filter of these expectations. They too, need to practise some non-attachment!
Having expressed my yin-yang view on love, I now want to explore the idea of soul-mates, because I personally feel this concept can be rife with potential problems. Too many of us adopt the idea of soul mates as a belief without properly examining the impact of our beliefs. Here are some common beliefs about soul mates that I often come across during counselling, possible problems associated with them and suggested adjustments to these beliefs that can make them healthier.
My soul mate is my destined romantic life-partner
- Are soul mates always romantic partners? What if soul mates could be friends and family members as well? What if soul mates are simply friends from past lives we are reconnecting with, or people with whom we connect with on a deep soul-level? My sister is one of my soul-mates. So is my husband. Who gets to decide whether the ‘soul-mate’ title applies to these relationships or not? I do, because the word ‘soul-mates’ captures a depth of connection that is very nourishing and valuable to me.
- I don’t like the idea that we only have one soul mate. I’ve seen this belief work out very badly for people who lose their ‘soul-mate’ to death. They stay wedded to the dead partner and don’t move on with life because they believe you only get one soul mate and no-one else could measure up. It’s true no-one else will be like that person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find love again. I prefer the idea of multiple soul mates for this reason.
- The idea of one destined life-partner can also work out badly for people in existing, living relationships. I’ve seen this commonly with young women suffering from chronic discontent and self-doubt. They ask themselves ‘what if this person isn’t really my soul mate? What if I’m missing out? What if he’s not THE ONE?’. And then they look around them to see who might be THE ONE. Impossible to commit to doing the work of being in a relationship and building strength and authenticity into that relationship, if we are always wondering ‘what if?’.
- Likewise with people looking to enter a relationship. Quite often you will find they have a list of traits they imagine their soul-mate will have. While I’m all for reality creating, some reality creators can have a lot in common with fussy people who want things handed to them on a platter without having to do any work. These reality creators can have trouble being in the moment and finding the blessings that already exist in their lives. Those dreaded lists can be a real headache for me at times as a counsellor; even a 90% hit rate will see a potential suitor being discarded because he or she doesn’t match up with the final 10% of required traits on the list. So off they run to the next potential and start sizing them up to see if this one will be THE ONE who ticks all the boxes. These people are chronic relationship hoppers (see ‘The Gypsy Colour’ in Aura Colour Therapy)
We will live happily ever after and never fight because soul mate relationships are perfect and trouble free.
- I would hope your ‘fairy tale’ alarm bells would be ringing loud and clear after reading a soul mate belief stated with such romantic idealism. This is the realm of the romantic inner child who believes in fairy tales and doesn’t want to deal with the sometimes harsh realities of real life. What honestly, would be the point of a ‘perfect’ relationship? How would you grow? What is perfect anyway? Perhaps love is in the eye of the beholder, and what of unconditional love? I think, sometimes, we are like sleeping beauty waiting for her prince to come, when we should be getting on with living and loving in the real world, warts and all. Learning to love someone as they are can ultimately be more rewarding than putting in an order for a fairy-tale bride and expecting it to be filled.
- I personally think good relationships require some work. We grow into our potentials both individually and as a couple. That’s the fun of being in a relationship! It’s the pain too, but without pain we wouldn’t grow and we wouldn’t become stronger and wiser. ‘Perfect as you/we are with room for growth’ combines acceptance and unconditional love with an acknowledgement that situations, relationships and people are always growing and changing.
Soul mates are people we’ve known in past lives.
- Maybe, maybe not. Are past lives real? What about the idea of multiple parallel lives (multi-dimensional universes)? Or that we are all connected as one so we’re all soul-mates? Or even, soul mates are people we are going to continue to know in future lives and the quality of these relationships depends on the mutual foundations we lay and the connections we make between us. What if soul-mates are ourselves in different clothing? What if they are actually our perfect opposite; a character designed to challenge and balance you because he/she is everything you are not? What if soul-mates are perfect mirrors which reflect us back to ourselves?
Omanisa is a Naturopath, spiritual counsellor and healer who specialises in reading and healing the aura. To find out more about Omanisa and her work, check out her website.