Soul Mates: Myth or Reality?
Allison Ford | Divine Caroline
November 03, 2010
Does the Grass Seem Greener?
The most pernicious effect of the soul-mate myth is that it encourages people to believe that there must be something better out there. The myth can sometimes cause people to sabotage perfectly salvageable relationships because of the belief that finding one’s true spiritual equal will make a person blissfully happy at all times. Of course, few relationships can live up to this ideal, and the myth judges any lesser relationships as not worth the effort. After all, would your true soul mate criticize your friends? Would your true soul mate disagree with you about money or household chores? The idea of such a kindred soul leads people to believe that good relationships don’t require work and don’t involve disagreements, neither of which is true. Even people who are happy in their relationships are often left wondering, “Could I be happier? Could my real soul mate still be out there?” This thinking isn’t limited to those who believe wholeheartedly in soul mates, either. Even those with a more rational view of relationships can still fall into the trap of never being satisfied with any partner, viewing each and every small rift in the relationship as evidence that they could be happier with someone new.
Your Missing Piece Could Be Anyone
Many psychologists, including Dr. Grey, believe that soul mates aren’t something people find, they’re something people become. After that initial giddy excitement of a relationship wears off, couples who work together to solve their individual and collective problems are able to deepen their emotional bond, overcoming any challenges that come their way. That kind of shared experience can make a couple feel like soul mates, whether they’ve been together for two years or twenty. “You don’t just meet a soulmate and live happily ever after,” Dr. Grey writes. “I have observed that real-world soulmates become that—by growing together in certain ways and working through challenges successfully.” Those who claim to experience love at first sight may be potential soul mates, but it isn’t until they’ve really worked to forge a life together that they can become true confidants.
The idea of soul mates shouldn’t be limited to romantic relationships; who would argue that an unmarried person isn’t entitled to have a soul mate of his or her own? It’s not even realistic to think of soul mates as a one-per-person proposition. A person can have many soul mates, whether they’re friends, lovers, or relatives. Becoming a soul mate is about establishing a deep emotional connection, no matter whom it’s with. In our lives, we often meet people with whom we have an instant bond, and whether it’s a romantic or a platonic relationship, once you’ve weathered life’s storms together, who’s to say you can’t call each other “soul mate”?
Perhaps one of the most cynical things about the idea of soul mates is assuming that there’s only one person for everyone in the world, and that people who don’t find theirs are doomed to be romantically unfulfilled. With the right care and commitment, any loving couple can turn their relationship into the kind of soul-mate partnership they dream about. Those who constantly turn down prospective romantic partners because they’re not “the one” might find themselves holding out for a hero who will never come.
This article was originally published on DivineCaroline.com.
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