When I was young, I believed in fairytales—or at least I wanted to.
I wanted to be a princess and be rescued and taken care of. But no one ever told me that once the princess was rescued, married and set up in her own castle, it wouldn’t be very fun.
It’s no fun living like that, just because someone somewhere said that’s how it’s supposed to be done.
After I ditched my crown, I went through a bitter cynical phase. I scoffed at the idea of soulmates. I didn’t believe in romantic ideals or the poetry of love. I absorbed the ideals of the people around me and found myself thinking that we’re each compatible with a number of people in this lifetime. It’s all about who we choose to love.
Now, the smarter, older me is calling bullshit.
There’s a reason why so much has been written about that once-in-a-lifetime kind of love—it actually exists. Whether we meet or choose our soulmate in this life—that’s another story.
But soulmate love exists. I know this deep in my bones.
And although I’m confident in this deep type of connection between two people, I don’t believe in fairytales. I don’t see them as the same, and I think that’s precisely why so many people mix them up.
The love we crave doesn’t look anything like what it’s supposed to. It’s not always pretty—or happy. It’s not the loss of common sense and spontaneous bursts of wonderfulness. It’s not someone doing everything we’d want them to. And it’s not two people being in such a people-pleasing mode that they stop living authentically happy and being true to themselves.
Soulmate love will never be perfect, because if it was, it would lack the necessary ingredient to be a soulmate: the ability to change us.
Change only comes from opposition, and only a soulmate can be a loving opposition that doesn’t try and change us, but instead inspires change within us and our lives.
The soulmate love that we crave is dirty and imperfect. It’s messed up and problematic at times, but it’s also in our veins, and no matter how hard we try, we just can’t quit it. It’s sleeplessness at 2 am, and a hunger we can’t satisfy. It’s not about living a life that looks good to others—it’s about living a life that feels good all the way down to our inner soul.
This is not the stuff of fairytales, because loving like this takes bloody courage—the courage to let go of everything we’re supposed to do, including how we’re supposed to love.
It’s letting go of how two people should live their lives, and instead journeying together to find out what works best for them. It’s about loving freely so that not only will there be space in our togetherness, there will be fluidity to it as well. It’s the courage to stand apart from everyone else with confidence, knowing we’re living the life that’s best for us.
Being soulmates isn’t a choice—we can’t choose the person we feel a connection that goes beyond reason with—but embarking on a journey with our soulmate is.
Sometimes we aren’t yet ready for the type of love that a soulmate can offer. It’s a gut-wrenching, honestly authentic love that rips our hearts from our chest. But oh, it’s also so very lovely.
And that’s what keeps us coming back for more.
We all have the ability to choose who we pursue romantically. Sometimes it’s easier to take the path of least resistance, but no great love story ever started because it was easy for two people to be together. Greatness can’t be born from simplicity.
Great love is born from challenges and the ability to overcome them.
It’s walking through darkness with the faith that there will be light on the other side. It’s the math problem that just can’t be solved. It’s everything we never knew we wanted and needed. It’s not knowing how the story will turn out, but being happy to even be a part of it.
It’s not believing in happy endings, because choosing soulmate love is just the start of a journey.
It’s a journey of love and self-discovery that will wind itself around our hearts, and bloom without us even realizing it. It’s smiling for no reason, and collarbone kisses. It’s the love that we feel not in our hearts, but in our souls.
That is the difference.
Are we ready and willing to give up the good and go for the great, the extraordinary—to choose life and love with a soulmate?
Bonus: The One Buddhist Red Flag to Look out For.
Author: Kate Rose
Editor: Evan Yerburgh
Image: Wikimedia Commons