Growing up, like every other young girl, I was told how one day I would find my “soulmate.”
He was that one special person in the world who was meant just for me—I would know immediately the moment I met him that this was “the one” and we would recognize each other immediately, fall in love and live happily ever after.
That is complete and utter bullsh*t.
Don’t misunderstand me. I absolutely believe in soulmates. In fact, I think soulmates are our greatest teachers in this lifetime and all of us will find ours as we pass through life.
But what I have discovered is that just because we find someone who we connect with deeply and passionately on a soul level, it does not mean that this is necessarily the person that we are meant to spend the rest of our days with.
On the contrary, more often than not, we are fortunate enough to meet many people in this lifetime who we will develop deeply profound and emotional connections to.
Our natural inclination is usually to try to turn this person, who we feel so deeply for, into a romantic partner and begin a relationship with them. Some of these relationships last a long time and take on the “fairy tale” feeling we grow up believing is real: met my soulmate, fell madly in love, got married and here we are 40 years later, living happily ever after.
I love those people. I think it’s beautiful that their souls found each other and decided to spend this lifetime together. It’s blissfully romantic and a very real thing that does happen.
But more often than not, soulmate love is not always the love that fairy tales are made of… because some soulmates are meant for a different purpose, and that’s to change us.
How often have you heard yourself or somebody else say, “I’ve never felt this way about anyone before in my life.” Or, “I have this unexplainable draw to her/him that I’ve never felt before.”
Yep. I get it. I have felt the very same thing in my life. More than once.
But here’s the thing about those feelings—be prepared that the “connection” you are feeling may be leading you to something entirely different. Not the walking-on-clouds, fairy tale love affair you think it’s going to be. But the profound wake-up call your soul needs to advance on its path. The very experience that will break your life apart so it’s almost unrecognizable, so that you are almost unrecognizable, because it’s the very thing you needed to course correct the path you were just on. The one you didn’t even know needed course correcting.
I have met a few of my soulmates, and each of them have been my greatest teachers. My first one was so electrifying and powerful he took my breath away when we were in a room together. I fell madly and passionately in love with him, much against my better judgment since he was of all things, married.
But through him I learned what it felt like to fall so wildly and headily love, I could feel nothing else but the pounding of my own heart when we were together. We had long philosophical talks about marriage, the sacrifices one makes to remain faithful and the integrity needed to walk away when you feel inexplicably drawn to someone else. Those lessons played an integral part in my life many years later.
My second soulmate shook up my life in ways I wasn’t ready for. Life was rolling along just fine until he came into the picture. I was happily married and felt I was living the “dream.”
But this soulmate wasn’t going anywhere until he taught me what I needed to know. He held up a mirror that revealed things about myself I was hiding and not ready to face. I did not like what I saw. What I saw terrified me.
If I followed through on the changes I knew I needed to make at that time in my comfortable, predictable life, everything would become a sh*t storm. People would gossip about me. And I cared so very much what people thought about me back then.
That experience, though not even remotely fun, forced me to make huge changes in my life that I never dreamed I would make. I learned I was not perfect. I exposed myself as a woman who didn’t have it all together. I became more real with my family and friends. I became a flawed human being.
What a powerful experience that was for me to let go of my need to be perfect and be honest and real for once with the people closest to me.
My third soulmate came after my divorce. A friend so completely different than I, and someone I would never consider as a lover.
But our soul connection was deep and for a brief period, we did become lovers. He gently forced me out of the protective, rigid box I built around my heart so that nobody could get in. He made me see my blind spots. He taught me that people are deserving of my forgiveness and compassion. That by giving it, I would find peace. He truly made me a better person just by knowing him.
The beauty about soul mates is that they come in many forms. Some of them come in the form of friends. Some as romantic partners. And some as just a brief encounter. No matter what form they take, they always play an integral role in our lives and leave an imprint on our hearts that last a lifetime.
As painful as it can be to have to let that person go when the time comes, treasure the gifts they gave you, the lessons they taught you and the love you received while you were with them. There is most likely another soulmate around the corner awaiting your arrival.
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Catherine Monkman