Are Soulmates Real?
by Diane Linsley
I've been fascinated with the concept of soulmates ever since I was
introduced to it by my life coach when I was going through therapy
during my divorce. I was initially resistant to the idea because my
marriage had been such a huge disappointment that I'd given up
on romantic notions of love many years before.
My coach insisted that she was married to her soulmate. They'd been together for 30 years, and they still loved each other. So I started researching the topic. I read the most popular soulmate books, and my training as a life coach included techniques for helping people attract a soulmate. Of course, I always like to experiment on what I learn in order to know if it works. So I did the exercises myself.
Sure enough, I attracted a relationship. It met some, but not all of the parameters I had set. When that one didn't work out, I attracted another disappointing relationship. Finally, on my third try, I attracted a healthy, happy relationship. My current soulmate is everything I ever dreamed of and more.
What is a Soulmate?
Most people think that a soulmate is a romantic partner. Actually, a soulmate can be in any type of relationship with you - as a friend, parent, child or sibling. Soulmates are people with whom you feel a deep connection and have many growth-promoting experiences.
Soulmate relationships are about personal growth. Since growth is often painful, these relationships are not always peaceful and quiet. When you ask for a soulmate to come into your life, you are asking for your map of reality to be ripped up. You are asking for your ego to be exposed. You are asking for your life to be changed. Be careful what you ask for :)
In Soul Love, Sanaya Roman describes three types of soulmates. She identifies them as younger, older, and same-age souls. This is in relation to your own level of soul development. You can only know your own soul age in comparison to the people you are in relationship with.
There are both positive and negative aspects to being in a relationship with a younger soul. Sanaya Roman says, "Being a teacher can be very rewarding when the younger soul is willing to grow and wants to learn from you. If the younger soul does not want to change or grow, you will most likely feel drained and frustrated....If someone's soul age is a great deal younger than yours, you may expend much energy with few results."
Working with younger souls teaches you patience, compassion and forgiveness. It's an opportunity to overcome codependency and learn about freedom. These are the lessons I learned in my marriage.
On the downside, "Younger souls sometimes feel threatened by older souls, and may try to reduce an older soul's confidence and personal power to feel better about themselves."
That's a mild way of describing my marriage. Some younger souls are narcissistic. Narcissists don't have relationships. They take prisoners.
Her final warning: "If you decide to join with a younger soul, be certain that this person wants what you have to offer and is receptive to change and growth. When this is the case, you can find it very rewarding to be with a younger soul and watch this person evolve."
Good warning. A younger soul may be infatuated with an older soul. But he may also feel jealous of the older soul. So he tries to pull down the older soul to his own level. The younger soul may be passive-aggressive or even aggressive in his efforts to control the older soul.
Of course, not all younger souls are like that. Some are good students and a joy to teach.
An older soul who doesn't yet know who he is, or who suffers from low self-esteem from past trauma, may allow himself to be abused, while mistakenly believing that he is being patient and kind. The challenge for the older soul is to develop assertiveness and healthy boundaries.
What about same-age soulmates? Is that a better choice?
Sanaya Roman says, "There is a potential for great joy as well as for intense conflicts in a same-age soul relationship....The degree to which you love youself will determine your ability to love the other person, who will be reflecting back to you many of your own personality traits and qualities. A same-age soul relationship has the potential for being very intimate, for knowing the other can be like knowing yourself. You will need to be vulnerable and allow another person into your heart. You will want to love what you have considered unlovable in yourself."
My life coach was the first same-age soul that I met, save for one long-distance penpal. Once we started working together, I made such rapid progress that I blasted off like a rocket into a whole new life.
Interestingly, I met my life coach in a dream eight months before I met her in real life. I had no idea at the time who this person was. I simply dreamed that I met a dear friend, and we were happy together. When I woke up, I cried because I missed her. I knew she was a real person, not just a dream character.
It's wonderful having a same-age soul friend because we are both working on similar issues in this lifetime. As quickly as we discover new things, we share them with each other. Even our dreams often correlate and are relevant to the other person.
When two soulmates are working on the same issues, they can end up triggering each other's shadow material. Same-age soulmate relationships can be as painful as they are exciting. In these relationships, I am frequently reminded that I have to solve my own problems. My soulmates can witness and support my growth, but they can't do it for me. My same-age soulmate relationships have been a mirror to me. I learned to love myself by loving my friends who are like me. These relationships ultimately led to me becoming a self-compassion coach.
I don't have any experience being in a relationship with an older soulmate, unless I count my teachers (whom I only know through their books and programs) and my spirit guides. So I can't say how it feels to be in a relationship with an older soulmate, except in regards to what I've experienced when talking with my spirit guides during OBE's.
A spirit guide is an advanced soul who is a teacher to souls who are younger than himself. When I first met my spirit guides, I was so awe-struck that I felt intimidated. I felt like I was naked because they seemed to know everything about me. It was quite embarrassing.
I felt a strange mixture of feelings, including shame for my inadequacy, excitement at meeting them, and the desire to please them. The spirit guides weren't fazed by my ambiguous feelings. They understood perfectly what I was going through, and they loved me unconditionally.
Spirit guides are not like earthly authority figures. They aren't trying to control anyone, and they don't want to be worshipped or obeyed. They are humble and wise, and they only do what's best for you. Working with spirit guides taught me what it means to be a teacher. I learned more from their energy than I learned from the words they spoke, which were few - even though I asked lots of questions :)
Old souls can be hard to recognize. They are not the loud people in the group. Sometimes they are well-disguised like the old hag in Beauty and the Beast, who is really a beautiful enchantress. I think that if I met an old soul, I would recognize their energy. It would feel like the energy of a spirit guide.
The Good Side (Often Misunderstood)
Older souls have much to offer in the way of teaching. Younger souls may not recognize the love of an older soul because there is less attachment in it. It's not what most people think of as love. I wrote a whole article on this subject: Love or Attachment?
Sanaya Roman says, "Older souls are often able to detach from personality reactions, offering you a more impersonal, wise love. This might not always be comfortable to you."
Sanaya has a gift for understatement. I've been verbally attacked by younger souls who accused me of not loving them because I refused to fight with their egos. I was able to detach from this dysfunctional dynamic and give them their freedom.
Mature love doesn't look like love to a younger soul who just wants to fight. And from the perspective of the older soul, the younger soul looks like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum.
Humility is knowing who we really are. Every soul has a unique journey. Humility is accepting and loving our own journey, as well as appreciating other souls for the roles they play in our lives. A teacher cannot be a teacher without students. At some point, the line between teacher and student blurs.
The real student is the one who learns the most in the relationship. Older souls are better students because they learn from every situation and every person they meet. Nothing is lost on a person who is aware, humble and teachable.
Choosing a Soulmate
In my coach training, we were taught a guided meditation for attracting your soulmate in which the client goes to the soul plane and experiences the energy of being with younger, same-age, and older souls. This enables the client to get an idea of what type of soulmate would be best for them.
Christy Whitman, the head of the Quantum Success Coaching Academy, says that she purposely chose to marry a younger soul the first time around because she thought it would be fun to teach. After 8 years of frustration, she'd had enough. The next time, she chose a same-age soul. She's now happily married.
As a coach, I don't try to influence a client in their choice of soulmate. But I do think it's appropriate to point out the pros and cons of each possible choice. I think that my soul chose for me to marry a younger soul the first time around because it was part of my development as a teacher. I learned so many lessons - mostly about what not to do. Once we learn our lessons, we don't have to repeat them. Then we can try something new.
Now that you are aware of soulmate dynamics, you can use what you've learned to consciously attract the souls that you want in your life. Do you need more students? Or a new teacher? Do you need a friend or a lover who is working on the same issues that you are?
Look at the relationships you've already attracted. What are you learning in these relationships? How are they promoting your growth?
My ears perked up when I heard two of my teachers (Genpo Roshi and Hal Stone) talk about how they know that their work will continue on the other side. They know what they are preparing for, and they value all the people in their lives - students, teachers, and same-age souls. We all need each other.
I don't care for any of the popular books on how to attract a soulmate. They seem to be more focused on the ego than the soul. I take a serious, spiritual approach to soulmates and their purpose in our lives. If you want to learn more about soulmates, I recommend Michael Newton's soul journey books. They are grounded in a deep understanding of the soul.
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