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 after 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 with what I learn to see 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 soulmate is everything I 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 soul age.
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."
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 it. Some younger souls are narcissistic. Narcissists don't have relationships - they take prisoners. 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.
Sanaya's 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."
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 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."
Same-age soulmates are often working on similar issues. I enjoy same-age soul relationships with my best friends. 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 may trigger each other's shadow material. My friends are a mirror to me. I first learned to love myself by loving them, which eventually led to becoming a self-compassion coach.
Older souls have a lot to offer as teachers. Younger souls may not recognize the love of an older soul because there is less attachment in it.
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."
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.
Every soul has a unique journey. Humility means accepting our own journey and 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 may be better students because they learn from every situation and every person they meet.
In spite of the descriptions of younger, same-age, and older souls, the reality is that we are all on a spectrum. The fact that we are still incarnating on Earth means we haven't graduated yet. We have many more lessons to learn. Wherever you are on the spectrum, there are people who are more advanced and others who are less advanced. For more, read the article on cognitive development.
How to Recognize Your Soulmate
"When one meets one's authentic partner ..., perhaps the most striking telltale is an immediate trust, an intuitive recognition that this person is someone with whom it will be safe to open the door to the cage. And there is a yearning to do so, for the path of kenosis as walked between beloveds expresses itself in a deepening urge to hold nothing back. But as Welwood observes, 'Though we may truly desire to connect with another soul-to-soul, our ego still prefers to promote and defend self-image.'
Thus the approach-avoidance dance begins, as the clash between our deepest yearnings and our deepest fears sets the partners on an inevitable collision course. With honesty, trust, a huge amount of inner witnessing, and the mysterious alchemy of love itself, the two beloveds may finally set each other free."
This is a beautiful description of a true soulmate relationship. Since I met my soulmate in 2018, our relationship has continually deepened in trust and intimacy. But it's not a straight line, and it's not easy. I'm glad that we met late in life after we had each done a lot of spiritual work. We were finally ready for a true soulmate relationship.
The Challenges of a Soulmate Relationship
The biggest challenge is to stay alert - witnessing everything that arises. I witness how my ego tries to defend its position and put up walls up every time we move into a deeper stage of relationship. It really is like a dance - advancing and retreating - making a little more headway each time we grow closer.
Everyone has a threshold for how much love they can tolerate. Soulmate relationships push against this threshold, raising it over time so that we can tolerate more and more love. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to explode out of my body with the overwhelming love that I feel.
A relationship like this inevitably brings up shadow material, which we face with courage, patience and kindness. I witness myself gradually moving from liking the superficial "nice" things about him to loving everything. The relationship is a mirror to my personal growth as I let go of shadow material and become a more compassionate and whole person.
My soulmate and I are each involved in separate projects as spiritual teachers. We respect and support each other in our different fields. We certainly don't agree on everything. We come from very different backgrounds and teachings. But we are both working towards the same goal - the advancement of consciousness on Earth.
This type of soulmate relationship is incredibly passionate, as we bring the passion of our life purpose into our relationship. As time goes on, it becomes more obvious that we were meant to be together, and I'm incredibly grateful.
Attracting a Soulmate
Now that you are aware of soulmate dynamics, you can use what you've learned to consciously attract soulmates into 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?
Look at the relationships you've already attracted. What are you learning in these relationships? How are they promoting your growth?
I don't care for any of the popular books on how to attract a soulmate. They seem to be more about 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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