The Tragic Truth About Soul Mates

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life…”---Elizabeth Gilbert
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life…”—Elizabeth Gilbert

Last week as I sat with one of my clients during his chemotherapy treatment he shared with me the story of his departed fiancé. “She was my soul mate,” he said. “I never got the chance to give her the forever we deserved because she died.” My heart ached for his yearning all day and our conversation got me thinking seriously about the topic of soul mates. My client’s notion of his soul mate is both romantic and tragic but though I admire his idealism, maybe we are not meant to have our soul mates for forever. Or at least not in this life, anyway.

When I think about the connections my heart has made over the years some stand out more than others. Some are tarnished with the haze of time, others still colored with a tinge of pain, a few painted with small splashes of glee. But only one exists wholly within the deep recesses of my heart—a bond so prevailing, a union so powerful, an undeniable link to the man I consider to be my soul mate.

For a long while I grasped foolishly for my soul mate, certain that we were meant to be together and that eventually he would evolve into a man capable of giving me the commitment I so strongly desired. But my soul mate was never completely present. Sometimes he tried to be but his desire for independence and freedom often overshadowed his efforts.

I kept an entirely open heart longer than I should have. When you leave the live wires of connection dangling from your heart they will get used just enough to keep them from severing, just enough to electrify you with longing and hope, but never enough to satisfy your desire for something true and complete.

Eventually I moved on with my own life as my soul mate did with his. Much time has passed without a word between us. At other times we have reconnected, our timeworn relationship comfortable, our appreciation for one another genuine and unquestionable.

Occasionally I still feel mourning for what my soul mate and I could have been. The two of us share a past held together by intense memories and powerful emotion but I have long accepted that we will never share the present or a future. Perhaps in another lifetime our love story could have ended differently, more completely.

But for now I simply accept my soul mate’s decision to turn away from our love, to choose how and with whom he shares his soul. The truly tragic truth about soul mates is that if you are lucky enough to find one there are still no guarantees. We can only accept this cruel and unfortunate reality with a loving heart and the knowledge that maybe we will meet our soul mates again at another time, in another place.

3 thoughts on “The Tragic Truth About Soul Mates

  1. Oh my, thank You for these words. Been there and done that and I think in the same way as you do about soulmates…I am still in the process of wishing and hoping that the moment you will let it go, it will happen.
    Thank you for a lovely blog, started to follow you. Friend of mine linked to your social work post ´cause she thought of me. I am an artist that quit with the art after 25 years and are doing my last studies to become a social worker…thou I live on the other side of the earth and I can tell you that there´s plenty social work left to do here as well.

    Shine bright <3

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