“When you meet that person. a person. one of your soulmates. let the connection. the relationship. be what it is. it may be five minutes. five hours. five days. five months. five years. a lifetime. five lifetimes. let it manifest itself the way it is meant to be. it has an organic destiny. this way it stays or if it leaves. you will be softer. from having been loved this authentically. souls come into. return. open. and sweep through your life for a myriad of reason. let them be who. and what they are meant to be."
I found this poem by Nayyirah Waheed and it got me
thinking about soulmates. Really thinking about soulmates, making my brain hurt with heated conversations and arguments on the topic, scrutinizing poems and replaying (rap) lyrics in my head. Originally I thought the word soulmate was cringey — cheesy semantics from a bygone era of dream catchers and Buddha beads — but when I started speaking to friends, I realized the term still rings true for a lot of people. The idea of an overarching and powerful bond with one person is rare and treasured; it's reassuring for our souls. Do we all get a soulmate? And are we then tied forever?
in clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Mary C. Lamia Ph.D. suggests “soulmates experience communication at non-verbal as well as verbal levels. Nuances of communication occur through facial expression and body language especially when you are tuned into another person.” Do we reach soulmate status when one look between two people can communicate an innermost feeling? That second-long “save me” glance at a party would suggest so. Psychology Today,
When I discussed the
idea of soulmates with the people around me it wasn’t always the person they were in a physical relationship with, it was a person they shared an intense connection with at some point in their lives; family members, business partners, long lost loves, old friends. Ahead, I asked one half of each soul pairing to write a few words on their mate. Everyone struggled. Turns out, it's pretty hard to find words worthy enough. Sophie on Liam "I always thought my life was totally full until I met my soulmate. I had a partner, a big family, more friends than I could keep in touch with, but I didn’t realize what a hole there was until I made this friend. We both worked in an industry that baffled and frustrated us and it was like our thoughts were totally on the same page and we had this connection and trust that allowed us to really question the world around us and push each other's ideas and thought processes. Nothing was too strange, too taboo, or too emotional to talk about. I don’t really know the longevity of this friendship, I hope it will be forever but it’s not a normal relationship, it doesn’t slot in with the rest of my life but in the way it challenges and sometimes confounds me, it makes me inexplicably happy." Charlotte on Emily "A soulmate is someone that just gets you. It's a connection of minds, a mutual respect, an unconditional love and a total understanding. It's about being yourself and knowing, not only that person is following and understanding your thoughts, but is right there with you, side by side. The soulmate's relationship is equal; no higher or lower place, just as one. My sister is my soulmate. We are identical twins, meaning we share exactly the same DNA. For this reason, we are incredibly similar — same sense of humor, and similar mannerisms — which obviously helps huge amounts with leveraging the soul mate status! We are living thousands of miles apart which is hard but when we are together, it's the best. Maybe our bond stems from the time we shared in the womb — those nine months, getting to know one another. Or perhaps after that, when tackling the spoken word and managing to communicate in other ways — the slight squint of an eye, the hunch in the shoulders, and other visual cues. We have shared so much and so many laughs. Laughing all the way. Without having to say a thing. Just a look. We have dreamt the same dreams and woken wondering if we had escaped normal life and been on an amazing adventure. Being born as a twin is being born with a soul mate. We are both blessed by having one another to love unconditionally. Here's to you, Emily." Lee on Jenny "Many people over the course of your life touch the soul, but the romantic notion of one individual ‘soulmate’ for everyone isn’t something that personally resonated to me as a truth. As someone who loves engaging with an expansive cross-section of human beings, numerous people have touched my soul as friends, lovers, even distant acquaintances whose actions or opinions have influenced me positively. These people are all soulmates to me through the ongoing effect they’ve had on my life. Jenny is different. Jenny is the one person who has gone beyond touching my soul in one or two ways. She’s picked it up, shaken it about, done a few kick-ups with it and then given it a hug. I also hope I’ve had a similar impact on her. Soulmate is too temporary a term for Jenny. Everything about what we try and achieve within our relationship is about entwining and enriching each other’s lives. She stands alone in this respect and our goal as a couple is the successful marrying of each other’s soul through respect, love, common interests, conversation, laughter, sex and all the other positive attributes that go into maintaining a relationship. Whereas other people pass through, we try to combine in as many ways as possible. She is so much more than a mate, Jenny is my soul as much as possible and I hope I am hers. Everyone else of note in my life is my soulmate." Katie on Gwayne "I never really believed in things like soulmates — I thought it was a lot of responsibility to pin on one person and that the term was so clichéd. But now I think we all have them. Just perhaps not in the traditional, romantic sense of the word. I would say my partner is my soulmate, but it's something we've grown into and worked hard on rather than something that was predetermined by fate. I think we have to work at our relationships, and not just expect them to be perfect and give up when they're not! I also think we all have more than one soulmate and it's not always a romantic partner — some of my best friends are definitely soulmates too. But I have to say, going into a new chapter of my life where we're having a baby together, and we seem to suddenly be on this crazy new adventure, just the two of us, I adore him more than ever and feel probably the most content I've ever felt, which is a hugely underrated emotion! I can't imagine doing this with anyone else. He's my best friend, comedy partner, supporter, co-parent-to-be, partner in crime, lover and currently personal chef. I think that makes us soulmates." Dad on Mom "A soulmate is that special someone who knows you to the core, often knows what you are thinking, may say what you are about to say before you can get it out. They also know what you like and need; a soulmate will have replaced something before you have noticed you are running out of it. They are comfortable to be around you, spend every sleeping moment close to you; they are so close to you it is not until they are away that you truly notice them, and miss them. There is true love between you and your soulmate, they will come first and always be given the last sweet. You are happy to do what they want to do because their happiness is as, if not more, important than yours. My soulmate has been in my life for 40 years and it seems like yesterday and forever rolled into one. I pray we will have more fun time together, however I have enjoyed enough love, joy and happiness to last any lifetime already!" Sarah on Dom "There's never once been a gap in conversation — which is so weird because I'm more than happy to enjoy a comfortable silence with someone. I'm not really a big talker and neither is he, but there always seems so much to say when we see each other, an endless amount of stuff to talk about from the small funny things to the big scary things. We're very different and have totally different interests and backgrounds so I don't know how this has happened, but it's like we have twin souls, like we're the same person in so many unexpected ways beneath the surface. I'm funnier around him than I've ever been around anyone. We really amuse each other. I have anxiety disorders and depressive tendencies but whenever I'm with him I just feel… elated. The only down side to all this is the fear it will disappear and I'm terrified of what that would do to me." Rachael on Helen "People usually picture soulmates as an old married couple, most likely male and female, in a long standing blissful relationship. Googling ‘soulmate’ only reaffirms this when met with a mix of dating websites, articles on how to find them and images of heterosexual couples. My soulmate is my best friend, simply because I know it. She knows me better than anyone, she believes in my abilities more than I do and would gladly beat the shit out of anyone who would hurt me. I know exactly how to relieve her worries and stress… (or exactly how to piss her off), I feel her pain during hard times and share her excitement during the good times. But together we’re the best. We’ve both fought for our friendship having gone through some hard times but have always come out the other side stronger. We share the same life goals and ambitions. We always want to go home at the same time after a night out and appreciate Netflix and bed more than life itself. We’re mentally inseparable and know exactly how to make each other laugh. We talk to each other in a made up language that no one would understand and get jealous of anyone who tries to enter our best friend zone. We balance each other’s crazy tendencies but challenge each other every day to make us the best version of ourselves. Ultimately, we can’t imagine life without each other." Jon on Kester "My soulmate, although he doesn't explicitly know it, is my friend Kester. He lives on a different continent, in a different time zone, as part of a different landscape. He's in a cabin in northern Canada at this very moment. Me – I'm in a shared house on a hill in South London. We live worlds apart. Our Skype chats are infrequent. Yet we deepen our friendship — our soulmateship? — and our understand of one another with each twist and turn of our sometimes slow, often rapacious, 20s through each intermittent conversation. I share my disdain for modern city life and my growing love of creativity and nature. He shares his confidence. We have different personalities – he's focused, stubborn; I'm scattered, and often happy to please – but we are bound together. What ties us is some vague but extremely strong connection from our early 20s. This connection, perhaps like all soulmates, has something to do with meeting at an important time in our lives: the end of adolescence and the beginning of adulthood and sharing. More importantly, our connection has something to do with developing the same values together. This 'developing' is what holds us together most, I think. This is because it's been a joint journey, a voyage of discovering what we feel and think, deep down. In our late 20s, we are currently shrugging off the whims, constraints and inane (and insane) pressures of everyday life. I'm sure – as perhaps all soulmates are – that as we truly age, and deal with love, marriage, children, the death of parents and our own aging – our journey will deepen. Which is to say, that our joint discovery of values and meaning will continue through discussion and our separate but parallel searching. The most important ingredient in the recipe for a soulmate seems to be admiration. The most important seasoning is, of course, humor. And the special ingredient? For us I'm happy to report that it's been our unplanned adventures on the road and unmapped journeys of the spirit. Because he (probably without knowing it) introduced me to haikus, I've written three to express what I can't express in this paragraph: Soulmates lend warm clothes Which you wear in the darkness. A single streetlight. They sing and play flutes, Laughing, drinking in haikus. Happy in a storm. They teach the teaching: No fear — not now, not never. This he keeps teaching." Verity on Kev "My partner is my soulmate and accomplice. Together we are scheming and plotting our way through this life. From the moment I was with him I felt uninhibited, supported and encouraged — free to be myself and free to be independent. (Which was a surprise, I assumed soulmates to be quiet and inseparable!) Of course, there are still tears, spats and rows, that's normal, real life. However, they are always followed by reconciliation and there is always respect. I suppose that's how we have challenged ourselves and our views as we have grown up together, learning what is important to us, to then work towards it. Now we are about to have a baby together, an everyday occurrence, yet one that is momentous for us. I know that the care and love that he shows me, he will show us both. The idea of creating another person with my soulmate, connecting us forever as a family, feels magical."