“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?
Writing in Psychology Today, 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.
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.