I was having a conversation the other day with someone who claimed it was easy to figure out what people wanted, that all you had to do is listen to what they say. Seems like an obvious statement yet so many fail at being able to comprehend what makes those around them tick. Intrigued, I asked him what he thought I wanted and without hesitation he replied with “a soul mate.”
I’ve never denied that I am indeed a hopeless romantic but I had no idea I was that transparent (especially not to someone who only knew me a mere matter of hours). I admit that I’ve never hid the fact that my ultimate life desire is to find the person who makes the world make sense, who would be able to make me stop all my antics and just be. I am not saying I actively seek this person out, not at all. In fact, I truly believe that finding this person is by sheer circumstance of timing, luck and compatibility. It can’t be sought, rather than discovered. However, I read this quote the other day:
“People think your 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's 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'll 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 they leave. And thank God for it”
After reading this quote my whole perception of what a soul mate is changed. Maybe I had gotten it all wrong. Maybe this quote is right, that to be “complete” we don’t need someone who matches us but someone who compels us to complete ourselves. With this mentality, though, does that mean we can have more than one soul mate? That perhaps we have several that come in and out of our lives, changes us and then leaves us a more astute person? Does the soul mate have to be a romantic partnership or can it be in the form of a friend, colleague or mentor? I’m inclined to believe that we learn more from people we’re in love with because we all have an aching need to fulfill those we adore in the way we want to fulfill us.
If the above quote is true than I can safely say that around six months ago, I was fortunate enough to stumble upon my soul mate (or at least one of them) someone who enchanted and infuriated me at the same time. Someone who called me out on all of my ridiculousness, who forced me to face my flaws with grace and maturity (while expecting to embrace my attributes), someone who wasn’t afraid to tell me when I was wrong and what I needed to do to become a better person. Someone who made me WANT to become a better person. It’s never easy to have all of your defenses stripped down and shown a picture of yourself that the world sees, rather than the one you idealistically paint for yourself, but I think it was the most important discovery I’ve made. On top of many things that I realized about myself, it was the first time I’ve ever been made to feel truly accountable for myself and my actions. I hated it and loved it with an equal passion but can confirm it’s one of the relationships I’ve ever had in my life that’s had the most impact. It changed me and continues to do so to this day.
Just as the above quote predicted, certain elements of the relationship had to fizzle out, but it never completely imploded (his words) and from an intellectual standpoint the connection is as strong as ever. I am lucky enough to have walked away relatively unscathed, having learned a lot about myself, about relationships and about life. I also left with a real friendship, one that allows me to continue to explore dimensions of my personality and self I had refused to encounter before.
If I decide to embrace the above quote then there are two things I have to accept: 1. that I’ve accomplished a life goal, since I found my soul mate and 2. whoever I end up with in the long term is, I fact, not my soul mate but just someone that I love, am compatible with and am able to sustain a mutually beneficial connection with. This is a little bit jarring to my “hopeless romantic” and “idealistic” outlook on life and love. It goes against everything I’ve ever believed in and aspired but it made me think. So I’ve taken certain elements of the quote and applied them into a new way of thinking however, I don’t think my former vision will completely dissipate, I doubt I’ll ever be a realist. I like romance too much, and the above quote quells any notion of true romance. I want to keep grasping on to this idea that our soul mate is our other half, the missing piece to a complex puzzle, the person we’re end up with, not someone who leaves when the work is done. I won’t discount that verity of the quote, since, as I mentioned above, I found a form of soul mate that came with an experience that I value above many other things…but at the same time I think I’ll hold onto the fairytale notion until proven completely otherwise