Why you might want to question the ideal of the soulmate.
A soulmate. Who doesn’t want one? People sometimes talk about their partner or a friend, saying: ‘He truly is my soulmate.’ Perhaps it makes you a little jealous, and you think: why don’t I have one? Where do I find one? Or is this person in my life already, but I just fail to recognise them?
A soulmate is a person we can trust 100 percent, who senses what we’re feeling without words. Some soulmates resemble us so much that it seems like we’re two birds of a feather, like a mirror image or a copy of ourselves. Other soulmates are people who support us no matter what, who are always there for us. Whether it’s a partner or a friend, the soulmate is an inherently romantic ideal. But it is an ideal that you might want to question.
Because if someone senses everything about you from the start, and makes you feel completely at home, does that mean there’s no trouble at all? That you have found a comrade without any edges or thorns or unbridgeable differences? That’s impossible, unless this friend doesn’t have their own individuality, or unless they wrap themselves around you like an empty shell. And that will only lead to repression, which sooner or later will have unpleasant results. Isn’t it a bit childish, too, to long for a connection that’s completely effortless? That’s what we needed when we were babies, but not as autonomous adults.
Is it beneficial for our spiritual growth to focus on effortless contact? Maybe we’re meant to appreciate the new and strange things in other people. To open our hearts wide enough to make room for every unruly, rough and incomprehensible aspect in others. Peace comes into existence when we stop thinking about other people as ‘different’, and start thinking about ‘one of us’.
This requires a spacious soul, a plus size soul. A beautiful word for it is magnanimous, coming from the Latin magna anima: big, noble soul. The bigger the soul, the more soulmates you’ll have.
Text: Lisette Thooft – Photo: Annie Spratt
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