Give Up The Idea Of A Soulmate — Look For This Instead

Do soulmates exist?

1. No. 2. No. 3 No....only 7 billion more to go.

Can I be honest? I don't believe in the "one true soulmate." I know I'm in the minority on this one but, come on. There are 7 billion people on the planet so if you have only one true soulmate, the odds of finding him/her really suck. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the odds of winning the Power Ball are far better. What's more, I believe that all the talk about finding one's true soulmate is setting a lot of people up for disappointment because of unrealistic expectations.

As I often do before I sit down to write an article such as this, I did a Google search to see what the prevailing wisdom may be on the soulmate subject. Dr. Carmen Harra, in her article The 10 Elements of a Soulmate, states, "Your soulmate makes you feel entirely whole, healed and intact, like no piece is missing from the puzzle." Wow. Talk about unrealistic expectations. If finding your soulmate means finding that one person who makes you feel whole, healed, and intact, then we are all doomed to failure. Because here's what I know to be true: no one can heal you or make you feel whole except yourself.

When I did my "what is a soulmate" Google search, I also found other "definitions" that create unrealistic expectations — everything from you knew each other in a prior life; to you have an uncanny connection between major dates (like your birthdays are exactly 9 months apart); to you've had an inner gut knowledge that he/she was coming and recognized him/her instantly; to you communicate without speaking. Hmmm....

I'm not saying those things aren't possible, but I am skeptical. Why? Because in my work as a relationship coach, I've seen more than one couple transform an iffy relationship into the relationship of their dreams. They defined what "soulmate" meant to them and then deliberately became that person. You know, we all have our vision of a soulmate. My soulmate is someone who gets my jokes, makes me laugh, loves me even when my behavior is ugly, shares my political point of view, is a kick to hang out with, can match my irreverence and raise me one, and, most importantly, makes me feel safe so that I can do what's needed to make myself feel whole, healed and intact.

While I don't completely reject the concept of an instant-just-add-water soulmate, I believe the whole idea of a soulmate isn't about finding that one and only needle in a haystack of 7 billion, but is about creating a soulmate relationship with someone who joins you in the desire to do so. 

My favorite definition of a soulmate comes from the American writer Richard Bach who said, "A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are." That's how I feel about my husband. He makes me feel safe enough to open the locks and be my truest self. Had I been looking for someone who made me feel whole, healed and intact or who I recognized from a prior life or with whom I could silently communicate, etc., I wouldn't have recognized him as a potential soulmate and would have missed a really great guy. 

Some may be lucky enough to instantly share the keys and locks that allow them to be their truest selves. Many more of us, however, must take the time and effort to discover those keys and locks, to build the sustained trust that allows us to open the locks, and to feel safe in being our truest self.

Don't buy into the hype that you have one true soulmate who is, at this very moment, wandering the earth looking for you and that when you finally come face-to-face that your connection will be instantaneous and come with a spiritual whammy that slaps you upside the head and leaves you breathless. Your soulmate may very well be the one with whom you already share a life and all you need to do is choose to have a soulmate relationship. You may need to do a little (or a lot) of work to get there, but that's why there are people like me who live to help people like you.

Shela Dean is a relationship coach, speaker and bestselling author, who is known for her practical, down-to-earth, meat-and-potatoes, been-there-done-that, style. Check out her website or give her a call at 804.986.4342.