What’s A Soul to do Without a Mate?
“I seriously believed he was my soul mate.”
“He probably was. Your problem is you don’t understand what that word means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, 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 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.” From Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
This isn’t going to turn into a book review, but several months ago, I was looking for something to read and I came across this book. I did enjoy it because I was able to connect with the author in many ways. But it was that one quote that stuck with me. So much so, that I copied it down and saved it as a draft. Yesterday as I searched my draft files for a topic to trigger a post, this quote once again leaped out at me.
There’s something about the term soul mate that seems ridiculous coming out of anyone’s mouth over the age of 25. For years it became a measure of a romantic relationship, early on when you still liked each other, still cared about what the other thought and would sit for hours intimately discussing everything including sunsets, warm puppy breath and life long dreams. That is until reality appears and crappy jobs, misbehaving children, meddlesome in-laws and lots of bills all combine and drive a wedge wider than the Grand Canyon between you and your soul mate. Movies of late, television shows and romance novels often paint the picture that a soul mate is what drives a perfect relationship. Considering no relationship is perfect, no person is perfect and nothing in life is perfect, perhaps we discredit soul mates as being just another term for BFFs, Best Friends Forever. It’s no wonder most roll their eyes when they hear someone use the word, soul mate.
What’s intriguing is looking at soul mates from that other angle. The angle that defines a soul mate as your perfect mirror image. Someone who knows the b.s. you’re trying to present to the rest of the world and isn’t afraid to call you on it. They aren’t afraid because they know how to deal with you, how to get through to you, know how hard they can push and know when it’s time to back off. They know this because they are just like you. They know what you need, because it’s exactly what they need when life gets to be too much to handle. They not only encourage you to knock down the walls you’re hiding behind, they’re also willing to be there with the wrecking ball to take care of those particularly stubborn parts that refuse to crumble to the ground. They do this for you to help move you past the spot you’ve been stuck.
I don’t agree though that this type of soul mate won’t stick around long-term. There will always be some who will wander into your life for a short time, serve an imminent purpose and then move on, but I think some are around for the long haul. They will always be there to tell you like it is, they know when you need to hear it and will help you back up as soon as they’re finished knocking you over. Face it, every one needs some brutal honesty at times. If you’re lucky, you’ll recognize your soul mate when he or she comes along.