‘And they lived happily ever after…’
There is a reason why many fairy tales end with a perfect couple finally getting to be with each other and the above statement. Because even those who wrote fairy tales – tales of hope, love and magic – could not imagine what kind of a life ‘prefect’ couples lead! So they simply throw that statement ‘they lived happily ever after’ and get away with it!
Who is my Soul Mate?
As a therapist who also deals with relationship issues I often get asked this question both by single women and men. Sometimes by married men and women too asked me this question.
Let us be very honest for a moment. Do any of us consider ourselves perfect? Not really. Then why do we expect a perfect person in life? Why would a perfect person choose to live with someone as imperfect as ourselves?
There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding the term Soul Mate, especially among those into the ‘New Age’ circles. The common misunderstanding is that a soul mate is a romantic partner who is meant to be yours, someone who will storm into your life and set all things right for you, at least on the relationship front. And everybody is supposed to have a soul mate.
Well, if that is true then for every person who remains unmarried all their life there will be another disappointed person who is left forcibly unmarried or caught with a ‘wrong’ partner. It even implies an obligation to get married whether one likes it or not. Well, with so many social and religious obligations already around I would say you are better off without another ‘sin’ falling on your head.
The Need for a Perfect Partner
Most of our needs for a perfect partner, just like most other relationships, spring from an internal lack. We feel lonely, unloved, worthless, or because we feel our family and friends have not really understood us. In fact, if there are soul mates and we do find them, this very dumping of past expectations on to that person’s head is alone enough to wreck that relationship!
Another issue is social/cultural/religious programming we receive since our childhood regarding relationships. We need partners who fit our programming. Hence a lot of marriages end up as bitter disappointments for both the partners.
I am not saying there is nobody called a Soul Mate. All I am asking is to question yourself with forthright honesty as to why do you want to hold onto such an idea? Our mind never does anything randomly. So if there is a belief then there is an underlying motivation holding that belief. And whatever that motivation or lack is you can heal that without a need for any external saviour.
Suffering comes from inside of us never from outside. What’s outside is always a reflection of our internal state. I am not being a killjoy here. I do agree there are perfect partnerships but not perfect persons. What do I mean by a perfect partnership?
We always attract what we need in our lives. I am not putting forward some romantic pseudo-spiritual concept here. I am speaking of how our minds shape our reality and experiences. How is that when you drive in anger you seem to attract all the ‘idiots’ in the road who overtake you narrowly or drive straight on the wrong side of the road directly towards you?
More than we attract what we wish for consciously, we attract those beliefs that motivate us to consciously hold desires and ambitions in the first place!
This is no exception in case of relationships too. We seem to find partners who are smack opposite of who we are. Or they soon grow into that. You can look at the situation from two viewpoints – one we got what we attracted so we must suffer. Or two, we have an opportunity to go within and question the belief that attracted this situation in the first place.
Mirrors to our Fears
A life partner usually fulfils the role of a mirror perfectly. What you see in a mirror is exactly the opposite of your image as well as the same as you. Opposite because the poles are reversed – left to right appears as right to left in the mirror. Same as us because they reflect all our fears and beliefs back to us. What can be a more perfect partnership than that?
When friends mirror our fears, we cut them from our lives. When siblings do that we start avoiding them. When parents do that we run away from them. But when finally spouses do that we deliberate for a long time. Even in countries where divorces are common, people spend a lot of time in the marriage before they opt out.
In fact, opposites balance out each other nicely many times. Think of a spendthrift man with a frugal wife. If they learn to accept each other’s shortcomings, there will still be arguments once in a while, but there will a balance of thoughts built in each. If they think they are not good partners, there is only suffering.
Do I mean partnerships should not be broken? I am not speaking of any outside actions here. Before you opt to stay in the relationship or to get out of it, make sure you’ve questioned and healed all your beliefs and fears the other person is reflecting back to you.
For if you fail to do that, you will either continue to suffer in the relationship, or move out of that relationship and attract a similar one again!
Isn’t it selfish to look at self healing in a relationship? Perhaps it is, but is it unselfish to expect a soul mate to walk and be disappointed with who comes in?
If you are single, ask yourself what is your idea of soul mate relationship and why do you want such a belief? Find and work out the beliefs that are motivating you to look for a soul mate.
There is nothing wrong in falling in love before or after marriage. There is nothing wrong in thinking this is the perfect partner for you. But dumping expectations on the other person in relationship – be they personal or social/cultural – that is the beginning of trouble.
I’ve seen more relationships break or not happen at all out of idealistic concepts, fears, and expectations than actual lack of compatibility.
A partnership is a best opportunity for us to heal ourselves. And if both partners do that, they would certainly realize they had attracted Soul Mates indeed!
Strange as it may sound, a perfect relationship happens when the both partners do not expect anything from each other!