Soulmates. Growing up, everyone led me to believe that this meant one thing and one thing only: Soulmates are two people who are meant to be with one another and, usually, end up spending the rest of their lives together.
I was told that one day I would marry my "soulmate" and create the life that everyone had always envisioned for me.
TV shows and movies would especially reinforce this view by developing entire plot lines where, in the end, two characters would come to this grand realization that they were "meant" to be together all along.
While I do believe in this idea that there's someone out there for everyone, I also believe that looking at it in this way can be misleading. It prevents us from understanding what it truly means to have a soulmate.
Thinking of it in such rigid terms — as having to do with romantic relationships only — is limiting, and ultimately makes us feel as though we failed if we can’t seem to find that "special someone." It can make us feel like there might not be a soulmate out there for us after all.
But, that’s just simply not true.
To me, soulmates are fundamentally those people we have an irreplaceable connection with. They're the people we're most comfortable with, who we feel safe enough to be our authentic selves around at all times.
Yes, this can definitely apply to your significant other. But it can also apply to your best friend, your siblings or even your favorite co-worker.
Soulmates come in all shapes and sizes, and the view that we can only find our soulmates through romantic relationships can be detrimental to how we view our relationships with others overall.
It wasn't until recently that I finally understood this for myself. I spent so much time under the impression that I needed to look out for “the one,” the person who would finally understand me and see me for who I truly am, that it took value away from the relationships I already had.
I was so worried about looking out for a soulmate without realizing that I had already found them all along. I was paying too much attention to someone I haven't even met yet and not enough attention to the important people I already had in my life.
After all, this is what society has taught us. There's so much emphasis put on romantic relationships that it makes us believe they are more important than our other relationships.
And even if we have a significant other, we have plenty of other relationships with friends and family. With all of these other people in our lives, what are the odds that our romantic relationships are the only ones to bring us our soulmates?
So now, instead of being consumed by trying to find “the one,” I think of all the times my best friends have comforted me while I was going through a tough time, or when my younger sister helped me solve a problem I was struggling with.
Focusing on the little things is what helps you finally realize that all of the people you’re already close to are your soulmates, and that they’re in your life for a reason. This has given me a new outlook on the idea: If it’s meant to be, it’ll be.
So the next time you find yourself struggling to grasp what the word “soulmate” really means, remember to find happiness in your favorite people and the fact that they are meant to be in your life, as well as comfort in knowing that you’re already surrounded by your soulmates.