To be loved is an ideal which we all strive to achieve in our lives. This holds especially true on the official once-yearly day of love and adoration. But the person you choose to spend Valentine's Day with (not to mention, all the other days of the year!) can make a world of a difference.
The difference lies in whether that person is your soul mate, your heart's other half, or just a life partner, a person who lacks the components to make you a truly compatible couple. Wouldn't you like to find out who you're with? After all, there's no avoiding the inevitable question we each ask ourselves in a relationship: Is this the person I was bound by destiny to share my life with? Or did I settle too quickly into a relationship with a person who will never be my heart's other half?
As the American writer Richard Bach 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; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we're pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we're safe in our own paradise."
Indeed, you can love many people throughout your life, but a soulmate… you feel something different for them. It's not so much love as it is fulfillment: you literally feel complete now that the person is in your life. Sure, love accompanies fulfillment, but fulfillment goes much deeper than love. When you have someone in your life who fulfills you, you feel entirely whole, healed, intact, like nothing is missing from the puzzle. Your soulmate lacks nothing, they have every aspect needed to mold perfectly to you.
Finding a love interest is easy. If you're a woman, just walk around the block twice and chances are you'll find several love interests in the form of overly excited construction workers, gas station owners, and the elderly men playing Bacchi in the neighborhood park. Anyone can find a person to have a physical relationship with, or some sort of a flirty friendship, or even a love infatuation. But how many of us can say they've found their soul mate? One in a million. But you can, and should, find yours.
Love, too, is dominated by one of life's greatest lessons: trial and error. We try and fail and try again in all aspects of life, until we hopefully succeed our task. Love is no different. Just as a baby adorably falls down many times before finally learning to walk, we also symbolically "fall down" and must pick ourselves up again in everything we try to do. We date our high school sweetheart at 15 and, although we know this probably won't be the person we will marry and spend the rest of our lives with, we give love its first try. From there, we experience an avalanche of emotions, relationships, and dating partners until we finally find ourselves staring into the eyes of the one we think is Mr. or Mrs. Right some years later. In my career as a psychologist, I've seen it all: I've had patients who have married their childhood love whom they've known since the age of six, and have stayed blissfully married forever. On the other extreme, I've counseled patients who are in their years of retirement and have never married, either because they feel like they've never met the right person or have struggled with commitment issues their entire lives. Most of us fall somewhere within the middle of these two opposites, meaning that we've been through several relationships before finding who you believe to be the perfect pair to your heart. Whether you're currently married, in a relationship, or contemplating entering a relationship with someone, it is crucial that you know who this person is to you and what effect they will have on your life. Are they your soulmate or partner? I repeat that there is a world of a difference.
I hear it all the time in my practice: I love my husband and he's such a good person and great father to our children. But I just feel in my heart he's not my soulmate. Of course, we all want in our hearts to be with our soulmate, and when we enter a new relationship we often question: is this it? Is this the one?
My Own Soulmate Story
I'd love to share with you my own soulmate story, so as to demonstrate the sometimes extraordinary circumstances under which the Divine brings people into our lives who were destined to be there. Before I came to America in my early 20's from Romania, although I always knew I was intuitive, I used to consult with my own intuitive. A stout woman with messy brown hair and glasses, Marusia would look at me straight in the eye and tell me exactly what I didn't want to hear: "No, my dear, the guy you like now isn't the one for you. He's not your soulmate. You will move over an ocean and there you will meet your soulmate." At the time being a young woman, it was devastating to me to hear that my own highschool sweetheart wasn't the one for me. We all know how it is: when we're in love, or think we're in love, the last thing we want to hear is that the person is not right for us. So I was stubbornly determined not to believe Marusia.
A few years later things changed rather suddenly in my life: my father passed away and I was invited to come to America on a singing contract all within the same week. I stood by my father's grave with a tear-stained face, wondering how I could ever leave the country the very next day to go perform in America. Suddenly, I saw my father's spirit, youthful and handsome, standing behind his own grave. He said to me, "Don't cry, my daughter, don't cry for me." I was astonished that he had chosen to show himself to me at that very moment. I asked my father why he left me, but soon found out he had come to deliver a very different sort of message to me. "You will leave this country for your new home tomorrow," he said smiling, "and there you will meet your soulmate. Look, look behind my grave, there is his name." I curiously peered behind my father's place of rest to the next grave over. It was an empty grave reserved for a man named "Virgil." "Virgil?" I asked my father's spirit...but he had vanished.
A few days later I had just finished singing my heart out during one of my concerts in New York. The manager of the concert approached me backstage and said, "Hey Carmen, there's someone here who said he'd like to meet you, can I bring him in?" I responded to her that it would be fine, and in walked the most handsome man I had ever laid my eyes on. I was fixated, there was something about him which completely captivated me. Strong, tall, with thick black hair and eyebrows, the man quickly extended a hand and said: "It's a pleasure to meet you, my name is Virgil." I sat down on the first chair in sight. Visions of past lives flooded my mind: Egypt, hundreds of years ago, Virgil and I together in traditional Middle Eastern garments. But then a very disturbing vision came to my memory: Virgil had been stabbed in his heart in that past life, and I saw myself holding him to my chest as he took his last breaths.
Needless to say, from the moment we met, Virgil and I were inseparable. He asked me to marry him days later and as crazy and against logic as it might have seemed, I happily accepted. There was just something about Virgil that never made me doubt the purpose of his presence in my life: we felt like we already knew each other from somewhere, we got along effortlessly, our numerology matched perfectly, and we both shared the same mentality. We felt we were each other's missing pieces. This is not to say we didn't argue or experience typical hardships of life, but we always acknowledged what was most important at the end of the day, and that was having each other in our lives. Virgil and I solidified our soulmate relationship for 27 years, until his death from lung cancer tore us apart. Just as in our prior life in Egypt together, the glorious symmetry of the universe repeating itself as it never fails to do, I held Virgil tightly to my chest as he took his last breaths. My soulmate had passed away.
Needless to say, the average relationship is not this dramatic, but soulmates do tend to have a more intense relationship than ordinary couples. But why would we choose to settle in the first place with someone whom we know is not our perfect fit?
Why Do We Settle?
There are a plethora of reasons as to why we settle into a relationship which we know is less than ideal for us or for a person we know isn't our destined partner. This can happen for financial reasons, having children together, family influence, social status, or, more often than not, we simply don't want to have to go through the hassle of breaking up, having to feel sad, going through a healing process, and then start dating all kinds of "interesting" creatures all over again before we finally find one decent person. We figure: "Hey I've come this far, why would I want to go through all of that again and start at square one?" Most people have a very real, subconscious fear of being ALONE. Even the word itself is dreaded: alone. No one wants to be without a date on Valentine's Day or without anyone special to buy gifts for on Christmas. So it's only natural that we pair up in this world, and unless you're an alien, you're biologically designed to fall in love with other human beings. But some of us just fall in love too quickly and think "this is it!" Is it really? We often lose our logic when it comes to love.
Having the experience that I do as a psychologist, I know true soulmate-love tales are far and few. Many people are with their partner because they have chosen to settle, without ever really trying to find out whether that person actually is their soulmate or not. Maybe that's because we fear the answer. Sometimes we were meant to be with someone for several years to close out a karmic chapter from a prior life. Other times we were meant to have children with the person but not necessarily last with them for the rest of our life. Other times we're just plain confused, because we love the person and hate the person the next second, and this melting pot of emotions doesn't allow us to see our predestined path.
No matter which category you fit into, there are several indications which clearly outline a soulmate bond, or lack of, between you and your partner. As we go through this list, think about your partner or potential partner and ask yourself how many of the soulmate criteria does he or she fit.
11 Things You Feel For Your Soulmate That You'll Never Feel For a Life Partner
Whether you're designed by the universe to be soulmates or just two people who have settled for each other's strengths and weaknesses, the decision is yours. You can remain in or change any relationship you desire, that's the beauty of free will. If you feel your partner is not your soulmate, you can choose to continue to be together and make the best out of your relationship, or you can choose to walk away and continue your search for your better half. To have found your soulmate is one of the precious treasures in life. If you feel your partner is your soulmate, I wish you both endless days of joy and laughter, and countless nights of gazing into each other's eyes, unraveling the mysteries of the universe one star at a time.
Dr. Carmen Harra