Do you believe in soulmates?
I believe there are people with whom you can share a strong, profound, mutually fulfilling, loving bond (not exclusively of a romantic nature), and that this type of connection has the potential to enhance the lives of those involved by enriching their perspectives in life, as well as helping them feel inner peace and become better versions of their authentic selves. This requires mutual transparency, vulnerability, and, implicitly, trust. You can explore the depths of your souls (or minds, if you prefer) and find delight and substantial meaning in your explorations.
I believe in serendipity. I acknowledge the importance and influence of brain chemistry and mental configuration in experiencing soul connections, the ontological subjectivity that requires us to design and give meaning to everything, to every encounter, every thought about others, every experience. I believe that when it comes to profound connections, this design really fluctuates from person to person, because of both nature and nurture (literature, philosophy, exposure, upbringing, family models, attachment theory), but that we can all find relatable ways to describe these intimate experiences, although language is ultimately limiting. I believe in passion. And I believe that sometimes passion can be a fleeting thing, and it can also be associated or confused with obsession (limerence) or infatuation.
However, I’m not fatalistic, I don’t really believe in destiny; I don’t believe or agree with the view that you are incomplete and need to seek your other spiritual half – even though some people function better and grow within a (healthy) relationship. Self-development and awareness can be achieved outside a conventional romantic formula, and outside the parameters of romance altogether (through art, spirituality, hobbies, your career path, etc). I would also deem a mentor, an academic tutor, a friend, or a family member as my soulmates, depending on how well we connect and how inspired or close to my authentic self I feel when I’m around them.
I also don’t believe strong, meaningful bonds need to persist throughout time or be lifelong in order to be valid, impactful, or life-changing. What I do believe is that each human being ultimately creates their own meaning and narrative in life, and for many people, the concept of soulmates makes a lot of sense in the way they construct their world, as they’re more likely to reach their potential that way; and poetic, dreamy souls may attribute otherworldly or cosmic connotations to this connection. There is always the other side of the coin- some people tend to ‘lose themselves’ in a relationship, in which case it’s better to nurture your soul first in other ways.
Personally, for the majority of my life, I have found myself on a paradox-resembling spectrum, between a dominant rational view on this subject & a poetic one, with a tinge of romance and magical realism and sprinkles of “je ne sais quoi”. Ultimately, in my case, intellect tends to rule over my feelings, and even my feelings seem to go through the filter of my intellect first. What I aspire towards is love in a wide sense, as a state of being and seeing and relating to the world.
It would be amazing if love surpassed fear as the driving force in the world, if people were not maneuvered by their shadows and emotional baggage. The first step is acknowledging this aspect. And then, the harder part, is re-structuring the mind in your favour, to form beneficial patterns. To get back to the topic of romance, whenever I think about or try to describe my thoughts vis-à-vis romantic connections, my discourse comes across as ambiguous, even contradictory, and that’s because of that area of “je ne sais quoi”- I find this hard to describe. It’s one of those things where I tend to know it when I see it or live it; where a new experience might shape a different answer, or my perspective might shift when I enter a different chapter of my life in which this aspect will be re-contextualised.