Saturday, February 6, 2016

Soul mates: do they exist?

Soul mates. Everyone knows not everyone believes. Some search for their entire lives for “the One.” Others seem to find theirs and live happily ever after. By definition, a soul mate is a person who is ideally suited to another. This is usually through a deep or natural affinity. Naturally, people think of soul mates as romantic partners with the implication of an exclusive lifelong bond. The idea of soul mates has been around since the ancient world. What are the signs of a soul mate? Of course there are criticisms and active push to undo the belief in soul mates.


The idea of soul mates comes from Ancient Greece. In his dialogue The Symposium, Plato has Aristophanes present a story about soul mates. In the story, humans were originally had hour arms, four legs and a single head made of two faces. Humans had great strength and threatened to conquer the gods. Zeus decides to split the humans in half as punishment for humanity’s pride. The split leads to misery in humans and they long for the other half of their soul. According to this story, when the two find each other, there is an unspoken understanding of another, feeling, unity and no greater joy. Another story of soul mates comes from Theosophy, where God created androgynous souls (equally male and female). The souls were split into separate genders, having incurred karma. Over a number of reincarnations, each half seeks the other. When all the karmic debt is purged, the two will be fused back together.


Soul mates are often thought of as marriage partners. In the Jewish view called Bashert (Yiddish word for “destiny”). To be someone’s basherte (female) or basherter (male) is to be someone’s divinely preordained spouse or soul mate. When I met my husband, it was not love at first sight. We were co-workers until one day he decided to risk asking me out. After two years of dating, we were married. While researching this topic, I realize now that he is my soul mate for five reasons. First, I am comfortable with him. I am not or ever have been afraid of being vulnerable with him. I can easily share my fears, desires, fantasies or secrets without shame or fear of ridicule. Second, there is a strong attraction both physically as well as emotionally. Third, words are often not necessary between us. We have a very strong non-verbal communication. We can relay so many messages without very little effort. Fourth, we can laugh easily with each other. Lastly and most importantly, I can’t see myself without someone else. I try to imagine my life without him and I get very sad. He is my soul mate.


Of course, there is great criticisms for believing in soul mates. One main criticism is that a believing that a soul mate exists specially for a person is an unrealistic expectation. To the point, that many universities are now teaching classes on the subject. Some experts say that the concept of soul mates seems to lead to dissatisfaction with their relationships (The Case against Soul Mates July 30, 2014). This article included a test to show where someone stood on soul mates. I took the test and I scored high on both sets. I am a hopeless romantic as well as believe that relationships can work through just about anything. A contradiction! I believe in soul mates but I know that relationships can work through hard work. There is evidence that couples can become each other’s soul mates as a result of a deep and lasting relationship. According to psychologist Shauna Springer, “two individuals who have become perfect for and irreplaceable to each other have become soul mates” (Soulmates do Exist July 28, 2012).


I know I’ve written very simply about a topic which can be very complicated. Believe in soul mates or not, relationships are hard work. I believe that through hard work and dedication, couples can become soul mates. “Couples who, at their core, very good friends are also more likely to be more in love, be more committed to each other, and even have better sex than couples who values their friendship less” (Melissa Dahl July 30, 2014). My husband and I are very good friends as well as marriage partners. We enjoy each other’s company and enjoy doing things together. To me, my husband and I are soul mates.

Articles:
The Case against Soul Mates Melissa Dahl New York Magazine July 30, 2014 (http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/07/case-against-soul-mates.html#)


Soulmates do Exist-just not in the way we usually think Shauna Springer Psychology Today July 28, 2012  (www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-joint-adventures-well-educated-couples/201207/soul-mates-do-exist-just-not-in-the-way-we