Dear Neil: My girlfriend of two years recently broke up with me. She said that we weren’t soul mates, and that she needed a soul mate in order to consider a future with me. What exactly is a soul mate? Can you create a soul mate relationship or does it just happen? Is there anything I can do to be a woman’s soul mate in the future?
Lost Soul in Sydney, Australia
Dear Lost: Soul relationships transmit and embody an open heart. Such relationships allow for love without fears, love without judgments, love without defenses and protections—love which can actually be experienced. Our souls invite us to open our hearts, to act from love instead of need, and it demands that we move through conflict, disagreements and misunderstandings with honesty, generosity, empathy, compassion and forgiveness. It requires us to put aside our angers and self-righteousness so we have the opportunity of merging in a blessed union.
You can indeed develop soul mate qualities in a relationship, according to Daphne Rose Kingma in the book “The Future Of Love” (Doubleday). She says the essential attributes of soul relationships are:
Self-awareness. Self-awareness is knowing yourself deeply—and acting on that knowledge. This means that instead of stumbling onto the real issues or the real meaning of our relationships after they are over, we are being invited to be aware of them as the relationship unfolds. This also encourages us to take responsibility for our own lives by being more conscious in choosing our relationships.
Aliveness. Aliveness is the energy that moves the relationship to something grander and more expansive. If the relationship you’re in doesn’t have aliveness—room for you to feel vivid, wild, exquisitely serene, beautiful, thoughtful, passionate, open, daring, sensual and sensitive—then perhaps you should look further. In order to be worthy of your soul, a relationship should give you the sense that both you and it are alive—and being continually born anew. Aliveness in a relationship is the sense that something’s happening here, that growth is occurring, that, together, the two of you are headed somewhere. When a relationship has aliveness, everything in it will bring you closer to one another, allow you to know each other better, to feel more connected as time goes on.
Realism. Realism is personal authenticity, behaving like the genuine article that you are, showing your unvarnished self. It is also mutual: it’s not just about how I feel, it’s about how you feel also. Realism is looking at the larger picture that contains more players. Realism looks at what you actually want, combined with what is actually possible. Normally, all we really want is to get our needs met, no matter how unrealistic that may be, and no matter how that effects another person. But if we see the relationship with realism, instead of being blindly self-serving, we are being invited to consciously create relationships that serve ourselves and others, and that also hold the potential of bringing us to a higher place.