This week's question comes from Michelle:
“Dear Orna and Matthew,
I heard a controversial idea from an interview the other day. ‘Stop looking for your Soulmate! Direct your attention on becoming and living as the most authentic you and creating the life and work you love to live and do…and in doing THAT you will meet your soulmate as if by magic.’ What do think about that soulmate theory?”
Great question! It certainly sounds like an appealing soulmate theory. Focus on living a happy life and becoming your authentic self and BAM out of nowhere your soulmate will just magically appear.
Let’s break this soulmate theory down and see if it holds up to scrutiny. But first, there should be some agreement on what is meant by a soulmate.
What Is A Soulmate?
We’re soulmate coaches. It is what we’re passionate about and what we teach about love. We believe that a soulmate relationship is supposed to stand the test of time. Ultimately a soulmate is a person that you choose again, and again, and again, just as he chooses you again, and again, and again.
This may or may not fit with popular soulmate theories, so let’s look at other definitions out there.
Merriam Webster says that a soulmate is: “A person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.”
A quick search will bring up similar quotes about soulmates:
“A soulmate is someone that just gets you. It’s a connection of minds, mutual respect, unconditional love, and a total understanding.”
“Your soulmate makes you feel entirely whole, healed, and intact, like no piece is missing from the puzzle.”
“A soulmate is someone who you carry with you forever. It’s the one person who knew you, and accepted you, and believed in you before anyone else did.”
The similarity of these soulmate theories is that your soulmate will just get you. A soulmate is someone who will accept you, love you for who you really are, and help you feel whole.
Now that we have some agreement on our soulmate theory, let’s break down what you heard on that interview and see how it stands up.
Soulmate Theory Part 1 “Stop Looking For Your Soulmate!”
This is a common theory about love and soulmates. Somehow putting effort towards what you want, drives it away from you. Instead, you should stop looking. This is usually stated as, “Love will show up when you least expect it.”
The interesting part of this soulmate theory is that you are expected to believe that finding love is somehow different than any other goal you have in life. Anything else you desire – health, successful career, even inner peace – requires you to learn new skills, apply effort, and be consistent over time in order for you to achieve your goal.
But, according to part one of this soulmate theory, love is different. It doesn’t work by the same universal laws as everything else in life. Somehow it is more romantic for love to happen by accident when you aren’t looking for it. It’s like there is a stigma towards wanting love and taking action towards that goal. As if somehow you must be desperate if you have to spend time and energy finding love.
This is the part that most offends us, that wanting love, wanting to have a happy, fulfilling relationship with someone who gets you, somehow makes you desperate and needy.
Seriously, what is wrong with wanting to share your life with someone who gets you, accepts you, and loves you? What is the problem with treating a soulmate relationship the same way as a career choice? No one is ever perceived as desperate or needy in the pursuit of a successful career, a higher education, or any other endeavor.
Actually, most people who work at their relationship skills like effective communication, conflict resolution, trustworthiness, and empathy have lasting relationships that are essential to their level of success, peace of mind, and happiness.
Soulmate Theory Part 2 “Focus On Becoming And Living As The Most Authentic You”
This component of the soulmate theory you heard is difficult to argue with. The more authentic you are able to be the more likely you are to select an ideal partner as your match. Authenticity is ultimately the key to creating harmony in a relationship over time.
Most people are conflict-avoidant. They go along to get along and avoid speaking up and sharing their truth. This is particularly true through the dating process.
Couple this natural avoidance with the fear of rejection and now you have a recipe for people to hide their authentic self rather than allowing their freak flag to fly high.
The fear of rejection keeps most people from showing up authentically. They feel that if someone saw them for who they really are that they wouldn’t like what they see. This seems to be part of the human condition and we want you to know that you are worthy of love right now as you are today.
What does it really mean to show up authentically? Authenticity is all about sharing your emotional truth. It isn’t your opinion of others, or events in the world, or anything else. Emotional authenticity is expressing how you feel regardless of the expectations or perceived expectations of others.
Being authentic means you are an active advocate for yourself. You are speaking up for yourself by sharing your emotional truth. It’s how you feel inside and sharing that feeling with another.
This is also how to create connection with another person to have emotional intimacy. Just as part two of this soulmate theory suggests: To have a soulmate relationship it is imperative to be living as the real authentic you!
So many people attempt to find a way to express their truth without offending or upsetting anyone. We call this twisting into a pretzel to get love. It is a lose-lose proposition.
Pretzel twisting is when you try to contort yourself into a shape that you think someone else will like. It is the opposite of authenticity and it is a little manipulative. The success of your communication is your ability to speak your truth regardless of the perceived expectations of others.
The magic of intimacy is that when you share your truth, and your partner shares their truth, the two of you now feel connected even if the two of you disagree. You will not always be in agreement with your soulmate.
No one will ever see through your defenses to discover the hidden gem inside. Knowing how to balance your self-esteem along with your compassion for others allows you to show up as your authentic self no matter what.
We wholeheartedly agree with part 2 of this soulmate theory. Live an authentic life and you’ll be more likely to share your life with a soulmate.
Soulmate Theory Part 3 “Creating The Life And Work You Love”
This is where this soulmate theory gets interesting. According to this hypothesis, in order to share your life with your soulmate you’ve got to be living your passions… really? As if, those of you who are comfortable with your somewhat fulfilling job are not deserving of your soulmate? And that only those who are doing work they love will attract a soulmate into their life?
Part three of this soulmate theory gets convoluted very quickly when you start to consider all the women who weren’t allowed to have a career and spent their lives raising children and being the matriarch of the family. Are we to believe that none of these women were in a soulmate relationship?
We have had many clients who upon first speaking with us was successful in her career, wonderful relationships with family members and friends, and yet her soulmate relationship had eluded her. These women were living their passions, they excelled in their careers, and yet they struggled with attracting their soulmate.
A very successful Life Coach we know partnered with a colleague on a project together. The Dating Coach told the Life Coach that everyone who collaborates with her attracts their soulmate shortly after the completion of the project. As if she had some magic spell to bestow on those near to her. That was nearly a decade ago and this Life Coach friend of ours is still wildly successful in her business, and yet she is still single and lives alone.
Work is work and love is love. Love doesn’t care if you are successful, just as your work doesn’t care if you are in love. Being happy and fulfilled in life is important. It’s just not something that automatically leads to love. We give a big thumbs down to part three of the soulmate theory you have asked us about.
Soulmate Theory Part 4 “You Will Meet Your Soulmate As If By Magic”
The fantasy behind this soulmate theory is that you will not have to do or change anything! That by simply living your life a certain way you will magically attract a soulmate into your life. And you’ll be able to avoid those annoying dating apps, awkward coffee dates, and toxic people.
Here’s the good news along with the bad news. Men who are toxic, emotionally unavailable, or commitment-phobic, exist in the same environment as the quality men that so many dating coaches promise you’ll attract.
The goal is to learn to cultivate discernment while dating so that you can identify an ideal match. There can be a number of reasons that this process is easier for some and more challenging for others.
You are attracted to what is familiar. This is why so many people are attracted to the same kind of person over and over again even when they become aware that these particular people are not a match for the type of relationship they truly desire. The same is true for why those who have experienced abuse, trauma, and domestic violence find it difficult to break the cycle.
No amount of positive thinking will root out that program. It takes powerful healing and intentional action to change your internal GPS for love.
Part four of this soulmate theory seems to perpetuate the idea that there is something unattractive or distasteful about meeting new people through a dating app. Or asking your friends and family to set you up with people they know who are also single and looking for love.
This soulmate theory says that it is mundane to date and love is supposed to happen by magic with no effort on your part whatsoever.
We can assure you that taking this approach to love will take longer (if it happens at all), and cause you to waste your time with a lot of Mr. Wrongs before you finally meet Mr. Right.
Instead, Follow This Soulmate Theory To Create Lasting Love With Your Soulmate
Reprogram Your Subconscious For Love
Your GPS for love was formed in your family of origin. This subconscious program is made up of your limiting beliefs, your mental/emotional patterns, and your behavioral strategies around giving and receiving love, .
This system is driving your behavior as an adult. It is the reason you find certain types of men more attractive than others. Because your internal coordinates are off, you’ll keep missing your destination until you start to change the pattern.
Your limiting beliefs about love are not factual. The truth is that you are deserving of love. Love is your birthright. It is part of being human to share your life with someone.
Take the time to identify your limiting beliefs, patterns and behaviors. Do the work to break your pattern. You don’t have to fix everything. In fact, you’ll never be a completed project. Start the journey and your relationships will begin to improve right away.
Forgiveness is probably the single most important tool for creating and maintaining lasting love. Without it you will get stuck in an endless lather-rinse-repeat cycle with the power struggle and romance stages of relationship. Holding onto anger and resentment will poison a relationship over time.
Forgiveness has nothing to do with the people who have wronged you. Forgiveness is for you, so you are free from those past events.
Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. Let go of the need to be perfect. Release your judgments about yourself and others.
Forgive your exes for their limitations and hurtful actions. This doesn’t mean that you have to let them back into your life, but it does allow you to move on. Find the lesson from your past experiences and you’ll be sure to not repeat them.
Commit To Showing Up Authentically
This is the one part of the soulmate theory you shared that is great advice. The only way to be loved for who you really are is by showing up as your authentic self.
Your soulmate is not a mind reader. Attraction and even deep love do not come with mind-reading powers. If you want your soulmate to know what you like and dislike you’ll have to speak up.
If this feels scary for you it may be time for you to invest in some personal coaching to build your self-esteem and confidence.
Cultivate Discernment Through The Dating Process
Dating is a great tool for meeting people who are looking for a relationship. But if you don’t have a strategy then you’ll waste a lot of time. Use dating to get clear on what you really want as well as identify areas where you can grow.
Date slowly and with an open mind. Don’t jump into a commitment with the first guy who looks like a good match. The guy who really likes you will be patient with you. Date several men at once before going exclusive. Use your dates as opportunities to practice being more authentic and asking for what you want.
This approach to dating will shorten your journey to your soulmate by taking things slowly. It sounds like a contradiction but there is no better way to waste 3-6 months than by going exclusive with someone before you really know who he is only to have to start all over again when that relationship fizzles out.
Get out into the world and meet people. Become curious. Date. This is how you will meet your soulmate.
Release the fantasy that love will happen when you least expect it. Take new actions to achieve your desires. You can get started right away by downloading our special report, “7 Steps To Soulmating™.” You’ll receive our top dating strategies that have helped thousands to create their soulmate relationship.
Orna and Matthew Walters are TV’s favorite dating and relationship experts. They uncover subconscious blocks to love so that you can select an ideal partner to share your life with. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.