(Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff's national bestseller The Power of Surrender: Let Go and Energize Your Relationships, Success, and Well-Being)
In my book, The Power of Surrender I define a soul mate as a fated romantic relationship with someone to whom you feel a special affinity. You fall in love with and support each other’s souls as well as their bodies. The relationship is never denigrating, abusive, or based on narcissism or control. When you meet, something in you awakens, even rejoices. You can finally breathe. The wait is over--you’re home again.
However, contrary to what you may think, a soul mate isn’t necessarily some ideal person who will make your life perfect or cure your loneliness. Nor do you have to always like each other or agree. But he or she will help you evolve. You’ll learn from one another. There is no deadline for a soul mate. One can arrive when you’re twenty or eighty, whenever the time is right. Sexual attraction is part of the bond though this may vary in different phases of life. Some of these relationships are incredibly smooth, whereas most have more challenges. However, with soul mates, two are stronger than one. You make each other better.
What should you look for in a soul mate? How can you know you’ve met yours? To avoid missing out on these relationships, you must let go of unrealistic expectations. Here’s a summary of some fundamental qualities that define what a soul mate is and isn’t. Though the intensity of these may vary in different phases of your lives, they form the basis of your bond.
How to Identify Your Soul Mate
What a soul mate relationship is:
What a soul mate relationship isn’t:
Whether a soul mate lasts forever, these relationships are transformative and provide a goldmine of lessons. They bring you face-to-face with aspects of your masculine and feminine sides that you desire to integrate. Marriage, which is a civil agreement, doesn’t require that you be with a soul mate. So, if it happens that your spouse isn’t one, or if you always stay single, there are still numerous benefits and much love that is possible. I’m not saying it’s necessarily better or worse to find a soul mate. The level of connection is just different. One thing I am sure of: each of our paths is uniquely perfect. Life presents us with what we need to grow. In this sense, a soul mate may not be appropriate or essential for everyone, as much as the heart may long for one.
Moreover, you can’t force one to arrive or demand that the universe deliver one. I guarantee: that won’t work. This is where surrender is key. It’s a fine balance. You must clarify what qualities you desire in someone, then surrender expectations. Paradoxically, the “letting go” part is what most increases the likelihood of results. Being too hungry or fixated on finding a mate can backfire by acting as a death grip that stifles flow. To manifest a goal, you must always hold it lightly so you don’t inadvertently sabotage yourself by clamping down.
There are clear ways to hone your intuitive focus to make it more possible for your soul mate to materialize. Here is an exercise to do from The Ecstasy of Surrender.
Invite Your Soul Mate In
Surrender into action by setting the stage for a soul mate, then notice the signs that he or she has arrived.
1. Make a wish list
Spend some quiet time picturing the qualities you most desire in a mate. Ask yourself: What would truly be good for me? What do I need? Intelligence? Kindness? Support? Chemistry? Wants children? Good communication skills? Is he or she spiritually connected? Also make a list of traits that are unacceptable to you such as being self-absorbed or rigid. Everyone’s needs are different.
2. Release Expectations
Think of your list as a letter to spirit. You’ve put in your soul mate requests. No need to keep re-sending the letter. Now, let the list go. Hold your desires lightly in your heart but don’t push. Have faith that you’ve been heard.
3. Listen to Intuition
Pay attention to intuitive signs that you’ve met someone of interest, even if he or she isn’t “your type.” These are: A sudden wave of chills, a gut feeling of attraction, or a flash of insight that this person may be right for you. Also stay aware of intuitions such as a sick feeling in your gut or a sense of distrust that warns, “Danger. Bad news. Stay away.” These will protect you from unhealthy relationships.
4. Be aware of synchronicities and déjà vu
Synchronicities are moments of perfect timing when paths effortlessly interconnect. You sit next to someone in a movie who turns out to be your soul mate. Or, out of the blue, you have a chance to go to Paris where you meet The One. Also, notice when you have a sense of déjà vu--as if you’ve known each other before. If this occurs with a stranger, say in the market, act on the situation by smiling and making eye contact. Then strike up a conversation such as asking for directions.