The terms soul mate and twin flame are damaging delusions that fuel a lot of codependent behavior.
I kid you not when I say that I once met a fifty-year-old man who told me one week after connecting with a woman that she was his true divine soul mate. They moved in together after a month of dating, and from what I hear their relationship did not end happily ever after. I could clearly see that she was a doormat, and he was a man obsessively wiping his feet. Even if they had surgery to become conjoined twins, their codependence and desperation still wouldn’t have been satisfied.
Desperation and weakness does not equal a great partnership. Like most things worth fighting for in life, good relationships need to be set up well, and they require a lot of work and maintenance. If I sound harsh and unromantic, hear me out. I only want to save you from the disastrous relationships I’ve observed and a few that I’ve experienced.
I want you to love and accept yourself fully where you are right now on your journey and feel zero fear about “finding the one.” If you are currently in a relationship, honoring your boundaries is a crucial step in being in a successful relationship. You are two whole people with differing ideas and experiences working as a team, not separated halves of some cosmic plan.
If you want to facilitate change in your current relationship or find a successful relationship, loving yourself fully is the only way to ease pain and to open to true love. Desperation for another person will only grant you more desperation. Loving yourself fully is also the only way to begin to set boundaries within a current relationship and give yourself space to be the most honest, healed version of yourself.
Illusions and Delusions
Soul Mate/Twin Flame delusions die hard deaths, and there is a reason for this. We must face our issues and truly love ourselves deeply before we can have a working, healthy relationship.
Many years ago, I remember stomping my feet with irritation every time I heard an inspirational speaker talk about loving myself more. I kept thinking, “I love myself more than enough, just bring me ‘the one.’” When I was lost in the middle of those types of thoughts, I was an untreated binge drinker and unable to address my self-destructive behaviors. I took antidepressants, but I refused to process deeper traumas from childhood and adulthood. I simply wanted “the one” as the answer my pain. Abused souls need love badly, but they rarely gravitate to the right ones. They gravitate to ones who illuminate and amplify their broken places.
I got my “one,” and he, too, was a binge drinker with untreated childhood trauma. We understood each other. We drank together and didn’t drink together. We watched foreign films together and jogged together. We read books together, and wrote poems together on separate computers. We had so freaking much in common, but that relationship didn’t just explode like a firework show; it exploded like an atomic bomb. Though that was a terribly painful experience, it allowed me to start addressing my issues.
At the end of our relationship, he entered AA and invited me to a meeting. I saw myself in some of the speakers. That was the beginning of my recovery. I faced addiction and began to address childhood trauma and other traumas. I returned to my spiritual path, and connected with what I believe is the most healing, loving force on the planet—God.
Not everyone’s path is the same, but I made healing my main priority. I worked on healing by finding alternative practitioners, exercising, meditating, spending time in nature, and eating a healthy diet focused mainly on organic produce. I’m in a healthy relationship now, and we support each other’s work and success. We spend quality time together. We are there for one another and gently push each other to grow. We talk out issues and learn to communicate in ways that make sense to the other person. We make each other better people.
When we first started dating, he told me, “You might be my soul mate, only time will tell.” Obviously, this isn’t the most romantic statement ever, but it was refreshingly accurate. The terms “soul mate” and “twin flame” border on silliness when you look at the real work a successful relationship requires.
Every day grace and kindness is the glue that holds people together. Quality time, gratitude, positivity, respect, loyalty, common goals/values, reciprocity and effective communication play important roles. Mainly, dealing with one’s own emotions and behaving as a healed adult is essential for a successful relationship.
I don’t know if I am with my “soul mate,” and I don’t care. The important thing is that he treats me as if I am his soul mate. Someone can say the words soul mate and twin flame but treat you poorly, as if you only need those words to survive. I’m happy in the reality of my life. I like myself more when I am with him. I grow because of his presence in my life and we know how to have fun together.
Sometimes the Term Soul Mate or Twin Flame is a Bullshit Pickup Line
The next time someone gives you the soul mate/twin flame line, quickly after meeting, first ask yourself if there is any chance this person is lazy and is looking for a shortcut to the bedroom or to a fairy tale without doing the real work to get to know you. Then, ask yourself if this person might be a player with untreated issues of his/her own. I know how unromantic this sounds, but apply logic when meeting someone who uses these terms.
Remember that stalkers, sociopaths, predators, and other unhealthy people can use a beautiful, poetic term to paint over a sick reality. Someone who is right for you will not idealize you; they will know you and see your flaws. This person will want you as you are and will not be lost in fantasy. This person will be willing to talk for days, months, a year, or however long it takes to know you and put you at ease.
I’ve observed people who try to hold on to the soul mate/twin flame fantasy in the most ridiculous of ways, contorting themselves and reality to make the lie become the truth. They continue to imagine a way for a fantasy to become reality.
They even tell themselves that an unrealistic partner can have an awakening and come back healed and whole. I’m not saying that isn’t possible, but it isn’t probable. The amount of work it would take for a highly dishonest person to become honest would take years, most likely. Then, this person would probably gravitate to someone on a similar path, not someone they lied to in their past.
Anything is possible, but real change requires real work and rarely looks like a fairy tale. Though people can have deep, soulful connections with one another, relationships built carefully and honestly have a better chance of withstanding storms. No one caught in the storms of high drama of their own creation likes to hear these truths, but for your sake and everyone else’s sake–hear it.
You Are a Whole, Not a Half
You can only give unconditional love to a person when you believe you are whole and able to give unconditional love to yourself. Unconditional love does not require someone to be something they are not. Unconditional love accepts people where they are and supports them. Unconditional love does not need a constant stream of attention to feel o.k.
Unconditional love receives energy from giving love to others. Unconditional love doesn’t expect anything in return. Our goal should always be to give as much unconditional love as possible. When you are not in a relationship, take time to love yourself better and spread kindness in this world. When you are in a relationship, do the same thing and give your partner lots of positive regard.
Unconditional Love is a Worthy Goal
There is not enough love and goodwill freely given in society, and love is all that we take with us. I promise you that much. I’ve experienced a profound near-death experience, and I know that we don’t look back during our life review and see our accomplishments, our bank account, or if we had a great partner by our side for this soul journey. We see if we were kind or not to people at work. We see if we were kind to the people we interacted with briefly and to those close to us. If we intentionally harmed others, we get to feel their pain. We see how we could have been more loving in all situations.
Life shouldn’t be viewed as a game where we are set loose to locate our soul mate/twin flame. Life should be a journey that shows us how to become a more beautiful soul, full of greater and greater amounts of love and light, whether we have a mate or not.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I love true, uplifting romantic stories. I want everyone on the earth to feel loved. I want every person to be deliriously happy; inner peace and happiness is not a bad wish for the planet. From a place of greater inner peace, it is possible to create a more loving world for yourself. I want you to love life ecstatically, deliriously, no matter your relationship status. I want you to be in love with your life, and I hope that you also have a loving partner on your journey.
Tricia Barker experienced a profound near-death experience during her senior year of college, and this experience guided her to teach overseas, in public schools, and at the college level. National Geographic and A&E’s I Survived: Beyond and Back covered Tricia’s story. Currently, Tricia teaches English and Creative Writing at a beautiful community college in Fort Worth, Texas. Tricia’s memoir in-progress, Healed, chronicles the moment of her accident, her near-death experience, and other moments of trauma that affect many women. The book focuses on being of service to the world as one way to heal from trauma. Tricia’s poetry has been featured in The Binnacle, The Paterson Literary Review, and The Midwest Quarterly.