On Soulmates (“To the single people out there” Part 2)

(repost)

This is a follow up to a previous blog post I wrote called “To the single people out there“, inspired by Mbalenhle’s “You are the one you’ve been looking for“. In that post, I wrote about how one can indeed be happy and single.

Today’s blog post is tailored towards the single people who would like to be in a relationship one day. To the ones who daydream about that sort of stuff. To the ones who consider themselves romantics- hopeless and otherwise.

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We all know that being single and happy doesn’t stop us from daydreaming about being in a relationship. It doesn’t stop us from daydreaming about being in love nor does it stop us from appreciating the beauty in the relationships that we see.

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This is probably because at some point, a lot of us desire the opportunity to form this type of deep connection with another person or maybe just cute Instagram pictures but that’s neither here nor there…

Today’s blog post is on soulmates.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines “soulmate” as:

“someone, usually your romantic or sexual partner, who you have a special relationship with, and who you know and love very much”.

I also hear soulmates being referred to as “the one”. In terms of my thoughts on the concept, at one point I thought soulmates were a thing. At another point I didn’t. That was where I stood for a very long point up until the other day when I started to reconsider.

My inner thoughts and questions led me to an article called “Soul Mates Do Exist — Just Not In the Way We Usually Think“. The author- psychologist and researcher Shauna Springer provides an alternative way of looking at the idea of a “soulmate”.

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Springer suggests that we can become another’s soulmate as opposed to automatically being one:

If humans can develop finely honed skills in music, athletics, and language arts, wouldn’t it be equally possible for them to become perfectly suited and completely irreplaceable to their spouses?

I’ve included some more key parts from the article below:

  • Two individuals who have become perfect for and irreplaceable to each other have become soul mates.

Isn’t that beautiful?

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  • In the final stages of marriage, the bond that can be created is a deeper, more satisfying level of love than anything that anyone encounters in the initial cocaine-rush phase of a relationship. In one sense, to make a comparison between the experiences of love at these two relationship stages is like comparing apples and oranges. I would argue that love of a deep and meaningful kind is only possible when based on real knowledge.
  • If being loved is based on being known for who you are and cherished despite your flaws, then the feelings one has during the initial cocaine-rush phase of a relationship can’t be love. These feelings would be some combination of other pleasurable things, like hope and attraction, and illusions of the soul-mate variety.
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Source: https://gph.is/2dukk87

I really liked the article because it finds a balance between the “airy-fairyness” associated with the concept of a soulmate and the more practical side of things:

this is not a passive process — marriages don’t get better as a function of time alone, rather they get better as a function of two partners continuing to treat each other with love and respect, despite the challenges life brings.

So, all of this got me thinking.

If “love of a deep and meaningful kind is only possible when based on real knowledge”, this would entail forming a friendship with the person (whoever they end up being) first.

And then if that is true, shouldn’t we get to know ourselves as much as possible?

This is a point I raised in the previous blog post. Not that being in a relationship would hinder you from “getting to know yourself”. I just feel that on the basis of the whole “love yourself before you love somebody else” sentiment, maybe the real knowledge of ourselves that we gain through introspection etc can be beneficial.

Maybe really knowing ourselves can help us love ourselves more and then extend this love outwards. A love that acknowledges in the same way we all have our “issues”, others do too. In the same way I’m not perfect, nobody else is and so on and so forth.

Let’s face it, a lot of us may be single for a while longer. (I know somebody just read that and thought “no, no no, not me.”)

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Source: https://gph.is/1rPFEMk

Regardless of your feelings on the matter, all I’m saying is that you might as well make use of your time alone through gaining self-knowledge and more.

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Source: https://gph.is/1KdmLqY

This is so that in the future, if you do meet your “soulmate” (the way Springer defines them), not only will you already love yourself, you’ll also able to love someone else even after the “honeymoon phase” is over. This will be the result of you realising that really knowing and loving someone (*cough cough* yourself) includes knowledge of the good and the bad.

And if worse comes to worst, knowing yourself first can be used as a precautionary meaure. Real knowledge of another person may not necessarily lead to loving them but realising you need to:

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WE CAN’T FIX OTHER PEOPLE but when it comes to you, if real knowledge of yourself includes things you don’t like and are able to change, you can do so!

I’m sure all of this doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes but I believe it’s a step in the right direction.

Let’s be what Springer calls “grounded romantics“. Others don’t complete us, they complement us.

So whilst you’re single, living life (hopefully your best life),

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don’t get caught up in looking for the person who can become your soulmate. If you’re single right now, it’s probably for a reason. Just chill.

Personally, I believe in God’s timing. For you it might be different. Regardless, I’m sure we’re all familiar with the whole “things happen when they happen” sentiment.

With that said, keep practicing gratitude for where you are right now, keep finding the balance between daydreaming and reality and most of all, keep bettering yourself.

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Main image source: https://weheartit.com/entry/302860247

To the single people out there…

DISCLAIMER: Firstly, this blog post is not anti-relationships. Secondly, I’m aware that not all single people want to be in relationships one day. Some of us are what social psychologist Bella DePaulo calls “single at heart”; people who are single “because it suits them” and because it’s “who they really are” . Others are waiting for the right person. Some of us are dating. Some of us don’t know what we want. Whatever category you fit into, hopefully you find something of value in this blog post.

(Inspired by Mbalenhle’s “You are the one you’ve been looking for” ).

To the single people and to the daydreamers…

A lot of us who have currently (or perpetually) non-existent love lives fantasise about one. A cute couple on Instagram, a conversation with a friend or a wedding scene in a movie can be the catalyst for a series of “what-ifs” in our head that are then the catalyst for…

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Source: http://www.saragillianne.com/2014/11/07/wedding-planners-wedding-board/

But a lot of the time, as Mbalenhle notes – that person in our daydreams doesn’t have any imperfections. The world that we dream of, the world in which you and “they” hypothetically exist is faultless; ethereal almost.

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Source: http://2dopeboyz.com/2018/05/18/sza-garden-video-starring-donald-glover/

It’s nice to dream.

But how do we balance between the fantasy and our current reality? How do we stop ourselves from adopting a ‘when I’m…’ mindset in regards to relationships? By this I mean:

the “when I meet someone, then I’ll be good” mindset.

The idea that you’re waiting around to be happy and to finally feel valued and complete.

There’s so much value placed on being in a relationship that it’s often regarded as the only true way to feel complete.

Yes, some of us find being single hard and want to be in relationships. YUMI (Youtuber) gets real about this in her “valentine’s day real talk: being single sucks sometimes” video. And yes, relationships are a good thing- fulfilling a basic human need for companionship.

My point however, is this:

YOU CAN BE SINGLE AND HAPPY!

It just takes more of a concentrated effort in a world where “#relationshipgoals” exist and you’re asked “What’s wrong with you?” after telling someone you’re single (a question usually accompanied by an array of naturally well-meaning but ultimately back-handed compliments).

So, how can you be happy and single?

  • Realise that your feelings toward being single may vary. On some days, you will be over the moon; glad that you’re free and exempt from any stresses of being in a relationship. On other days though, you may wonder when exactly you will meet “the one”. So, when you find yourself feeling disheartened, don’t fret too much. By tomorrow you’ll probably be team #singlelifeisamazing again.
  • Acknowledge the other relationships in your life. Remind yourself of your family and friends and the value that they add to your life. Relationships are not limited to romantic ones.
  • Develop a healthy relationship with yourself. Editor, Margarita Tartakovsky, at PscyhCentral provides some useful tips for doing so here.

Your relationship with yourself is the foundation of everything.

Susannah Conway (author, photographer and teacher)

A healthy self- relationship can help remind you that another person cannot be your ultimate source of happiness.

To me, a healthy self-relationship is one where you get to know and value yourself as a whole. This means an awareness of your strengths and your shortcomings. It also includes the ability to self-reflect; something that comes hand in hand with solitude, another very beautiful thing.

When you surround yourself with moments of solitude and stillness, you become intimately familiar with your environment in a way that forced stimulation doesn’t allow.

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  • Vent to your friends. Being single can be an interesting experience. One where a multitude of feelings are involved. Talking to your friends who are in the same or similar positions, helps you to realise that no, it’s not just you who wonders if you’ll ever be in a relationship. It’s not just you that is growing tired of fruitless dates. It’s not just you who keeps getting their hopes up only to be disappointed. It’s not just you who’s never been in a relationship. It’s not just you that hasn’t been on a date.

Whenever anxious thoughts concerning singleness flood your mind, find happiness in relating with others or in simply reminding yourself that:

it’s not just you.

Because it really isn’t. And no, there’s nothing wrong with you if you’re not in a relationship.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” – C.S Lewis

Personality is not about what we have done or even what we like. It is about how we are in the world, and this infuses everything we do. Personality is the part of ourselves we take everywhere… so it is worth knowing something about.

Meg Jay refers to “The Big Five” ; one of “the simplest and most widely researched models of personality” which measures five personality traits; openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Then there’s the Myers-Briggs personality test, which I have found to be very insightful. This test, however, has been deemed low in scientific validity. The Big Five personality test also has its issues.

A quirky quiz probably isn’t going to tell you much about your innermost essence.

With all this mind, I guess all I can say is proceed with caution.

Will I stop nodding vehemently every time I read a “20 things all INFPs (my Myers-Briggs personality type) will relate to” article?

Probably not.

It’s a matter of taking things with a pinch of salt.

Olivia Goldhill, reporter for the Quartz news website, says this:

Contrary to the popular idea that we have some inherent true self, our personality is best scientifically evaluated simply according to how we—and those around us—see ourselves.

Regardless of the methods we choose to get to know ourselves, “The Book of Life” (an offshoot of The school of Life) in a chapter called “Self” states that:

A lack of self-knowledge leaves you open to accident and mistaken ambitions.

An example of this “accident” or “mistaken ambition” as it pertains to this topic is choosing the wrong partner.

All of us are crazy in very particular ways. We’re distinctively neurotic, unbalanced and immature, but don’t know quite the details because no one ever encourages us too hard to find them out.

(Source: https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/know-yourself/)

Although the “knowledge of our own neuroses is not at all easy to come by”, I’m sure that looking deep enough within ourselves and asking the right questions is a step in the right direction.

Ultimately, when we begin to know ourselves, the things we learn (the ugly things in particular) can be the impetus for a mindset where we acknowledge that if we are to improve as individuals, singleness is not a hindrance but an aid to this process. The possibility for this view of singleness rings especially true when you consider that a poor level of understanding of our characters does not put us in any position to know who we should be looking out for in the first place.

Perhaps there is happiness to be found in discovering and managing one’s own madness before another’s.

  • Pursue your goals. It’s not like being single is this time period where you just wait around for somebody. All of us have goals, activities we want to try, things we’re interested in, projects we’re working on. Remind yourself of the things you’ve wanted to do for a long time.Keep working towards your goals. Imagine getting into a relationship and asking the person “So what you do in your free time?”, only for them to say “Oh, nothing, I was waiting for you”.
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“Well then…”

Beyond the occasional aches concerning singleness, contentment can be found in pursuing your dreams even when the outcome is uncertain. Considering where the completion of your goals can lead to in life is exciting; a destination that is not reliant on the presence of a partner.

  • Delve deeper into your spirituality/faith. To those of you who are spiritual or follow a specific faith, use them as a tool to find contentment whenever you’re feeling unease about your singleness. Robert Puff, clinical psychologist, examines the link between faith and happiness in this article.

How does developing a relationship with God or strengthening an existing one play a role in your life as a single person?

  • Remind yourself that being single is great. The lyrics from Jorja Smith’s “Teenage Fantasy” come to mind for this last point:

When we are young, we all want someone
Who we think is the one, just to fit in
There’s no need to rush, take your time
Life’s a big old ride, sit back and enjoy the vibe

Contentment is what I think of when I hear these lyrics; practicing gratitude for where you are right now:

#SINGLEBUTNOTALONE.

The practice of this gratitude can come through reminding yourself of the perks that come with singleness. Use videos or articles like the one previously linked to do so.

In addition, consider the following:

What are the perks of being single pertaining to you and your life right now?

Regardless of all the tips I’ve listed above, I realise some of you may be thinking “well this is all well and good but…”

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us8cN_GAukU

To those of you who feel more #SINGLEANDALONE, a reminder that your feelings are valid. Check out this post on dealing with loneliness when you’re single.

For now though, to you. Yes, you, you fabulous human being. To freedom, daydreaming, emotional fluctuation and to contentment.

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Source: https://gph.is/1he7IP1