“Do you think everyone has a soulmate?” Lisa asked to me, a casualness to the question covering up her feelings of hopelessness.
“I don’t believe in soulmates.” I told her.
Her eyes met mine and her tone switched. This was serious.
“What do you mean? Everyone that I know that has a great love story tells me that they met their soulmate. I’ve been waiting for mine all this time.” She looked away for a second before coming back. “I thought it was Steve. [They’d broke up the year before.] But I hope it wasn’t. Or maybe he was? Part of me keeps wondering what I did wrong.”
I’d been there too many times to count. In the exact place that Lisa was in. Having the same questions. “Is he really my soulmate? Will we get back together? Will I ever find love?” And then when I was in a relationship I’d still find myself wondering, “Is he the right one?”
Love felt like this thing I was always chasing but could never find.
Back to soulmates and to Lisa.
“Did you notice how when people told you their love story, that it’s a story?” I explained, “The couple has decided to think about their relationship, and about each other in a certain way. They have decided to think that they are soulmates.”
“But aren’t they?” She asked.
“Well, they are if they decide that they are. But that’s the thing – It’s a decision that they make. It isn’t something that just happens or doesn’t happen.”
Lisa wasn’t having it, she’d been waiting for her soulmate to show up for a while.
“But what about feelings? What about that feeling when you look at someone and there is an instant attraction? When my friend met her husband, she said she just knew.”
“I wouldn’t tell your friend to stop believing that her husband is her soulmate. The love story that she’s telling you is how she is choosing to think about her husband – either consciously or unconsciously. In her case, it helps her get through the not so great times and allows her to feel safe and secure in that relationship. It works really well for her, but how does believing that there are soulmates work for you?”
Lisa sighed. “It makes me wonder if I’ll ever find mine.”
And that’s the problem with the idea of soulmates.
It makes us wait, instead of create the relationship we want.
It makes us idealize relationship and imagine that if only we found our soulmate, then we’d be happily ever after.
It takes away our power and choice, which leaves us chasing love, instead of finding it.
“What if love was something you could choose instead of something that just happened or didn’t happen?” I asked her.
“I wouldn’t have to keep waiting for Steve to come back.” Lisa answered more hopeful.
Love isn’t something you find. It’s not something that just happens or doesn’t happen. Love is something we create with someone by the thoughts we think every day.
Which means that anyone can be your soulmate, if you decide that they are.
She looked her at phone with frustration and disgust. A text message had just come in. “Ugh, he makes me SO mad!”
We’d been sitting having coffee, and a wonderful time, until the text message had arrived. “What happened?” I asked.
“I just asked when he’d be home. He gets so ridiculous and acts like I’m controlling, but I’m not. I’m simply communicating. Someone has to let out the dogs. It’s not a big deal, but if I know when he’s going to be home then I can decide if I have to go home now or if I can finish some errands first.”
“Oh,” I nodded my head in acknowledgement, but there was more,
“He’s always like this. He just jumps to conclusions without even asking. He refuses to communicate.”
“Okay, what did he say?”
“He just said he’d be home after drinks. He’s all vague and sketchy. How am I supposed to know when drinks are going to be over? Why can’t he just communicate?” she continued, her anger and frustration evident. “I can just hear his voice ‘You’re too controlling.’ He’s always making me wait around for him.”
The one thing that’s changed my entire life: realizing that my thoughts aren’t true. The stories I’m telling about what other people do are optional. I can choose to tell stories that make me angry. I can choose to tell stories that make me happy. I can choose to not tell stories at all.
Our thoughts are opinions. My friend had all sorts of opinions about what her boyfriend’s text message meant. Her mind wanted to tell her a story about how frustrating and unreasonable he is. That story – that’s what made her angry. It wasn’t the text message.
She didn’t get to choose what he texted her. She didn’t get to choose how he behaved or didn’t behave. But, she did get to choose what she thought about it. She did get to choose, and was choosing, whether consciously or unconsciously, the story that she was telling about the text message.
This isn’t just thinking positive. It’s creating your life – creating how you go about each day by carefully examining and choosing thoughts that are in your best interest.
It wasn’t in her best interest to be angry at him.
When she’s angry she doesn’t communicate. She creates tension in her relationship. She isn’t proactive. She ruins her own day. When she is angry she acts like she is a victim. She thinks “he MADE me mad,” but he didn’t do anything except send a text message. She CHOSE to be mad, by choosing to believe and engage in the stories she was telling herself.
She could have told herself:
“I’m really glad we have phones and can communicate. I’m going to send a text back asking what time he thinks drinks will be over.”
But instead she chose to tell herself:
“He’s unreasonable and can’t communicate. He always wants an exact time from me but doesn’t do the same in return. He makes me wait around all night for him. He thinks I’m controlling.”
And then she doesn’t text him. She doesn’t ask him for a more specific time. She doesn’t communicate. She gets angry at him.
What we think and the stories that we tell about things that happen, that’s what creates our feelings. If you want to feel better and have better relationships, start questioning the stories you are telling about the things that happen.