What I've learned about soul mates is not backed up by research. My theory on soul mates is something I've concluded as a result of my own personal experience with relationships. When I fell in love for the first time, it was electric. I had always been a pretty happy kid growing up, but I had no idea just how high I could feel until I fell in love. When that same relationship also took me to the depths of hell, it changed me. No one can prepare you for the extremes your heart is capable of feeling. I walked around broken for so long, trying my best to pick up the pieces and put myself back together into the vibrant person I once was. The idea of not being with my soul mate destroyed me for so long, until I realized that is exactly what a soul mate is meant to do.
Eventually with time and healing, came the understanding that life with a soul mate wouldn't be a healthy or sane one, at least not for me. Society has written this story that only your spouse should be your soul mate. People don't want to get married or settle down until they "find their soul mate." But what if your soul mate is really just meant to be a passing ship in the night, or someone you met three years too late? Maybe your soul mate is someone with whom you have a love so deep it would kill you both.
As with most things, I was able to find peace with the idea of soul mates when I changed my way of thinking about them. You see, I think I've been blessed to have met a few soul mates in my lifetime, and they didn't always come in a romantic form. I have had dear friends who have been my soul mates too- people I've had such a strong connection with and made me feel alive. They lit me up. There was an instant familiarity with them. They were able to see me and understand me. I feel that my friendships with soul mates have also been some of my most tumultuous relationships. The friendship often ended with some sort of traumatic falling out. Because even friendships with soul mates are filled with so much passion that they are hard to sustain for a long period of time. Yet, they are still the relationships that I look back on and realize were the most impactful. They are the relationships that when they ended, forced me to change because it was too painful not to.
Now when I think about soul mates, it makes me feel nostalgic. Life is magical in the way that it brings these people into your world only a handful of times. We all have our relationships with friends, co-workers, family members, and neighbors - people we socialize with on a daily basis to keep us sane and fulfill our need for human interaction. They are the ones we communicate with to get things done, to co-exist, to ask for help, and to feel a sense of normalcy. But soul mates are different. They come into your life and set it on fire. They jolt you awake. They make you laugh and cry harder than you ever have before. From your very introduction with a soul mate, you feel connected to them on a whole different level. There is an understanding between you that is simply felt by each other's presence. A connection so deep that it feel's like you've known each other your whole lives, or maybe even in a previous life. They are often the people you can take off your buttoned-up façade in front of, show all of your flaws to, and share your deepest darkest secrets with. You let them in entirely, and the relationship often consumes you on every physical, mental, and emotional level.
And whether or not you get to have a soul mate in your life forever, or only for a short period of time is not the point. It's just knowing that they're out there. That you're connected with them at all times and by something so much bigger than communication. There is something comforting about knowing that your soul mates will always be a part of you, even if it means only from the sidelines.
I no longer hold anger or hatred in my heart for the people who have breezed through my world and left me to pick up the pieces. These people created the very foundation of which I've built my life upon. I would be dead inside if I had never known them. They were for a period of time my adventure partners and my significant memory makers. They gave me some of my very best moments in time, and I wouldn't trade those because of the heartbreak that followed. They are my soul mates. They were meant to come into my world, break my heart, and run off with a piece of it. But that piece is rightfully theirs and always will be.