Searching for a Soulmate

Image source: Launchora, where this essay was first posted
What really is a soulmate? This is what Elizabeth Gilbert says from her book Eat Pray Love:
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. 
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.
A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life...”
I read in a book somewhere that it is damaging to believe in the concept of "soulmates" - the idea that out there in the billions of people in the universe, there will be one perfect person ideal for you, who will love you forever and never hurt you. When you meet, it will be destiny working.

Realistic dating says that you have to 'kiss a lot of frogs' before you get to the prince. That you should go out and meet a lot of people before you find 'the one'. Not a perfect someone, but someone compatible who also has flaws. In a sense that's practical too, as it would give you a chance to know a person well. It would be a nightmare that you end up marrying the wrong person you thought you knew but actually is a different person.

I'm past twenty yet I still haven't been in a 'relationship' and I look uninterested in anything that has to do with love. My teenage years passed by with a few hopeless crushes but nothing drastically romantic. I would like or love a person from afar without ever talking to them. I fantasize and idealize them in my imagination, but I freeze at the idea of actually having a real relationship or even just simple friendship with them.

Now I'm in the middle of my twenties, seeing teenagers more experienced in love than I am. I have seen many friends in many failed relationships, not only ending in heartbreak but in unwanted pregnancies and emotional scars. In a way, I'm glad I've been 'spared'.

I guess it was in being always the dreamer, not the one dreamed of - always loving but not the one beloved. My heart would pseudo-break when I thought they were finally looking at me, when in fact I'm just something annoying that's blocking their way to another girl. I would rather feel nothing than the green-eyed monster of unwanted jealousy over nothing.

It is weird, the need to be loved and yet the fear of it. Always wondering if there will come a day when someone will appear who will also share the same feelings with me. The feeling that time is running out, I'm growing older, and others around me are together while I run around the crowd alone.

I love being alone, too, though. They say that its when we finally love ourselves for what we truly are, is when our dependence to an outside object or person ceases. I find that the missing piece in my heart that I was looking for is my own acceptance of me.

I'm still a hopeless romantic, dreaming about the unexpected moment when my soulmate appears. He may or may not be real, but hope I will know it. The world of illusion will blur around me and he will be the only clarity. Even in that one moment, probably, is enough to be forever.

For the meantime, I will learn to truly love myself, for real. I still can't do it completely, and I'm collecting tiny coins of self-love, self-acceptance, and self-respect in the fragile coin bank of my heart.

It will not be someone else who will fill up the broken spaces to make me whole. After agonizing over the missing person who will finally love me unconditionally, I found out the hard way that it was myself I was waiting for all along.

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