How to know you've met a consummate soulmate
When we hear the words soul mates, oftentimes we gaze up into the sky and visualise our knight in shining armour or our Rapunzel who will let their hair down.
This is because the concept of soulmates is very prominent in the childhood fairytales we grew up with, and has since seeped into our adult lives. Some people take the concept of soulmates so seriously that they are not even willing to date until they meet their perfect partner - their soulmate.
THE ORIGINS OF THE SOULMATE CONCEPT
Many people have probably wondered about the origins of the concept of soulmates.
While we may all think it comes from fairytales, the concept of soulmates may actually date back to ancient Greek mythology.
According to Aristophanes, in his account of Plato's symposium, human beings were originally androgynous.
They had two sets of faces, four arms and legs and were very powerful beings.
This power intimidated Zeus, the Greek king of gods, who then decided to cut off the other half of the human beings' physique to weaken their power.
As a result, the legend goes, human beings would spend their lives looking for the other half to make them whole again.
This, according to most experts of Greek literature, is where the concept of finding a soulmate originated.
But what exactly is a soulmate? What are their characteristics, and more importantly, how do you know you have met a soulmate?
Karabo Madingoane, a registered psychological counsellor, says people sometimes tend to create their own fairytale world where they would meet their soulmate and live happily ever with 25 kids and a big house.
The reality, however, does not always work out that way.
"Sometimes a passer-by ends up being your soulmate, and at times your soulmate ends up being your greatest enemy because they broke your heart," she says.
"The Cambridge dictionary defines a soulmate as 'someone, usually your romantic or sexual partner, who you have a special relationship with, and who you know and love very much.'
"If we had to look at this definition, one may argue that almost every man or woman one has been with is their soulmate, which gets us to question whether or not a soulmate really exists.
"Depending on the types of relationships one has experienced, some people may argue that soulmates really do exist and some can argue that they don't. It really depends on the individual's perspective."
The problem, Madingoane says, is that at times when things are not going well in our relationships, we tend justify them as "my soulmate is yet to come", and during the times when we are experiencing a really good relationship, we would also justify or explain it as having met our soulmate.
But how does one know if they have met their soulmate?
According to Madingoane, a soulmate does not need to fall from the sky. Just look out for the following attributes:
They are supportive of your heart's desires;
They add value to your life's purpose;
They should be able to make you laugh from inside and out;
They should be able to make compromises;
They need to be forgiving;
They need to be trustworthy;
They should be appreciative of you and love all of you;
You are able to be vulnerable and authentic around them; and
They should be able to bring the best out of you.
Madingoane says these attributes form the basis for any good relationship. That said, some people tend to say that all those attributes of a good relationship may have been present in a relationship and it still managed to fizzle out. Some see this as a sign that their soulmate is still on their way.
But Madingoane is quick to diffuse this notion: "Sometimes reality gets in the way and as human beings we end up meeting people that make us happy and that we are compatible with, but we end up sabotaging ourselves and our relationships because we have the ideal partner in mind.
"Relationships end, even very good ones. It's important to not chuck it down to waiting for a soulmate, but also introspect what it is exactly that you are doing to make your relationships work.
"People can make any relationship work. The trick is finding someone that will be willing and able to meet you half way.
"In essence, a good relationship is determined by two people who have a particular understanding.
It is imperative at the beginning of every relationship to cover your basics and establish each person's intentions and as to whether you share the same goals as well as principles.
"If not, are we able to make compromises by accepting each other's shortcomings or are we going to be chasing soulmates which may not even make it to our lives ?"