Monday, September 04, 2006

Do we have soul mates?

Deirdre: Let's talk about soul mates, since our society is so into them right now. If you watch TV at all, it's hard to escape those eHarmony commercials with that creepy-looking dude pushing his site as the place to find your soul mate. I will admit those commercials are seductive -- even to me, an avowed online-dating avoider -- but their emphasis on finding a soul mate is unfair and misleading, I think.
Alisha: How is it misleading? You can find your soul mate anywhere, even online (gasp!), but it's that stupid song eHarmony uses that really grates on my nerves!
Deirdre: The site is telling people if you use it you'll find your soul mate -- when in reality it's a dating web site like all the others. And a person can have many soul mate-type people in their lives, don't you think?
Alisha: So, are we discussing the merits of eHarmony or do we want to get down and dirty on the topic of soul mates? ... If it's soul mates, I say there are different types of soul mates out there, as well as many people who could fit the definition of a soul mate. I have married someone I consider to be mine, but I also think everyone has a few people in this world they could call their soul mate.
Deirdre: Let's save eHarmony for another conversation. I'm just worried that as a culture, we're too concerned with finding that one soul mate when we have people in our lives who we have a deep connection with. It doesn't have to be that one person. Talk about pressure!
Alisha: Please, someone stop the David Bowie music. Seriously though, people should still seek out that perfect someone. Isn't that what we dreamed of as little girls? Someone who trusts us, who longs to grow old with us and live life hand-in-hand?
Deirdre: That's my point! We're programmed to believe Prince Charming is going to come along and sweep us off our feet, and we'll live happily ever after. And we'll never fight or never have a bad day or never outgrow one another, or never have a problem in the world.
Alisha: Certainly no one informed us Prince Charming could suffer from alcoholism or that Charming's mother never taught him how to balance a checkbook. That doesn't diminish the fact that Mr. Charming could still be our soul mate.
Deirdre: But why do we have to have soul mates? Can't we just have indispensable people in our lives? Why must there be a ... category, for lack of a better word?
Alisha: Indispensable? We're talking about people here. A category helps delineate between friends and lovers. A category, such as a soul mate, gives depth to that relationship. It's no longer about just "hanging out with your friend," it's about "sharing your life, day in and day out" with another person.
Deirdre: That's where we disagree. I don't think that just because you have a strong connection with someone that you have to share your life with them, day in and day out. I would consider my friend Kara to be a soul mate, even though in the past we've gone weeks, if not months without speaking or e-mailing. But when we do talk, it's like a day hasn't gone by. We care about each other and are in each other's thoughts, and we know that. I know we'll still be the best of friends when we're 80, because we have that connection.
Alisha: I view soul mates as lovers, not friends. I have best friends like your friend Kara, but I don't consider them to be soul mates; they're my lifelong friends.
Deirdre: That's why I question why there has to be a "title."
Alisha: Soul mates = lovers. Friends = friends.
Deirdre: Soul mates = people you connect with who stay with you, even when they're not "with" you. Why is there a delineation for you?
Alisha: It gets down to the essence of lovemaking when you give everything you have to the person you're with. The physical connection isn't the same over a cup of joe and Wi-Fi with your best friend at Starbucks.
Deirdre: So you think a physical connection is as strong a component as a mental and emotional one.
Alisha: It all plays a part. Wikipedia's definition of soul mate: "Soul mate is a term sometimes used to designate someone with whom one has a subjective, emotional feeling of deep affinity, friendship, love, strong intimacy or compatibility." Physical, mental, emotional all play into connecting with your soul mate.
Deirdre: So if you connect on all those levels with someone, except you're both straight and don't get physical, in your mind you're not soul mates.
Alisha: Right on.
Deirdre: I offer Wikipedia's definition of the soul: "The soul, according to many religious and philosophical traditions, is a self-aware ethereal substance particular to a unique living being. In these traditions the soul is thought to incorporate the inner essence of each living being." So really, to be soul mates, the physical isn't so crucial. Which is why, to me, a person's essence, and my connection with that essence, is what makes that person my soul mate. I feel I have several -- and am physically intimate with none of them.
Alisha: Deirdre and I will have to agree to disagree. I say soul mates are people you connect with on a multitude of levels, and they're more lovers than friends. She says you can find many soul mates in life, be it friends or lovers. Readers, what's your definition of a soul mate, and is there more than just one out there for you?


Anonymous said...

Deirdre, you must have gotten burned bad by a man, every blog that I have read so far it seems that you are so jaded against men and relationships. I don't think that you are the right candidate for a 'relationship' blog.

Anonymous said...

Soulmates do not have to be physical lovers:

1 Samuel 18
1 Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore. 3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.

1 Samuel 20:17
Now Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

1 Samuel 20
Jonathan's Loyalty to David:

2 Samuel 1:26
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;You have been very pleasant to me; Your love to me was wonderful, Surpassing the love of women.

"And when you've found another soul
Who sees into your own
Take good care of each other"

Jackson Browne "The Only Child"

Dione Young said...

Deirdre wins my vote!

Friends can be any level of knowing you, from a one time meeting to knowing you from birth, as your best friend that you turn to at any sort of life issue, good or bad ones.

Lovers can be a one time thing, or a simple shallow only physical relief type of relationship.

Soulmates are people that know the very depths of you because there is trust to allow them to befriend you that deeply.

Anonymous said...

The term soulmate is totally overplayed. It obviously implies that there is only one person in this world who was meant for you..two souls that were meant to be together. Which statistically in a world of 6+ billion people seems highly unlikely...the chance of eharmony (or any means) introducing you to that "one" person is ridiculous. Additionally, if you married your "soulmate" and then got divorced, how depressing would that be !!...Knowing everyone else in the world is NOT your soulmate. There is no such thing as a soulmate....just people you connect with, share things with, and perhaps, fall in love with.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... "...just people you connect with, share things with, and perhaps, fall in love with."

How do you define "fall in love"? Just an emotional "crush" kind of love that you have little control of?

God commands us to love and yet we all fall far short of the command:

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12

What does it means to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength?

Anonymous said...

I think there are people who are close to us, like best friends, who are truly meant to be in our lives. I do not call them "soulmates," however, because I'm not in love or wanting to marry those friends. Deirdre, if you called your friend a "soulmate," based on the modern definition of the word, people would think you were in love with her. Save the word "soulmate" for the person you were destined to spend the rest of your life with. Use "friend" for others. To anonymous 9/5 at 10:36 am, I don't think Deirdre is "jaded," she's just wise and enough to wait on her soulmate instead of marrying the first man that came along. Now if she started "man-bashing," and saying all men are "dogs," then I'd say she was bitter and needed to take a break from relationship blogging.

Anonymous said...

You ladies are using Wikipedia to look up the definitions of "soul" and "soul mate"? Oy! The Observer has dropped the bar of what's acceptable to a new low.
Have some pride and use a real reference book.