Today I watched a very interesting TED talk called ‘have you met your soulmate?’ By Ashley Clift-Jennings. I found it interesting for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the idea of a soulmate at all. We are taught at a young age to believe in such a mystical thing as the one, as a soulmate, as the person you are destined to be with forever. What we are not taught is what that person is meant to look like, meant to act like, how we are meant to recognise this soulmate if we were to cross paths with them. We all buy into the happily ever after ending because our whole life we have been taught that our purpose is to find it. And clearly Ashley, like most of us buys into this idea, in fact she has bought into it enough that it has shaped her whole life! So the big question is whether I believe I have a soul mate, and whether I think I have met them yet. I truly believe if soulmates are a thing, then so is love at first sight and you would know pretty instantly that you were destined to be with that person. So as that’s never happened, I suppose I haven’t met my soulmate. Which is good, as I am currently single. But whether or not I believe in soulmates as a whole, I guess I am unsure. I would love for them to be real, for it to be an achievable thing that happened, but I don’t really think it is. I think in your life you have multiple loves, for multiple reasons and you can have more than one ‘the one’, and for some people finding their soulmate is a reality, for others it’s a dress and for some of us it’s bullshit.
The second reason I found the video so interesting was because her idea of what her soulmate looked like changed. The perfect image and tick boxes she had laid out changed as she changed and her partner changed, they adapted in a way that meant they continued to be soulmates. But, for so many, any change can mean the end of a relationship, the end of being soulmates because you are no longer fulfilling that need or expectation, no longer ticking that box or suddenly a new box is required and they have never been that person. If soulmates are a thing, then you must have more than one, because at different stages in your life different people will fit your criteria? So doesn’t that undermine the whole point of them?
I am aware it may seem like I am missing the point of the fact she is arguing for us to be more open to all people and not close ourselves off to what we think our soulmate should be. That we need to become a more inclusive, gender fluid, sexually liberated society, that doesn’t pick a gender to open our hearts to and explore the possibilities of soulmates with at a young age, as our soulmate could be anyone, of any gender or orientation. And I fully support that, I think it’s such a shame that we shun the ‘different’, as if anyone is the same and can be ‘normal’. I do believe we should be more open and accepting of people, especially in relation to gender and sexual orientation.
But my question is: in the case of soulmates, do physical attribute come into it? And if they don’t, what’s the difference between them and your best friend?