When someone says “Soul Mate,” what do you first think of? Most of us think of someone we’d want to spend the rest of our lives with, that perfect partner with whom we’ll live happily ever after.
I like to think we have a variety of soul mates in a lifetime, and they don’t have to be just romantic partners. How many friends do you have that you just love to pieces? They’re soul mates. How about family members? Soul mates! Relationships are a huge part of life – and soul mates are everywhere we turn.
Many of us have relationships that aren’t so great, and these people, as much as we detest them, or feel that they’ve wronged us, or dishonored us, are soul mates too. They inflict pain, and cause us suffering – awful, powerful emotions that can just make us hate life. But if we overcome these challenges, BAM! our soul grows. And one of the greatest realizations to have is that that person, the one who has caused us so much pain, has prompted us to grow. That person has helped us shift, to experience challenges and then overcome them.
I heard a story on the radio this morning about an acclaimed Argentinian concert pianist named Marta Argerich. She started kindergarten at 3, and all the other kids were 5. One boy teased her relentlessly, constantly telling her she couldn’t do this or that because she was too young. One morning, he said “I bet you can’t play that piano.” Up for the challenge, Marta walked over to the piano, sat down, and started playing a tune the teacher played all the time – and she played it perfectly. The teacher, stunned, called Marta’s mother immediately – and so her career began. Yes, that little boy was a giant pain in the ass, but because of his teasing, Marta’s story begins with “…and she started playing the piano at the age of three.”
It’s so, so hard to see people who have caused us pain in a non-judgemental, “I’m cool with you” way, but if we think about how these relationships could be prompting us to shift and grow, we truly will get a few steps closer to enlightenment. Everyone who has any sort of impact in our life is a soul mate – anyone who has brought profound joy or profound pain is here for a reason. Strange way to look at it, but if you think about it, it kinda makes sense.