The Fantastical Soul Mate Lie: Why Belief in a Hollywood-defined Soul Mate is Dangerous
“Soul mate: a person with whom one has a strong affinity, shared values and tastes, and often a romantic bond” [Dictionary.com]
There are few more romantic-sounding words than “soul mate.” The word evokes a deep sense of destiny – a sense of “this person was made especially for me.” Who doesn’t find that swoon-worthy: the fact that someone was placed on earth so that you could meet, fall in love and live happily ever after? Finding someone who you consider a soul mate is absolutely exhilarating and wonderful. That’s undeniable!
However, in this world of Hollywood-fed fantasies and instant gratifications, misunderstanding what a soul mate is can be extremely dangerous. I love the definition from Dictionary.com above; I think it’s spot-on. It’s Hollywood’s definition (or shall I portrayal?) of what a soul mate is that I find somewhat disturbing.
Hollywood is famous for putting together romantic stories of people in often dysfunctional relationships who consider each other to be soul mates. Of course, what they depict is two people with hot-and-heavy chemistry (read: strong sexual attraction) and nothing else. Where is the portrayal of the shared values? Mind you, “values” are not interests! Even worse, these stories ride on the fact that “chemistry” alone (or as they, sometimes, term it, “animal attraction”) is enough to make two people soul mates.
What’s dangerous is the fact that many times, chemistry is seasonal. On the days real-life couples argue and disagree, it’s often not the chemistry that keeps them together – it’s the commitment! It’s been proven that people, especially women, who watch too many Hollywood romance stories are dissatisfied with their own lives and relationships. No surprise there!
Though many times, we watch movies to dream, imagine and escape our realities, it can become too easy to buy into relationship lies and deceptions. The fact that two people are soul mates, who believe that they belong together, doesn’t mean that their relationship is suddenly a magical one in which they never have to work again. Instead, it’s the opposite. Yes, their love and shared values are the foundation of their relationship, but it is that same love that keeps them working at it and consistently committed during life’s ups and downs and “chemistry-free” days (or weeks or even months).
Believe in your soul mate, but please understand what that really means. Don’t let lies and deception leave you eternally relationally dissatified!