According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. However, fearing their powers, Zeus split them into two separate beings, leaving them to spend the rest of their lives in search of each other.
The red string of fate, an idea originating from Chinese legend, was tied around the ankles of those that are destined to meet one another. The two people connected by this red thread are destined lovers — the cord may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.
According to Jewish scriptures, each person has been given a romantic partner — called a bashert, a lifelong connection. It is said that 40 days before a man is born, God calls out the name of man’s soul mate; it’s a match literally made in heaven.
The concept of a soul mate is not a new one, clearly. Nearly every religion, culture and belief system has their own version of the “soul mate,” which may vary in certain facets, but overall conveys the same idea: that every person has another person perfectly suited for them in every way imaginable.
The hopeless romantic that I am was led to believe that the soul mate is just one person, and if you’re fortunate enough to find that person, you thank your lucky stars, because most search forever for the person destined for them.
However, over the years, I’ve come to believe something a little different. Yes, soul mates do exist — it’s something I can’t deny based off a few relationships, both famous and small scale, that I’ve witnessed. The idea that you have only one person out there for you, in a world filled with 7 billion people, that you have to search for effortlessly in the vain attempt to keep yourself from a fate of loneliness, is ridiculous.
A person has multiple soul mates — it’d be impossible not to — meant to come in and out of his or her life over the years; these soul mates can be both romantic and platonic. Each soul mate serves a purpose, and once that purpose is served, the two go their separate ways, just a brief intersection on the infinite plane of life.
Platonic soul mates come when you need them most. It’s a friend you connect with on a deeper level. The first friend you make in life, who teaches you how to stand up for yourself, how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, how to be a better person. Then comes the soul mate who ignites passion within you, who makes you want to change the world, who shows you there’s more to life than meets the eye. Sometimes, the universe throws you a bone, keeping one of the friend soul mates around longer than the others; this is because you still need that person, that there is more work left to be done. Platonic soul mates are interesting because one doesn’t have to leave in order for the next to come into the picture. These kinds of soul mates overlap each other shamelessly.
Romantic soul mates are trickier. These are the ones you never want to let go of, even though you know you have to. Your first soul mate will teach you how to love, how to care for someone else, how to put your own needs aside in order to accommodate, how to compromise. Your first soul mate will show what love is. And once you know, once you truly know how great and breathtaking love can be, they’ll leave. They have to. Try to forgive them.
The soul mates that come after the first soul mate but before the last soul mate (the number can vary from person to person) will teach you valuable lessons; lessons about forgiveness, about not letting anyone hold you back, about being independent and not losing yourself in your relationship. Not every person you date before you encounter the last will be one of your predetermined soul mates. Don’t worry — you’ll know which ones are the important ones. They’re the ones that leave an imprint on you. You’ll learn a great deal from each soul mate, but every time one leaves, or you leave, you’ll feel empty, nervous that you’ll never meet the last, nervous that you’ll jump from person to person without finding another soul mate.
When you find the last soul mate, you’ll feel as if your heart will explode. You’ll know this is The Last. The one you spend the rest of your days (or their days) with. Sometimes the timing isn’t perfect. That won’t matter. Nothing much will matter with as much intensity after you find the last.
So no, I don’t think Zeus created a four-legged monstrosity he was scared of, or that God called out my name to a fetus months before he was born. I don’t believe around my ankle is a red string tied tightly — at least not just one string. I believe I have a plethora of soul mates, people that the universe destined for me to cross paths and form connections with, people who will teach me about the world and, most importantly, myself.