Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Soul Mate Myth

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A common example of magical thinking that is shared by millions is the myth that a soul mate exists for each of us. This person will complete our lives and offers everything we have been looking for in a romantic partner. Popular culture through the mediums of movies, television, music, and books has made this maladaptive thinking pattern seem normal. Think about how astronomical the odds are that even one person could find the partner meant for him or her in the sea of nearly seven billion people on planet earth. Think about seven billion people all having to do it. I am not a statistician but I do not like those odds.

The soul mate presupposes a few important underlying thought processes that can have a negative impact on mental health. The first is an external locus of control, which means the belief that events are largely out of the personal sphere of influence. These types of people might believe that a deity has a specific plan for them, and they usually believe in destiny. The problem with this outlook is that it fosters complacency. By believing that everything happens for a reason, that the perfect person is out there for you, and that a plan is in place for your existence, you will almost certainly miss out on countless avenues for personal growth and the feeling of efficacy that comes from making choices about how you want to live. Anxiety is lowered by not having to take personal responsibility over your life, but at a huge cost.

Believing in a soul mate is egocentric. People sit around waiting for someone else to enrich their lives and offer all the qualities and dimensions that will finally make them feel complete. Healthy romantic relationships are not based on providing missing personality traits for the other. They are based on helping your partner along in his or her spiritual and personal growth. Healthy relationships are not about filling up your personal existential vacuum with the traits from the other that you are lacking.

The truth is that there are probably many people who are right for each of us, and the sooner we start working on making ourselves full, happy, healthy, loving individuals instead of waiting for someone else to come along and do it, the sooner we will find what we are looking for, which is happiness.