I work in a very nice restaurant, a place where people celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. I’m always surprised that so many people seem unhappy with the person they’re dating or married to. I mean, they’re dressed up and eating incredible food, but they’re bickering or uptight or flat-out arguing. Or they’re not talking to each other at all. Are they with the wrong person? Would it be different if they were with their soul mate?
Your restaurant’s patrons may be with the right partner, but stuck in the wrong beliefs about love and relationships. Or vice-versa. Who knows? But you noticed and are curious about these dramas, and that’s powerful. So let’s make your interest our starting point. There’s an old saying about life, “We must decide whether we are human doings or human beings.” Ever get ready for work in a rush, jump in the car, and then wonder whether you set the alarm? Have you experienced a disagreement in which, hours later, you think of things you wish you had said? These are situations in which the mind, body and spirit are in different locations. Sometimes we move our bodies so quickly through our days, our minds have not caught up. The body is in the present, but the mind is in the past or the future, and the spirit is lost.
The same pattern appears in romantic relationships. We go through habituated interactions with our partners, hurrying through moments that we could instead cultivate with attention and affection. Then, suddenly one day we decide we’re unhappy. And since we are not present in ourselves, all of our energy and awareness is pointed outward. So we blame our partner. This is most often the result of investing in the belief that our “soul mate” is responsible for our happiness. We fail to see how we contributed to our relationship crises by not staying present in our own lives, or not taking responsibility for our joy.
And yes, some of your patrons may be with the wrong partner. If we believe that a relationship should last a lifetime, we may fear letting go despite signs the expiration date has passed. If we are willing to change, and do, the relationship can enter a fresh cycle. But if we want our partner to change, we suffer. After all, we are not in control of others. Beliefs like: “If you love me, you would change” inspire pain. So even though a couple might be moving their bodies through an anniversary celebration, their minds and spirits are elsewhere. The internal disconnect is reflected in the external disconnect.
One last thing: Let’s talk about soul mates. If our soul is divine, then every being is our soul mate. What most people yearn for, or believe they have, is an “egomate” (a term I coined decades ago). It’s our egos (personalities, shadow, wounds, etc.) that cause trouble in relationships. So when someone describes their partner as a soul mate, what they really mean is they are in a relationship with someone who tolerates their ego. May we all be so blessed, and especially, you.