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Inspired Relationships

Elizabeth Gilbert Talks Soulmates

I was sitting down to lunch the other day and I flipped on the TV to find Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the beautiful book Eat, Pray, Love, was on Oprah.

I’d been looking for some source of inspiration all week after feeling a little stuck and Elizabeth was a breath of lovely, fresh air for me. She is composed, still, gracious and emanates warmth in her very being.

What I loved most of the entire interview was the part where Elizabeth spoke about her relationship with her husband. Oprah asked her about the definition of a ‘soulmate’. In essence, Elizabeth feels the word ‘soulmate’ is toxic. We have romanticised the sentiment when in fact it is a cover for nothing more than ‘infatuation’, which is a dysfunctional way to conduct a relationship.

Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah, talking about soulmates

“I don’t feel like my husband is my soulmate – thank God!” said Elizabeth “I feel like he’s my husband. I have my own soul, he has his own soul. We are each others’ mates.”

This way, she says, they can walk forward together in life, side by side, looking ahead together, as opposed to being sewn together, introverted and inward looking, depending on each other like oxygen.

She very elegantly writes in Eat, Pray, Love that we have mis-defined the word soulmate altogether.

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.

A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…”

I think what she says is wonderful. How many times have you wondered if you’re missing out on your ‘soulmate’, or had your head turned by a new infatuation, wondering if you’re actually meant to be with that person? Hollywood hands us a rose-tinted version of romance and we swallow it willingly. In a recent post on Mamamia.com.au, I wrote about the Edward Factor and how it can taint your relationship if not put in perspective.

What do you think? Do you agree with Elizabeth Gilbert?

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Author |

Writer, dating columnist, wife, coffee addict, foodie, fashionista... Melburnian through and through. Muser, dancer, blogger, tweeter. Likes to get her head on telly now and again. Sleeper, dreamer, a sucker for romance. And of course... a cheap date.


5 comments for “Elizabeth Gilbert Talks Soulmates”

  1. Posted by Arielle Ford | November 2, 2009, 6:17 pm

    YES! Elizabeth Gilbert is correct and Eat Pray Love is a magnificent book. AND…..be sure to read her words carefully because she says the way we have “romaniticized” the word of soulmate is toxic, the misbeliefs are toxic. A soulmate, the way I define it, is someone you can completely be yourself with. Someone you love unconditionally. And…they are also your mirror and every day is not a walk in the park but when you are with your soulmate there is o better spiritual path to be on.

  2. Posted by yifeng | August 26, 2010, 1:51 pm

    Soul mate is toxic. When you stay with your soul mate, both of you would try to please each other as hard as you could. the more you give, the more you want to receive back. The endless appetitite reminiscent the bulgy bubble. Eventually both of you are exhausted, then the bubble evaporates.

    That is the reason Elizabeth Gilbert left her husband and find a spirital master, what she needs is a place to relax, but not to love.

  3. Posted by Renato | April 21, 2011, 5:11 pm

    A soul mate is someone you can be with without fear. All human troubles derive from fear. Love flourishes when you have managed to deal with all your fears. A free being is a fearless being. To thy own self be true, know thyself and rid yourself of all your fears.

  4. Posted by eleanor | May 2, 2011, 5:35 pm

    i do believe in soulmates but how would i know if the particular person is my soulmate?

  5. Posted by Robert Powell-Jones | June 28, 2011, 11:02 pm

    Elisabeth Gilbert’s talk on soulmates reminds me somewhat on Richard Bach’s definition in his book “Illusions”

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