“I feel like a part of my soul has loved you since the beginning of everything. Maybe we’re from the same star.”
Do you believe that a soul mate exists for everyone? Does your personality type have any influence on how you answer that question?
An unattached person is at a picnic, and suddenly they’re in a conversation with someone they are attracted to who seems to understand them in an uncanny way. The two are in sync in so many ways that our subject is tempted to use the term soul mate. But is that what’s going on?
The concept of a soul mate has existed for a long time. Ancient Greek and Jewish writings refer to the idea, and English literature abounds with references to “star-crossed lovers” and other predetermined romantic relationships. In modern popular culture, love-at-first-sight storylines constantly hint at the reality of soul mates.
Two Kinds of Soul Mates
How a person might relate to the idea of a soul mate may depend on their definition of it. The concept essentially exists on two levels. The first level is symbolic and means a partner who is an excellent fit in someone else’s life. This usage means nothing spiritual or mystical. The declaration that they “were made for each other” is not literal for those who use the word in this manner.
The second type is a more spiritual and literal usage. This connection is said to bring with it a deep, shared understanding of each other that is already in place even before two people meet. Concepts like reincarnation sometimes come into play. Many hold that soul mates must be within a similar age range for their cosmic relationship to be the real thing.
Usually, those who believe in a supernatural soul mate allow for the possibility that the two may not ever find each other in a lifetime, for various reasons. Still, these soul mates remain connected regardless of the distance between them. These intertwined souls are sometimes referred to as “twin flames.”
Often, along with a belief about coupling being destiny comes a sense that each soul mate completes the other in some complementary fashion. When soul mates discover each other, it may not always be about having the same or similar qualities. But despite being different, the two still understand each other innately. Their differences can be the very ingredients needed to qualify a couple as soul mates.
The metaphorical version is probably more accessible than the mystical version, which takes a measure of faith to embrace. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to prove or disprove the spiritual version.
On the Subject of Skepticism
The concept of supernatural soul mates is something that a person believes in without the benefit of concrete proof. This article takes a neutral stance coming from an honest skeptic’s perspective. An honest skeptic’s view says not only that something needs proof to be believed but also that disparaging someone else’s belief without proof is cynicism, not skepticism. For a view to be skeptical, it needs to remain open until the evidence is clear.
That’s not the same as accepting something without proof. Honest skepticism is often more of an “I don’t know” position, until proof emerges to inform the skeptic of where they stand. Those who are more research-inclined may shift the burden of proof onto the believer when, in practical reality, the believer is just fine understanding the world the way they do. The evidence road goes two ways.
But 16Personalities is not about metaphysics. Our goal is to discuss which personality types might be more likely to believe in soul mates in the spiritual sense, the benefits of such a belief system, and some problems that may need to be considered.
Soul Mates and Personality Traits
When we asked our readers, “Do you believe in the concept of a ‘soul mate’?” a solid majority (62%) of all respondents said they did. According to a slightly dated Marist Poll, our results fall slightly below the percentage of Americans who believe in this concept, but that number probably varies in other cultures.
It may not surprise anyone that Feeling personality types are more likely than Thinking personality types to say they believe in soul mates: 73% of Feeling types agree, while only 46% of Thinking types agree. Although there are some differences between the Extraverted (67%) and Introverted (60%) traits, as well as the Assertive (55%), and Turbulent (66%) traits, neither set of results was as dramatic as the Thinking and Feeling difference. The Intuitive and Observant personality traits and the Judging and Prospecting traits were within a few percentage points of each other on the question.
As we discuss in our “Skepticism and Belief and How Personality Traits Affect Both” article, Diplomats – those in the Role defined by the Intuitive and Feeling traits – are more likely than any other Role to accept the supernatural as true. Combining the two personality traits allows those who possess them to view things from an emotional and expansive place, which leaves plenty of room to speculate about the unknown. We see this reflected in the concept of soul mates.
But a fair question is, “What about Feeling personality types who aren’t Diplomats?” They do score higher than Thinking types. This may be where the two types of belief in soul mates, either symbolic or spiritual, may matter. The non-Diplomat Feeling types may believe that there is a lid for every pot, so to speak, but as a natural rather than supernatural phenomenon, or perhaps a soft combination of both.
In other unrelated questions about the supernatural, non-Diplomat Feeling types consistently score lower than Diplomats, suggesting only a mild tendency toward belief in such things. The supernatural is more theoretical than observable, and therefore, such things more likely belong in the Intuitive camp.
The Benefits and Pitfalls of Believing in Soul Mates
Belief can be tricky. Sometimes a belief opens the door to positive opportunities, and sometimes a little can go a long way.
The Benefits of Believing in Soul Mates
Believing that you have found your soul mate almost demands that the believer commit. After all, isn’t that why a soul mate exists – to complete their partner? That would likely assume a long-term, steadfast relationship. The idea of “forever after” in a relationship can be appealing, especially to those with the Judging trait who typically yearn for consistency. A committed mindset can help couples overcome challenges to their relationship because they believe that it was meant to be, regardless of what problems the world throws at them.
If a person believes that they have found their soul mate, their belief in a mystical connection can cover a multitude of sins. After all, if this is the person who the universe foreordained to be one’s partner, how upset can anyone be over their twin flame leaving the cap off the toothpaste? The annoying may even become a cute quirk, if the mindset is right.
Most modern definitions of the phenomenon reference soul mates as “getting” each other. Having a sense that someone is on the same page as you can be an oasis in a complex world where people misunderstand each other all the time. With that sense of understanding in a relationship, one can relax more and explain less when they are with their partner.
Some Things to Watch Out For
Declaring a Soul Mate Too Early
It’s good to remember that the first throes of love is a chemical event. There’s an excellent reason why many people can’t eat, sleep, or think clearly when they first fall in love. All those oxytocin, dopamine, and other hormones coursing through one’s system can make any early attraction seem magical.
But once the haze of euphoria clears, it’s possible to discover that a couple may not have as much in common as they thought. The sensation left is called disappointment. People with the Prospecting trait may roll with this better than those with the Judging trait.
Creativity vs. Analytical Skills
Recent research has pointed out that creativity thrives when there is psychological distancing. Psychological distancing means that when things extend further into the future or past (or it can also be spatial distance), like thoughts of a forever relationship, creativity is more likely to kick in. Here-and-now situations tend to foster more analytical thinking.
Being more present allows one to see things as they are rather than as they might be. Imagining being a couple 30 years from now in a cozy house with a white picket fence after the first date may keep one from noticing a partner’s significant flaws. Psychological distancing + chemicals + Intuitive trait + Feeling trait = a potentially dangerous dose of romantic fantasy that doesn’t hold up in the real world.
Ghosting All But the Perfect Match
People who believe in soul mates and have strong beliefs in destiny have been shown to “ghost” others more than those who have a growth mentality do. It’s not that people who believe in soul mates are ruder than those who do not. People with such beliefs often search for the one person who is in sync with them from the start. When they discover that the person they’re with is not that one person, they may cut their losses and lose the other person’s phone number immediately.
Individuals with a growth mindset are more likely to believe that relationships develop and require nurturing and work. It’s okay if things aren’t perfect in the beginning. People with this mindset believe that things can get better and that relationships can mature. Those with a destiny mindset, on the other hand, may decide more quickly that the person they’re dating isn’t the one. They could lose a potentially good relationship simply because a partner doesn’t start out being a perfect-enough match right out of the gate.
It’s All in What You Believe
So, while some people believe in metaphorical soul mates and others believe in cosmic soul mates, either way, a danger always exists in assuming too much. Intuitive, Feeling personality types may have to be on guard more than those with other traits. But to balance things out, we should note that one can also be too concrete, calculating, and analytical about love. Loneliness might be the result of either extreme.
The beginning of a new relationship can be humbling. We never know what it will turn into. If we approach it the right way, new love becomes an adventure of discovery. Perhaps from that view, knowing whether or not our soul mate exists might be moot.
Do you believe in spiritual, mystical soul mates? Do you think your personality type influences your answer to that question? Feel free to share in the comments below.