To Exhale

The media has sold us on this idea of the made-just-for-you person who will love you for exactly who you are right now, flaws and all. We’ve been taught to wait for this person – to hold out for the magic. Butterflies, incoherent speech, and irregular heart rhythms are all indicators of this person’s arrival. Once you’ve found each other, you’ll live happily ever after.

I don’t subscribe to this way of thinking.

I’m a hopeless romantic, yet I do not believe in “the one”. I’ve found that believing in “the one” tends to make a person lazy. There’s no motivation to grow, to evolve, to change, to blossom. Because we are fed this idea that someday a man will find all the unrefined parts of us beautiful, we tend to fold our hands – instead of leaning into the discomfort when people point out the distasteful parts of our character, we write them off. Though I’m well aware that no one will ever reach perfection while clothed in a body of flesh, I believe it is a worthwhile endeavor to become the best version of yourself you could possibly be. It is far healthier to become a well-rounded person who is compatible with many different people, instead of a person who shuns growth under the guise of awaiting the “right person” to love all of her flaws. And life seems much fuller when you aren’t living like you’re waiting for someone, but embracing all that’s given to you in the present.

Despite that view, I find that I still believe in the idea of soul mates. And in that, I believe in the multiplicity of soul mates. At various points in my journey through life, I’ve come across a person who feels like a giant exhale, my lungs collapsing with the release of breath they weren’t aware they were holding. It’s the immediate knowing that this person will be important to you for a while. It’s the instant trust, the unspoken, “There you are. I didn’t know I’d been looking for you until you were right here in front of me.” 

I’ve found two of my soul mates already, lucky me. And they both – almost instantly – became two of my best friends. I don’t believe that soul mates are reserved solely for the romantic world. In believing in the multiplicity of soul mates, I believe that they can be lovers, or good friends, or siblings, or whatever else. They are the ones your heart instantly chooses with or without your consent. And they might only be in your life for a season, but the length of their stay does nothing to change the level of their importance to you.

I’m fascinated with the idea that I can be deeply known by not just one person, but a handful of precious souls in whose presence my heart slows its pace and swells with love. Maybe someday, one of my giant exhales will be with a beautiful soul encased in the body of a gloriously flawed man. Until then, I’m breathing easy in the company of my soul mates, and leaning into the discomfort that will make me a better person for the man I choose to love someday.

“We were never strangers. Our souls were well acquainted with each other far before our eyes became acquainted with one another.”


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