I contributed to this HuffPost article. Happy Friday!
The concept of soulmates is a polarizing one. After all, in a world of 7 billion people, it’s hard to imagine we each have only one perfect match.
But many people who believe in soulmates don’t define them this way. Rather, they believe a soulmate is a person whom you connect with instantly and deeply, who sees and accepts you for who you are and at the same time, pushes you to grow into the best version of yourself.
A soulmate doesn’t even have to be a romantic connection, necessarily ― it could be a friend, family member or teacher. Nor does the relationship need to be easy-breezy all the time or free of conflict.
“A soulmate isn’t always wrapped in the perfect package, physically or in terms of life circumstances — nor does it mean that the relationship will come without challenges,” Kailen Rosenberg, founder of The Lodge Social Club, told HuffPost. “Yet, the difference is that the life circumstances and the difficult challenges are a strengthening power that becomes the glue that keeps you together through the difficult times and helps each of you become your most authentic self.”
We asked HuffPost readers who say they’ve found their soulmate to share the signs that convinced them that they had encountered someone truly special.
1. Being around this person gives you a sense of peace and comfort, even very early in the relationship.
“When Randy and I first met after initially connecting on AOL Instant Messenger (way back when!), as soon as our eyes met, I wasn’t anxious or nervous about meeting some stranger off the internet. It was like that song lyric, ‘It is well with my soul,’ something about him immediately felt familiar and I was instantly at peace just being in his presence. I didn’t get the butterflies around this incredibly gorgeous guy who couldn’t take his eyes off me; instead, it was like my soul recognized him as my missing piece. When we met the first time, it really was like time stood still ― all I could hear was my heart pounding, all I could see was him.” ― Ashley Durham
2. You may be very different but you balance each other out.
“I knew my wife was my soulmate when I realized the ways we were opposite balanced me and the ways we were alike bettered me. It’s an adrenaline-fueled, surreal feeling that’s also stunning in a how-are-you-so-perfect-for-me type of way.” ― Renita Freeney
3. You get this palpable gut feeling that you’ve met your match.
“When I met my soulmate, I had no idea what a soulmate really was — other than what the happily-ever-after society teaches us. I was on a trip to Maui with some girlfriends, sitting at a bar when a man came up to me and asked me if I’d go to a wedding with him the next day. His best friend was getting married and he needed a date. Internally, I heard my therapist encouraging me to live my life and take chances, so I agreed to go. The next morning I woke up regretting my decision, but when he called and left a message on my voicemail saying he just needed my last name and asking if I wanted chicken, beef or fish, destiny called and I was committed. I went, we hit it off, he kissed me and the rest is history — we were together on and off for over 10 years. I felt like I’d known him all my life, we instantly connected and when he kissed me, the familiarity intensified. Intuitively, I knew he was the one.
The one really strange thing that still stays with me is that I remember when I first met him and he’d walk away (to go to the restroom or something) and I’d think — I can’t remember what he looks like, I hope I’ll recognize him when he comes back. It was like I was attracted to his energy or his soul and not his body, which is a common feeling with soulmates. Our relationship lasted over 10 years, but he’s still ‘with me’ in my heart and soul every day. I think that’s how it is with soulmates: the connection never dies.” ― Christy Jacobs
4. Your values are in total alignment.
“I knew because our views in life, our morals and our lifestyle just fit perfectly, along with being head over heels in love with each other. I fell deeply in love and knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my partner about two weeks into dating. We were spending so much time together and the feeling I was experiencing was just indescribable. Kind of like the saying, ‘When you know, you know.’ It felt like I was on some kind of substance that had me on cloud nine. I called my best friend to tell her I found my life partner and she asked me if I was drunk (I barely ever drink) because of the way I was talking and how excited I was over the phone.” ― Amanda Oleander
5. You’ve seen this person at their worst and love them anyway.
“I met my soulmate when I was studying for a degree that I hated and my entire life plan was falling apart. We shared a flat with only the kitchen between us. I didn’t even realize what had happened at the time. It wasn’t until I took the leap to move home and start all over again that I realized she was my soulmate. Somebody who saw me for who I was, in all my disaster glory, and didn’t even try and run. Three years on and she’s still my soul sister and we adventure together and encounter new experiences by each other’s side as often as we possibly can.” ― Olivia Fraser
6. You care so deeply about each other that, at times, you actually feel each other’s pain.
“I knew I found my soulmate when his pain became my pain. We attended college together and in between classes, we were talking about a family member of his that had recently entered the hospital. I could tell how upset he was and once we parted ways, I ended up inside of a bathroom stall, crying and praying everything would be okay so that he wouldn’t have to suffer anymore. Realizing that I cared about his family ― people I had never even met before ― as much as my own family helped me accept how strong my feelings for him were.” ― Holly Riordan
7. You feel a kind of electricity when you touch.
“When you meet your soulmate, you fall in love involuntarily, and it’s an incomparable, soul-awakening, knee-weakening, all-consuming adoration that will never be duplicated. You intuitively know that the person is a natural extension of you, without warning, without effort, without compromise. The attraction is wild. When you hold hands, there’s a palpable electric current, there’s a perfect fit. The amount of time you’ve been together doesn’t matter, the time you spent apart does.” ― Jodi Meltzer Darter
8. Your relationship may be rocky at times but the rough patches help you grow.
“Soulmates hold up a mirror to us, revealing all that needs to be healed — and frankly, that’s painful. Most want to run, which is why soulmate relationships tend to be off and on. You break up, you make up, you break up. When you’re apart, it still feels like you’re together, because energetically, you are. That feeling of connection draws you back together to try again, until it gets painful again and the cycle repeats. Over and over in some cases ― mine included.” ― Jacobs
9. You feel like you can let your guard down and be 100 percent yourself when you’re with this person.
“A soulmate is your best friend. Your teammate. The one person who you are comfortable showing the weird, awkward, twisted sides of yourself that you usually keep hidden around everyone else.” ― Riordan
10. You recognize that this person came into your life to teach you an important lesson.
“Your soulmate is there to be your greatest teacher: the one who challenges you, drives you crazy, stirs your deepest passions and ignites your deepest triggers. The soulmate is the one who challenges the truth of the lessons you have to learn regarding your own value, what you want and, most importantly, don’t want in life when it comes to love. Unfortunately, some people end their relationship with a soulmate too soon because of the struggles the experience can bring. Others don’t leave the relationship soon enough, so they don’t end up learning the lesson that would have brought them closer to their true and desired life mate, which is what we all want and deserve.” ― Rosenberg
This article originally appeared on HuffPost. HuffPost is an outlet that reports with empathy and puts people at the heart of every story, taking a people-first approach in everything they report—be it news and politics or lifestyle and entertainment—and covering real stories about real life.