“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.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert

I remember when I was in my 20′s and still held onto the misconceived romantic notion of a “soul mate.”

You know the one: one day you will meet the man or woman of your dreams and they will fix all of your broken pieces, thereby making you complete.  That concept is wildly inaccurate, in regards to what an actual soul mate really is- a mirror.

When we believe there is another person who can make us whole, we are ineffectually calling ourselves “incomplete,” and we are anything but that.  We have the power within ourselves to achieve that oneness; we really mustn’t try to find the answers to our problems in another.

By thinking we are only halves meant to become whole, we are in fact searching for others who see themselves as halves as well. But what does this accomplish? If you feel like a shattered spirit, then you probably attract the same .

Ever been called a “fixer” in relationships?

The truth is, it’s not someone else’s  life you long to illuminate- it’s yours. This is just your higher self’s way of getting your attention.

“It’s so dark right now, I can’t see any light around me.
That’s because the light is coming from you. You can’t see it but everyone else can.”
– Lang Leav

Each and every one of us has a lightness and a darkness inside,  varying shades by day.

We are never completely one or the other, but a combination of the two.  Because of this, we inevitably face moments where darkness feels like it is filling more of our space, then look to someone else’s light for restoration and balance.

A soul mate isn’t the person who is going to bring you peace by sacrificing their own. Instead, they will help you to find that light within yourself, even if the lesson will be a painful one…and it usually is.

We will meet people in our lives who force us to pick up our broken shards without fear of bleeding. Their lessons will teach us to accept ourselves, and hardest of all, to love ourselves exactly as we are.

A soul mate can be your friend, family member, or partner, and their role in your life is to be a mirror- not a glue.

“What’s the difference?” I asked him. “Between the love of your life, and your soulmate?”

“One is a choice, and one is not.”
-Tarryn Fisher, Mud Vein

Originally appeared on Spirit Science