“Are there people you feel you were destined to meet or people who make you feel at home whenever you’re around them? Those same people might occasionally drive you nuts or even contribute to your most transformational wounds. These are people with whom you have a strong soul connection—or what we often refer to as soul mates.
What is a soul connection?
A soul connection is when two people feel they are linked on a soul level in a significant or extraordinary way. It’s the sense that your link transcends the earth plane—transcending the practical details of your relationship, like being co-workers or lovers—and that something much more brought you together or is at play. You might feel you have known each other in a past life or that your souls agreed before this life to meet up now.
“When I hear someone use the word ‘soul mate,’ it often seems to connote exclusivity,” Tess Whitehurst, spiritual teacher and bestselling author, tells mbg. Whitehurst, who has been in a romantic relationship with the same partner for 20 years, feels that the opposite is true—we, in fact, have many soul mates. And as we’re all part of a common humanity or spiritual consciousness, we’re actually all linked on a soul level.
How do you recognize a soul mate? Let’s look at different types of soul connections—remembering there can certainly be overlap. Someone could be your soul mate in many different ways.
Types of soul mates:
- Soul partners
There are certain souls you agreed to partner with in this lifetime—the most common type of soul mate. You might have agreed to be best friends, in-laws, raise children together, or open a business together. A soul partnership could be with someone you know intimately for your whole life, like a beloved sibling, or it can be with someone you barely know for a short time—like an influential person in your industry who offers you a big break in your career. Soul partners are specifically designed to help support you in this life emotionally, professionally, or in any other way you require to accomplish and experience what your soul planned to do here on earth. None of us can do this life alone, and soul partnerships remind us how beautifully, masterfully, and intricately our lives are woven together.
- Soul ties
When you feel a soul tie, it’s simply the sense that another soul is in your life for a reason. For example, if your life is very busy yet you meet a new potential friend or potential business partner, the sense that you have a soul tie to this person could inspire you to make room in your life for the relationship. Perhaps you’re not in the market for a pet, but when a friend says they need to give up their pet because they have to move overseas unexpectedly, your clairsentient, or feeling, psychic pathway might give you the feeling that you have a soul tie with this animal and bringing it into your home is the right thing to do for both of you. You might think of soul ties as the ties that bind, like the Bruce Springsteen song!
- Past-life soul mates
Many Eastern religions and philosophies discuss the concept of past lives. I can always tell when a client has met someone they knew well in a past life by the way they describe the connection. If the connection is manifesting as a romance, they might say, “I’ve never felt this way before!” When two souls have shared a significant past life together (or perhaps several), if they meet again in this life they may be inexplicably drawn to each other—and the sexual chemistry can be off the charts.
What people are feeling is the built-up energy over other lifetimes together—and a soul recognition. Although you can have a soul recognition with any type of soul mate, the past-life ones (whether you were at odds or best friends in a past life) are extremely powerful. According to Brian Weiss, M.D., psychiatrist and past-life regression expert, two souls could agree to reincarnate and navigate toward each other after spending 1,000 earth years apart—which is quite romantic!
Yet just because you had a significant past life with someone and are feeling all the feelings, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are supposed to partner, romantically or otherwise, in this lifetime. Judge the relationship by who you both are today and how you treat each other now. If you suspect a past-life connection with a current lover, try to bring more healing to the situation, even if you break up. This might look like releasing them with love, wishing them well yet out of your life. Often when souls come back together in this lifetime they are looking to heal something or do better this time around.
- Karmic soul mates
Karmic soul mates are sometimes called “wrecking ball soul mates.” But instead of thinking of karma as good or bad—or a system of punishment and reward—think of it as merely a neutral energy of cause and effect. The earth plane is very much a dimension of cause and effect. We create karma with other people all the time, through small and significant interactions. Every interaction with another person creates energy that can turn into karma. This isn’t anything to fear but something to be mindful of. Karmic soul mates may come into our lives as change agents who facilitate—through positive, negative, or neutral interactions—opportunities or invitations to improve our karma (how we operate in our lives and the world) so we can grow and evolve. Keep in mind that the soul craves new experiences, growth, and evolution.
- Romantic soul mates
After giving thousands of intuitive readings to clients all over the world, there are a few things I know for sure, as Oprah would say. One is that when we enter a significant romantic relationship or fall in love, there’s a possibility we’ll partner with this person. What’s not only possible but definite is that we are being given the opportunity to heal, learn, and grow because of the relationship. Even in the happiest or healthiest relationships, romantic soul mates can tend to tap dance on your biggest wounds or challenge you in uncomfortable ways. When two souls enter a romantic relationship, they’re also entering a classroom together.
I’ve had many clients who met their ideal partner and said, “I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet this person.” It’s always worth the wait! Find ways to fall in love with life, work on believing a great romantic relationship is possible for you, and get help to heal those romantic wounds from the past.
- Twin flames
This popular term describes an intense soul connection, and some people believe twin flames are actually one soul that was split into two bodies. According to the theory, twin flames can love, challenge, teach, and heal each other in a unique, powerful way. Yet Whitehurst cautions against feeling like you need another person to complete you. Just remember there can be a shadow side of trying to fit people into a certain category in your life, including a spiritual category. While some believe the twin flame is the ultimate romantic experience, remember, every relationship you enter with another person—romantic or otherwise—has the potential to help you achieve more enlightenment.
- Companion soul mates, aka soul mate friends
Not all soul mates are romantic ones. Your companion soul mates—aka soul mate friends—can be equally important in your life. If you think of earthly life as a temporary journey for the soul, as some spiritual people do, you’ll want to have interesting, supportive companions for the trip—just like any character in an epic story or legend picks up companions along the way. Think of them as spiritual sidekicks, people who seemed destined to be in your path so you both, in turn, can give each other love and encouragement when needed to keep going on your earthly odyssey. Don’t underestimate the importance of soul mate friends. Whether they are in your life for the long haul or just a few months, soul companions are necessary nourishment. Just like the human body needs food and water, the soul requires companion soul mates.
- Soul families and soul groups
Large groups of souls can be linked in soul families. This can show up as actual family members in this lifetime, like a cousin who is not only part of your earthly family but also your soul family, or as people working toward common goals who never meet, like activists around the globe working for a similar cause or spiritual seekers working to bring more love and awareness to the planet. Sometimes one soul will incarnate to try to help heal something in the family line, like a pattern of addiction, abuse, or disease.
- Kindred spirits
Kindred spirits aren’t always soul mates, but they can certainly be. Kindred spirits are simply people who really understand you. You might feel a kindred spirit is someone who shares the same spiritual beliefs you have or agrees with you about cultural issues to the point you could finish each other’s sentences. A kindred spirit might also be someone who has had a similar life experience to yours—like you are both elementary school teachers, both have newborn babies, and are both married to working artists. It’s incredibly peaceful to be with another soul who just gets it, or you.
- Soul contracts
Intuitive and spiritual teacher Robert Ohotto describes soul contracts as agreements you made on a soul level to do certain things in this lifetime. You might have a soul contract to mentor a certain child or write a certain book. These contracts can be renegotiated, so if you’re in a toxic situation, leave or change the dynamic to a healthier one. Yet feeling you have a soul contract to do something challenging, like start your own business, can give you the inspiration and stamina to make it through the difficult moments of that journey. Knowing if you have a soul contract around something or someone in your life is all about learning to follow your intuition.
- Soul teachers
A healer or mentor can come into your life via divine timing because they’re a soul mate teacher. It could be the college professor who encourages you to go after a certain major or career path or the counselor or naturopath who teaches you how to better manage your anxiety. Sometimes a soul mate might show up to teach you by challenging you to do something different from what they recommend, teaching you the value of thinking for yourself. Soul mate teachers are very special, sacred relationships, and each of us has been in both roles—student and teacher—whether we realized it at the time or not.
- Soul crossings
Have you ever heard the cliché “ships that pass in the night”? It’s a phrase used to describe someone who comes into your life but the timing and circumstances are not conducive to a long-term relationship. This phenomenon can happen with friends or lovers or colleagues, when for a short amount of time you are thrown together and share amazing experiences and awakenings.
Even if someone doesn’t stay in your life long—like a freelancer who works at your company for nine months whom you become close to until they move to the other side of the country or a lover you meet on a retreat and four months later they tragically pass—it’s still a soul connection. In the case of the friend, you two might always treasure your time together and the lessons you learned, but your lives are too busy to keep up the friendship in a significant way. In the case of the lover who passed, you might think of this person fondly for the rest of your life or even consider them a spirit guide. Soul crossings teach us not to judge the importance or depth of a soul connection by the length of the relationship.”