It’s the kind of connection that is supposed to defy all odds, that endures despite any set back, that is predestined to succeed and is infinitely powerful.
But is the idea of such ‘divine’ love really something we should or even can aspire to in the modern day?
According to one of Australia’s leading psychic mediums and spiritual healers, Caterina Ligato, host of The Australian Ghost Whisperer, the idea of soulmates isn’t entirely misguided, but our perception of it could do with some updating.
“My opinion is that the word ‘soulmate’ feels like a very loaded word. I always feel that when people start thinking or feeling, ‘I’ve got to find my soulmate’, that it tends to put a lot of pressure upon themselves,” she tells marie claire Australia.
“I also believe that soulmates come in various forms – friendships, people that we love dearly. It doesn’t need to be a romantic thing.
For Ligato, she feels the word ‘soulmate’ simply refers to a very “deep soul connection”.
“When we find that true love, we don’t need to label it, basically. Or if you’re going to label it as a soulmate, then I just feel that that partner becomes part of your soul tribe, part of the people that are already your soulmates that you already love,” she says.
Speaking with psychologist Sean Connaughton, couples therapist and coach at The Mind Room, he urges those questioning if someone is their soulmate or ‘fated love’ to step away from the stars and look into themselves.
“One of the core principles of psychology is ‘evidence-based practice’. That is, we use theories and techniques that have been validated in peer-reviewed research to support clients,” he says. “Even if psychic approaches give comfort, I find it hard to recommend as there’s no scientific basis.”
Rather than searching for romance in the external, in the stars, his approach is more about finding yourself.
“The first step is to ensure you’re ready to work on yourself,” Connaughton explains. “If you’ve just exited a relationship that caused significant trauma or stress, working through this first will give you the capacity to work on this ongoing challenge.”
“It’s helpful to see ourselves in this way because it normalises our experiences (we all have unhelpful patterns) and gives confidence that the steps you are taking to address these patterns are shown to produce consistent results. Your therapist can also draw from their experience working with many other relationships to direct and re-direct you on the way.”
For Ligato, the topic of ‘soulmates’ often arises when people talk about wanting to find ‘their person’, or that they’re often looking in the wrong places. She agrees with Connaughton that finding the right kind of love for you is built from understanding yourself.
“People, rather than working on themselves and feeling love for themselves, they tend to want to seek out and look for love in external places,” she says. “I feel that first of all, you need to do that work on yourself, you need to work through your blockages, your issues. And most of all, you need to learn to love yourself. And then I feel that you shouldn’t be looking at all – you need to actually be trusting that the universe will bring the love to you because the moment you are searching for something, you’re actually manifesting that you’re searching for something that you can’t find.
“It’s about not going to any place in search of love but connecting with your own inner love first, loving yourself, feeling that you are worthy of a loving relationship, and then allowing that love to find you to connect with each other because the universe always brings to us that which belongs to us.”
Interestingly, while the scientific lens of therapy sits wholly separate from the divine intuition of psychics, going to therapy can help us find that self-belief and sense of worth in love.
If you’re noticing that you’ve had a string of bad relationships, Connaughton suggests seeking therapy to deal with these patterns.
This may include examining:
- The types of people you select as partners
- How you show up in a relationship, how your partner shows up, and how you respond to one another
- The things you and your partner do to respond to challenges over time
“Therapy holds up a mirror to our behaviours, mindsets, values, and assumptions, and puts structure around the goals you want to achieve in therapy (such as stopping an unhelpful pattern) with evidence-based approaches,” he says.
So, it seems, for all the lonely hearts out there in search of a soulmate, the key to your riddle is finding love for your own soul first.
“When you feel as though you’re having this beautiful relationship with yourself, that’s when you will attract true love because love begets love,” Ligato says.
And if you do happen to meet someone, how can you know if it’s right?
“When you do finally attract the love of your life, it’s just going to be easy. You’re not going to even need to ask a psychic if this person is right for me, because it’s going to feel right. It’s going to feel right deep in the essence of your being. You’re going to feel that you have this beautiful soul and heart connection with this person,” says Ligato.
Often we’re told we should experience ‘butterflies’ or ‘nervousness’ in a lover’s presence, but instead, Ligato says peace and a sense of recognition are common in those who stay together long term.
“I believe that with our true loves we have often had past lives with them and that you choose to come back together in further lifetimes. But the best thing about it is that it feels easy, you feel loved, you feel supported, you feel understood, you can be yourself and the relationship is consistent in terms of words and deeds.”