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Choose a Life Mate, Dont Wait For a Soul MateBy Michelle L. Casto, M.Ed.This article is adapted from the book Get Smart! About Modern Romantic Relationships: Your Personal Guide to Finding Right and Real LoveHave you ever wondered why all the people who are seeking their soul mate end up disappointed and let down? I have found that it is possible that there is no such thing, at least in the way most people think about it. I have also found that if you want to find heaven on earth with a special someone, you have to adjust your expectations to a more realistic, humanistic level. With all of the talk about finding ones soul mate, you might wonder why a more appropriate term is Life Mates. Because, in my belief, soul mates are all the people we come into contact with whom we have unresolved business. In truth, soul mates could be family, friends, or colleagues. They do not have to be your significant other. Thanks to the media and our human need for companionship, the soul mate myth has been romanticized to unrealistic proportions and continues to keep us longing for that one perfect person, so much so that we are never satisfied with who we are with. Life Mates, on the other hand, appreciate and love each other on a more humanistic level. Life Mates recognize each others spirits, but interact as human beings, realizing that while in human form, nothing or no one is perfect. They know that life on earth is about learning lessons. Life Mates learn, live, love, and evolve together, yet remain separate on their individual spiritual journey. Ultimately, finding your true Life Mate brings real love into your life, awakens your soul and makes it easier for you to learn the lessons you are meant to learn. Before I met my own Life Mate four years ago, I too believed that there was only one perfect person for me in this entire world. For many years, I searched high and low trying to find my other half only to end up feeling frustrated and lonelier than ever. And then . I met Philipof course when I wasnt looking---and we began dating. I did not feel an instant connection with him, a bolt of lightening did not strike me, nor did any other sign appear before my eyes telling me that he was the one. Instead, we simply enjoyed each others company and started spending more time getting to know one another. After about six months, we woke up to the realization that we wanted to be an exclusive couple. After a year and a half, we decided to move in together, next we bought a home, and finally adopted two wonderful dogs. My lovelife now is rich and wonderful, but it is because we chose each other and became committed to the development of a real relationship. Had I continued to search for a perfect person, I would probably still be alone!As it turns out, real love grows over time and involves a conscious choice. And here I was for years and years, believing that I would see my soul mate across a crowded room, fall immediately in love, and live happily ever after! Perhaps you can relate with my illusion?Upon my own inner reflection and by talking to others while I was writing Get Smart! About Modern Romantic Relationships, I discovered that the soul mate myth has endured for so long because we want to believe there is someone perfect for useven though we ourselves have many warts and imperfections. We want to believe in unconditional love and acceptance. We also want to believe in destiny. We want the hand of God to bring our "twin" to us. We want to feel overwhelmingly drawn to him or her like a moth to a flame. We want to feel instant recognition when we first lay eyes on that person. For many folks, it is much easier for them to believe that their life is pre-destined, and that if they only wait long enough, they will find that perfect person. Instead of choosing to use what God gave usthe ability to love and the free will to choose--- we leave our romantic lives up to fate. (Something we would never do with our career or other important life needs, by the way). And of course, we learn about love through the media, and are lead to believe that finding our soul mate is easy. It happens all the time in the movies, right?At a deeper level, perhaps we want to believe in soul mates because we unconsciously seek a re-connection to our own God or Goddess. Maybe we believe that through a union with another person, that in addition to experiencing physical ecstasy that we will also experience spiritual ecstasy? If you stop to think about how many times heaven is referenced in romantic love songsyou may begin to realize the unconscious connection we often make between romantic love and spirituality. With the soul mate theory to romantic love, you have no conscious choice but to be with that person. In the real world, the choice is yours. Be sure to make it on a conscious level. What I have learned while on my journey with my Life Mate is that we each have to develop a relationship with God in our own way and then work (it is a true labor of love) at our relationship on a daily basis. My romantic relationship is full of joy and love but also with pain and work. (That is human reality). I now know that human love takes conscious effort, time and thought. And that choosing a Life Mate over seeking a soul mate makes for a much more fulfilling and attainable real-love experience.