When my mom told me she didn't believe in soulmates, it crushed me. I absolutely believed in soulmates - for as long as I could remember, I had been dreaming about "the one," singing "Someday, My Prince Will Come."
Granted, I was only 10. But even then, life to me was all about waiting for my prince. I would create Ken and Barbie's love story and play out their wedding, actually writing out the cheesiest and most romantic wedding vows I could think of.
My mom told me that, instead of believing in an uncontrollable force connecting two souls, she believed love is a choice, but that was so unromantic to me. How could love be the strongest, most powerful force in the world if you could choose whether or not to feel it?
When I was 13, I met the boy who completely changed my definition of a soulmate
He was a dorky boy with a bowl cut who stood just below my shoulders, and was a year behind me in school. Everyday before class, he would follow me and my friends around like a loyal puppy. And as weird as he seemed to me, I was drawn to him. Almost inevitably, we became best friends.
Looking back, I realize it took years to get to that point. But I think, even from the beginning, he and I both knew we shared something wonderful. After years of a great friendship, I can confidently say that he was never my Prince Charming, nor will he ever be. But he was absolutely my first soulmate.
A second soulmate
It only took a few years after meeting him when I met my second soulmate - he came to me in the form of a school teacher. He taught me lessons beyond the school's curriculum; he taught me lessons that I carried on with me into the rest of my life. The connection he and I shared definitely wasn't romantic, but that didn't change my belief that our souls were, in some way, connected, meant to unite during that time in my life to teach me something valuable.
The soulmate I had been waiting for
Soon after that, I found the Ken to my Barbie. He was the soulmate I had been waiting for - and I thought I was proving my mom wrong. (Word of advice: don't ever believe your mom is wrong. She isn't.)
Then he broke my heart. Shattered it into a million pieces. My Prince Charming, the Ken to my Barbie, my first love, left me feeling abandoned and worthless.
As these people (and many others) have come and gone in my life, I've come to realize that soulmates aren't the one person you're supposed to spend the rest of your life with. I don't believe in a destiny that strict. I believe soulmates come in the form of various people throughout your life - in best friends, teachers, parents, siblings or significant others, it doesn't really matter. They're the people in your life who are supposed to be there to shape you into the person you're meant to be.
I've come to agree with my mom more and more as I grow older. The ability to choose who you love and who gets your heart is so much more romantic than finding your one true soulmate. It's taking your destiny into your own hands and not relying on some unknown force in the universe to give you your happily ever after.
Maybe you believe you married your soulmate. If that's the case, that's wonderful. But true love and the commitment of marriage is so much more than an uncontrollable force drawing two souls together. Soulmates come and go, but when you make a purposeful choice and promise to be with someone forever, that's true love.
Emily Brady is a member of the FamilyShare content team. She studied Communication with an emphasis in journalism. She loves photography and finding a good book to read in her hammock on a sunny, breezy day.