Important encounters are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other.
~ Paulo Coelho

Love complicates the human condition more than anything else and yet when given the chance we go back for more. But what does love have to do with the soul?

Perhaps everything.

Our evolution is dependent upon how we interact with others. These interactions serve as catalysts for growth and provide endless tests, trials, and tribulations as we learn. On the surface, we may seem addicted to love but in reality, it is the opportunity to learn that draws us in.

Love is like a magnet—we can’t visually see the energetic pull that joins two things together, but when activated, the attraction is powerful and real. Often, it seems impossible to pull these magnets apart once joined and if successful in separating them, they often quickly snap back together.

The same is true for the magnetic attraction people feel when they are supposed to learn something from one another. We feel drawn to someone—whether for romantic love, friendship, or another type of connection—so we can learn the lessons our evolution has laid before us. This attraction can also be true for the love of a job or career, the places we long to live or visit, and even in the day-to-day experiences in which we excitedly engage. Everything we are drawn to is part of a larger plan our soul somehow already knows—the invisible energetic bond between our inner ally and the experience we need to grow. Exploring these magnetic invitations whether or not they end the way we expect paves the way for our soul’s evolution.

The essence of who we are—our soul—needs something to make it grow. It needs a catalyst. Because everything in this world is made of energy, even our soul needs something to activate its growth and send us down the path of expansion into something new. This magnetic pull or invitation to evolve is exactly what the soul needs to stimulate our next wave of experience and unless something occurs to impede its inertia— unending movement without obstruction—our souls are set on a seemingly unstoppable route. But we all know that love is not a smooth or simple process. There is nothing logical or linear about it and with love comes many obstacles, bumps, and bruises—all experiences that are designed to help us grow.

Even from the beginning of life, love is laced with lessons. Psychologists and researchers know that humans cannot thrive at birth unless nurtured with loving care. Parents face many lessons in learning to love their child regardless of the sleepless hours, inconsolable fits, and multiple messy diapers. Children, if not nurtured as needed, then go on to learn many lessons related to love relationships—both with self and others—as they turn into adults. Learning to let your children fall and get back up is a lesson of love as much as telling your parents they do not know what is best for you later in life. Every lesson we learn is somehow based on love.

What scientists cannot study, though, is how love is related to our soul’s evolution. Like love, souls cannot be measured—they cannot be seen nor aptly defined. Like love, the soul just is and this “is-ness” is in constant movement as we evolve, providing we choose to do so. Like love, we know the soul exists, we just cannot fully explain it or how we know that it does. We just know both are real—love and the soul. They go hand-in-hand and one does not exist without the other.

I just painted a very abstract image of love—one that, like everyone, I had to learn the hard way. I can now see my own path of learning love’s lessons clearly as I look back across the years. Because of the challenges in my own family—a father who pretty much gave up on life after an accident he had when I was nine and an uneducated mother who struggled to keep the world together for a family of seven after this event, there was much to learn about love. Both were raised in families that had less than optimal shows of love and perhaps even worse role models of it, so they did not learn to express love in a nurturing way themselves. My mother also had exceptionally low self-esteem, indirectly teaching each of us to wrestle with this ourselves. Later, because of what I had originally learned about love, I married someone who mirrored this learning, only to quickly re—or unlearn that this was not a healthy way to be loved by another.

As a result of what I learned about love as I was growing up, my own path of learning self-love has been a lifelong journey. I have had to undo many of the lessons I was taught early in life, learning to honor myself in ways that once seemed impossible and foreign. My own evolution has had everything to do with learning love in a new way. I have had to learn what love really means in terms of speaking my truth, how I care for myself, how I care for others and how I see the world. Love has now become a focus of the work I do with others—I genuinely love watching others evolve, but now know that what I really love is watching others learn to love themselves enough to commit to their evolution. Love and evolution go together and once you fall in love with growth, you fall in love with yourself—and vice versa. There is no better magnetic attraction than the one that paves the way to infinite growth.

I tell the story of how I learned that self-love is the basis for all growth in my book, Soul Health. Years ago, I started pondering why we reincarnate—it felt like it was for a much deeper reason than living lives to simply learn more lessons. One morning, I sat eating my breakfast and as I did, I kept asking the question repeatedly in my mind. Literally, as I placed my cereal bowl in the dishwasher, I realized that every struggle we have as humans is related to a lack of loving ourselves—self-esteem, confidence, assertiveness, bad relationships, working too much, problems with eating, alcohol, and drug issues, self-care in general and so on. It hit me that everything—and I mean EVERYTHING that a client brings to my office is based on a lack of self-love in one way or another. Then I looked back at my own life to discover how this played a part in the decisions I had made. At that moment, love became clear. I had decoded the primary challenge of the human condition.

I am guessing that many who are reading this are putting the pieces together as well—seeing how love—or lack of it (self- or from others)—has played a key role in life up until now. I invite you to ponder this further to decode and even dismantle roadblocks to your own life.

  • How did you first learn to love?
  • What messages did you receive about being worthy of love from others?
  • How is your self-esteem tied to feeling loved?
  • What have you had to relearn about love along the way?
  • What would be different in the world if each of us loved ourselves fully?

Love is complicated, whether it be about the affection we show others or that which we show our self. But one thing is certain, as we learn about love we evolve.

Perhaps it is time to realize that you are your perfect soul mate.

You demonstrate love by giving it unconditionally to yourself.
And as you do, you attract others into your life who are able to love you without conditions.
~ Paul Ferrini