The Day for Twin Flames
Once upon a time, I was something of a New Age “Dear Abby.” For a couple of years, I ran a blog that drew a lot of questions about twin flames. Not exactly where I saw myself going as a writer (which is part of the reason why I later abandoned that blog), but it was fascinating for a time to hear from readers about their relationship scenarios, spiritual views, and self-beliefs. Because the “twin flame” idea is way more than just a “soulmates” notion; it’s about a soul connection so profound that it inspires, very blatantly, a “return to self.” Hence, people who are into the twin flame idea are also quite often deeply committed to personal growth. The problem is, a lot of codependency-flavored ideas have gotten attached to the twin flame concept too. So that’s what I want to talk about today.
Why today? It’s 11–11. This date has various significances. It’s Armistice Day, for one — yay for peace! (Or, at least, an attempt at peace...) It’s also “Singles Day,” a shopping holiday with its roots in China… And for the New Age community, 11–11 is associated with twin flames. The logic is thus:
Given the fact that we often write the number “1” as a simple vertical line, 11–11 (or 11:11) is an exact mirror image of itself, with neither side taking up more space than the other. Moreover, even the number 11, all alone, is an exact mirror image of itself: two equally balanced halves within a single whole. In this way, two 11s are said to symbolize a beautifully harmonious pairing: two very (internally) balanced individuals who come together in a very balanced way — while also being so much “the same” on the level of essence that they “reflect” one another astonishingly.
That’s the idea. (And I can’t even figure out who originally came up with it; Google “twin flames” and “11–11” or “11:11” and you’ll find thousands of hits. Overwhelming.) Granted, I’m not here to tell you that “11–11” or any other number is mystical. I’m personally of the opinion that the universe tends to speak to us in signs tailored to our own unique frames of reference. But since so many associate 11–11 with the twin flame concept, it’s as good a day as any to talk about this sort of soul connection. Quickly, though, before we get into the unhealthy ideas that people have attached to the twin flame concept, here’s a quick primer on what a twin flame is, and how that’s different from a soulmate:
A “soulmate” is basically a soul who is close to your own. We have lots of these. Family members, friends, bosses, coworkers, neighbors, roommates, romantic and/or sexual partners, the security guard where you work, the owner of your favorite coffee shop — theoretically, anyone in your life can be a soulmate of yours. And soulmates pretty much operate in such a way that keeps each other growing and learning — learning about kindness, about love, about themselves, about the meaning of life. This is not to say that all soulmate interactions are pleasant; a soulmate can ultimately behave (on Earth) in a way that breaks your heart. Still, their presence in your world, often, is quite powerful and helps you understand more fully who you are and what you’re all about.
A twin flame, however, is another sort of connection. And even among people who believe in soulmates, some don’t believe in twin flames; the idea is “too much,” depending whom you ask. Regardless, the basic gist is this: picture a single bottle of water that you pour into two cups. Voila — the twin flame concept. One individuated soul that has poured itself into multiple bodies.
The philosophy goes that a twin flame is so like you that the degree of closeness and affinity you can feel with this person (or, I guess, theoretically, people) is unparalleled. However, a twin flame — being so much like you — is also something of a mirror. So if you have any insecurities or maladaptive personal patterns, these will probably become clear as day in your encounter(s) with your twin flame. In other words, when you’re looking into the mirror that is your twin flame, you see all of your own greatest potential, as well as a clearer view of all the unresolved baggage that stands in your way of achieving it. You essentially “remember who you are” — because you’re looking right at it—and you realize/remember what you want out of life.
Moreover, when you encounter a twin flame, you feel sort of fired up by a renewed sense that a whole other level of love and happiness are possible than you ever believed. So you also derive a lot of fuel from the connection in turn; that is, not only are you inspired to make profound, healthy changes, but you also somehow find the energy to do so, because you’re able to draw on the inspiration that your “twin flame” so generously (and probably effortlessly) provided.
All of this sounds cool. Is it real? Who can say? I like to believe so. However, I’ve seen over the years was that there are a lot of misguided (if not downright unhealthy, codependent) ideas that people have pinned on the twin flame concept. So without further ado, here are some twin flame ideas you can dismiss.
1. The idea that X set of characteristics = twin flame.
I’ve seen people consult “twin flame checklists” and then convince themselves that all manner of characteristics — age gaps or shared birthdays, vast cultural differences or shared backgrounds, and on and on — mean “twin flame.” I understand the appeal of finding an authoritative-sounding list to help simplify the search for love, but no list can tell you what another person’s soul means to you. Least of all, based on arbitrary demographic characteristics.
If you want your relationships to be based on the “right” things, then base your relationship choices on what your heart says. Not on a checklist or a personality profile.
2. The idea that having lots of things in common = twin flame.
This is another popular one on checklists. Some people take the “twin flames mirror each other” idea and assume that it means stuff like the same initials, or the same favorite song, or wearing the same outfits, and so on. But, like the above note, while the simplicity of a checklist might be nice in theory, human relationships are far richer than whatever any checklist can generate — and far richer than any individual similarities, too.
Bottom line: we all mirror aspects of one another, but there’s no be-all, end-all identifier within our personalities or backgrounds that determines the validity of the connections we make. At the end of the day, twin flames might indeed have a lot in common with each other, but they also have a lot in common with various people who aren’t their twin flames. This one, too, isn’t going to tell you definitively whether you’ve found your twin flame. Again, you need to center in your heart, rather than relying on external sources of validation.
3. The idea that coincidences / psychic connection = twin flame.
Some people in twin flame connections marvel at the incredible coincidences that seem to swirl around their bond. I can understand this. I’ve seen some coincidences so far beyond all conceivable odds that they’ve left even my demographer friends — pragmatic types whose jobs revolve around finding statistical answers to the question, “What are the chances?” — absolutely stunned. This world is a weird place with its own brand of magic. I won’t deny that.
However — coincidences can surround all and any relationships. Yes, big coincidences. And yes, lots. If a connection stands to be important enough in your soul’s experience, life seems to find a way of highlighting that connection in amazing ways. And this can happen whether the person in question is your “twin flame” or not. Don’t cling to someone just because the coincidences seemed to say they were special. Coincidences are abundant. They’re not at all unique to twin flames.
And that’s sort of a beautiful thing: the idea that many of your relationships have their own bit of magic underlying them.
But what about psychic connections? Some twin flames talk about feeling psychically linked to the person they love. Well, it’s like I said about coincidences: these can happen in any connection. No single relationship has the monopoly on it — particularly when you consider that we all have lots of soulmates, and soulmate connections tend to inspire some pretty profound spiritual experiences themselves.
Here’s a cautionary tale: I told a story once of how my last serious relationship was abusive, but I stuck with it because it felt meant-to-be. I hadn’t even heard of the idea of twin flames by that point (not until years after the relationship ended), but it didn’t escape my notice that weird coincidences surrounded this guy or that we had a psychic connection. (You can read more about those experiences here.) I endured a lot of shit I honestly shouldn’t have put up with; his behavior was emotionally abusive, but I believed I should just be patient and love him until he could snap out of it — partly because I felt like the psychic and spiritual connection I felt to this man meant he was The One.
Bottom line: yes, your psychic connection to a person might be legitimate, but that does not mean that they are your twin flame. Much less that you should put up with abuse. Your connection might occasionally feel magical, but feel free to let go of any kind of magic that entices you toward pain; in a limitless universe, there is limitless magic. You will find more.
4. The idea that drama = twin flame.
People who believe themselves to be in twin flame connections often point to the various hurdles they’ve faced as a couple, or to the self-love challenges they might’ve had to work through during periods when their twin flame wasn’t receptive to a relationship. It happens even in “normal” relationships; couples face hurdles, and some lovebirds (before they arrive at happily ever after) aren’t even on the same page about whether to be together at all. Yet some people of New Age mindsets have spun all of this into a sort of “pain is gain” philosophy on love. Hence, you’ll occasionally find people writing about behaviors that sound like outright abuse (or that are, at the very least, deeply hurtful) and professing that this pain is the “proof” they’ve found their twin flame.
Honey, no. I’m not saying you can never feel hurt by anything a twin flame does… but emotional pain is NOT “a sign” that somebody is right for you. Do not romanticize a relationship based on how much it hurts you. Honestly, you deserve better than that… and there is better than that out there.
5. That abuse will get better because you’re “twin flames”. / That mistreatment / crossing of boundaries is okay if you’re “twin flames”.
Here’s a sad one. I had readers who periodically wrote to me about alarmingly unhealthy dynamics with the people they loved and believed to be their twin flames. Sometimes, these “twin flames” sounded emotionally, if not also physically, abusive. Meanwhile, the readers of my blog were under the impression that pain was a hallmark of a twin flame relationship, and thus they were willing to endure it as though it were the carrot on a stick that would lead them to twin flame bliss.
On the flip side, some people become so convinced they’ve identified a twin flame connection that they’re willing to override their love interest’s boundaries in the name of their own spiritual convictions. But that’s not what spirituality is about. Spirituality is about love — and love, as a spiritual force, is unconditional and non-attached. As such, it has no need for clinging.
Someone once told me, for instance, that the man she was living with wanted her to move out… but she believed they were twin flames, so she decided she’d rather stay put, in the hopes that he might eventually recognize how very special their spiritual bond was and embrace the romance she hoped for. I was somewhat unsettled when I heard this. Why? Well, in case it’s not obvious, unconditional love doesn’t do this: unconditional love doesn’t say, “Screw your boundaries, because I know better, and I know better spiritually.” No. Unconditional love communicates in a healthy fashion… and then lets go when and if it must.
Do not assume that twin flame connections absolve you or the other party of the responsibility to conduct your relationships with healthy communication and a genuine respect for boundaries.
6. That twin flame relationships require special training programs.
Here’s the deal: life IS your training program. Some people believe that life holds certain relationships out of our reach until we hit particular spiritual milestones. Sounds plausible to me. But don’t you think that life is already set up to help you heal and grow and make empowering self-discoveries? As such, why would you NEED to pay for a regimen of meditations or emotional healing rituals in order to find love?
I’m not here to knock psychics or coaches; some of my friends offer psychic or healing services or coaching programs, and I respect these people and believe in the value of their work immensely. I do think that we benefit from having a holistic perspective on our personal growth — and for some of us, that means a dash of “woo-woo.” If the coach or psychic whose services you’re accessing are genuinely helping you feel healthier and more empowered about yourself, your life, and your relationships, then that’s awesome.
But some people in the New Age community lean on anxiety as a motivating tactic by insinuating that anyone who wants some kind of spiritual “result” (e.g., to be in a twin flame relationship) but won’t shell out for a paid program ultimately “doesn’t want it” enough or doesn’t “believe in themselves” enough to take that leap — the deeper insinuation being that, therefore, the person isn’t “ready” for such a spiritually profound relationship. And while some of these teachers might wholeheartedly believe in what they’re selling and saying, you do not need to engage in an expensive program in order to “earn” the relationship of your dreams.
Unconditional love doesn’t work that way; it’s not an “earned” sort of thing. It’s unconditional. Duh. ;)
Unconditional love is also free. Therefore, nobody can possibly sell it to you.
If you genuinely believe that you are meant to be with someone, then perhaps you should let yourself consider that this “meant to be” part actually has some divine “oomph” behind it. And divine oomph knows where it’s going and how to bring you there; that’s how it connected you with such an enormous love in the first place. It can most certainly guide you to grow and heal in all the ways you might need in order to make space for that love to mature. No subscriptions necessary. You’ve already been signed up. For free.
7. That there are “false flames” floating around out there trying to trick you.
Some people have this idea that if they meet someone they believe is a twin flame, and then the relationship crashes and burns, it means that the person was a “false flame.” Some go a step further and actually assume that some people’s souls do this on purpose — i.e., try to trick others into believing they were a twin flame. I don’t know about you, but personally, I believe that everyone’s higher self is absolutely loving and that higher selves have better things to do with their earth time than cruise around looking for random people to “trick” into thinking they’re twin flames. Honestly, the whole “false flames” thing is a conspiracy I can’t get on board with.
Yes, I do believe it’s possible to be mistaken about somebody being “right” for you. But instead of ascribing some sort of spiritual malevolence to an unhappy relationship, maybe just consider that… it was an unhappy relationship. Was the connection spiritually important for you? You betcha. And therein lies the bright side: this person probably taught you a lot about what your values are and aren’t, about how strong you are, about what you deserve (i.e., more than you were settling for), and so on. And all of that self-knowledge and personal growth will help you find and cultivate more happiness in your future relationships.
8. That you can’t be twin flames if you’re of the same gender.
This is so ridiculous that I can’t even. LOVE IS LOVE! Next.
9. That you need to reach “perfection” to be ready for twin flame love.
There’s a popular idea that you need to reach near-enlightenment or some other marker of spiritual “perfection” in order to be capable of having a twin flame relationship. But newsflash: there is no such thing as perfection. If you’re waiting to become perfect? Not gonna happen. In fact, according to some spiritual philosophies, everything and everyone are perfect already, all the time. So congrats — you’re already there!
You will never reach the pinnacle of growth, healing, and self-knowledge. Or, in a paradoxical sense, you are already at it: there will always be more to discover, more to experience… and yet you’re ever at the vanguard of your soul’s own discoveries and experiences anyway.
The idea that you need to be “perfect” in order to be worthy of a truly special love is just another self-esteem issue lurking behind a noble cause. It’s wonderful that you’re committed to continued personal growth — but don’t ever tell yourself that perfection must be achieved before you can be deserving of life’s good things. Much less, unconditional love. Because unconditional love isn’t about demanding that you jump through hoops; it’s unconditional, plain and simple.
10. That “twin flame” = “better” than other kinds of relationships.
Spirituality doesn’t really have a need for hierarchies and ranks. Human egos might feel such a need… but the soul does not. Least of all does it need a hierarchy of value for love.
If you’ve found a twin flame connection and you feel like the luckiest person in the world, then you are. But so is the next person who feels like the luckiest person in the world — even if what they’ve found is very different… and even if they’ve never heard of twin flames at all.
We’re all here to live a variety of experiences. Nobody’s relationship, job, religion, social status, etc. is “more important” than anyone else’s.
I do grant that once you’ve found a twin flame connection, it’s hard to feel wholly satisfied by other connections; there’s simply a depth of feeling that’s hard to reach with others. Yet the other meaningful connections you’ll make in your life are equally important, and some of them stand to bring you untold amounts of magic too. Possibly even types of magic that you’d be less likely to find with your twin flame, given the unique sort of alchemy people have with each other.
If that sounds too abstract, think of it this way: maybe oranges are your favorite food. But if you ate nothing else in your whole life, you’d be sorely lacking in a whole lot of vital nutrients. Oranges are not unequivocally “better” than other foods; they’re better for some things (e.g., vitamin C!), not so great for others (e.g., protein). It really depends on what you’re looking for or what you need in a given moment.
Same with your soulmates/twin flame: you might have a preferred companion, but ultimately, others are fantastically delightful too, with their own unique gifts and strengths to share. So keep an open mind and an open heart.
11. That you NEEEEEEED a relationship with your twin flame in order to learn, grow, and be happy.
This is a popular idea among New Age types. But you have to put your trust in the universe here; why would the universe tether your divine purpose to a specific relationship and then prevent that relationship from materializing?
It wouldn’t. That simply wouldn’t make any sense.
Whatever you genuinely need to fulfill your purpose and meet your soul’s objectives is either already within you, or it will arrive when the time is right. Don’t tell yourself that your life will be meaningless without this person. Cultivate goals and dreams that don’t require that individual. I assure you, you can come up with some.
As long as you’re working toward a dream that truly comes from inside your own heart — while keeping your heart open to love — you will absolutely be learning and growing and savoring moments of deep happiness all along your path.
I hope that reading this list has helped you feel more empowered and peaceful about cultivating a spiritual sense of fulfillment in your own relationships. Wishing you peace and love!