Soulmates: The World's Worst Love Advice | Brittany Smale | TEDxMcMasterU

  • Published: 01 November 2016
  • The notion of soulmates has been perpetuated in our society long before we first started to consider finding one for ourselves. It’s an inescapable premise, colouring the fanfare of dating advertisements and TV shows everywhere around us. And yet, what if this idea that we have a soulmate is actually not only decreasing the likelihood of finding a healthy relationship, but destroying our relationships once we’re in them? Brittany Smale tells us why it’s about time to stop saying, “It just wasn’t meant to be,” once and for all.

    The notion of soulmates has been perpetuated in our society long before we first started to consider finding one for ourselves. It’s an inescapable premise, colouring the fanfare of dating advertisements and TV shows everywhere around us. And yet, what if this idea that we have a soulmate is actually not only decreasing the likelihood of finding a healthy relationship, but destroying our relationships once we’re in them? Brittany Smale tells us why it’s about time to stop saying, “It just wasn’t meant to be,” once and for all.

    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Comments • 173

  • Arunava chakraborty
    Arunava chakraborty  5 days back

    Technology is ruin love life..ppl got confused ..u will automatically feel that someone love you. Just talk to her free time..u will find out she love you and she will find out he love her.just don't confuse

    • Z Quinn
      Z Quinn  2 weeks back

      I interpret Plato's Symposium in the abstract. He's simply saying that we are seeking wholeness, and so we search through the world for the experiences that will bring us nearer to our own versions of wholeness. Incidentally, Symposium helped me to value love in my solitary journey over the "love" offered by other people.

      • Elon Green
        Elon Green  3 weeks back

        I think the Hindu's have the right idea, and the west is totally wrong about everything, even love.

        • Louise Parker
          Louise Parker  1 months back

          So true. The guy I'm with now did not sweep me off my feet ( that's how you fall over); he showed me his constancy and reliability, his good manners and his devotion. I can trust him, but I now realise that because I respect myself, and have clear boundaries that in the future, I could find another decent person, if things don't work out.

          • theo chaffee
            theo chaffee  1 months back

            Soul mates evolve.  They are not born for a day.  It takes time like a garden takes time.  One yearly growth of a few vegetable seed scattered on a plot does not a garden make.  It is perhaps the foundation for future beds of vegetables, sure.  A garden is so much more work until the lovely fruit is born.  A soul mate must be fostered with soft and gentle love.  The soil must be worked with the hands.  Having a prize-winning group of vegetables on one's first attempt at gardening is a fluke of the universe.  It has no right to be here.  Whereas, building the soul of two lovers into one fused heart takes years of first prize-winning gardening.  Soul mates know who they are for they have the soil of love beneath their nails and the stained skin of those who work hard for what they get.  Plant your love and watch it slowly grow over the years into a shared experience of true love.  It will take time; however, you will know a soul mate was born of all the trouble which was really no trouble at all.

            • kako rwan
              kako rwan  2 months back

              She is all wrong about soulmate thing, first they can be anyone, mom,dad,sis,bro,friend,....
              Second thing the sad reality is that the soulmate is not a princess/prince,,, and he/she is not perfect not in personality, place, and time,,, they are simply a human that you can be friendly, comfortable, fearless as far as you are, and the second sad reality is that most of the soulmates are far away from each other for some reason...
              So they do exist but they are not the emaginary perfect romantic pink love that we had red in the cenderella story, they are just normal people and you gonna have a normal boring life with them and that's all

              • James P
                James P  2 months back

                Good talk. Touched on a lot of important issues.

                • Amy Galvin
                  Amy Galvin  3 months back

                  It’s a fairy tale. And it’s complete b.s and leads to unrealistic expectations. There isn’t 1 person predestined in the world for you.

                  • Tiger Of Copenhagen
                    Tiger Of Copenhagen  3 months back

                    Sounds like she's speaking at a high school.

                    • Justin Boger
                      Justin Boger  3 months back

                      I would like to make this speaker The One. love the nerdy red head thing

                      • VidiSensiVici
                        VidiSensiVici  3 months back

                        Another definition for soulmate is twin, someone with whom shares lots of many things with us, like kind energy, and with whom we laugh easily and could talk for many hours. In short, it is fun to be with this person. It is even more fun or ideal if this person is loyal, the hardest thing to do in life or in any relationships.

                        • Caroline
                          Caroline  4 months back

                          Wise young woman!

                          • Holly Tramont
                            Holly Tramont  5 months back

                            She is brilliant, very intellectual and a lot of her points are true and helpful, but you can tell she hasn't had The Experience.

                            • Allie Yellø
                              Allie Yellø  4 months back

                              Holly Tramont yeah I haven’t had the experience either. I’m too logical😅😅

                          • Jillian Angel
                            Jillian Angel  5 months back

                            Nothing wrong with fighting is so true. People we love trigger us, many emotions are experienced through love. They bring up problems that you have to look at and deal with it by communicating and resolving, understanding, and/or moving on. Fighting brings up things that need to be healed or if its too much to handle, you need to move on to another partner.

                            • Jillian Angel
                              Jillian Angel  5 months back

                              No one is eductated enough to say theres no such thing as soulmates. Its like stating theres no God. No one can prove that. I believe in Soulmates and twin flames, I have clear boundaries in my relationship that I wont allow to be crossed so I never just settle or put up no matter what. I believe there are people meant to teach you lessons in life and someone youre meant to be with forever when you reach the point of finding your true inner self. I dont nitpick in my relationships though like Idc about someones interests I can enjoy almost anything thats the fun of life. I feel how comfortable I am with someone and make sure they dedicate themselves to me and respect and not cross my boundaries. I also believe if youre just about the physical world you cant possible find any sort of soulmate because you cant even find your own soul.

                            • Olivié Charbonneau
                              Olivié Charbonneau  6 months back

                              Realistic approach served by shallow ideas and exemples.

                              • Aamer Zaido
                                Aamer Zaido  6 months back

                                I wish to die😥

                                • dear wishes
                                  dear wishes  6 months back

                                  She is amazing

                                  • Silvija Simic
                                    Silvija Simic  7 months back

                                    I would like to have a continuation on this topic, regarding the other way, maybe a bit healhier, to look at relationships which doesn't involve soulmates. That should be really interesting!

                                    • Shizen NoHi
                                      Shizen NoHi  7 months back

                                      Embrace your self. Embrace your life. Embrace self love. Love yourself unconditionally. 🤗

                                      • Tracie Jones
                                        Tracie Jones  7 months back

                                        I believe in soul mates, but I believe that they are usually your closest friends and you can have more then one true love or even twin flame. I have had 5 long term relationships and believed at the time, they were perfect for me......the last one was a narc And I really believed he was going to be the last one... so now I am learning to respect myself, love me who know, maybe I have one more perfect for me true love, if not I will buy a dog

                                        • Aeon 1111
                                          Aeon 1111  7 months back

                                          In spring 1998 I heard a voice it told me that my real wife was born today. I was 20 years old.

                                          • Clare  Bates
                                            Clare Bates  7 months back

                                            you clearly have never been in love

                                            • kako rwan
                                              kako rwan  2 months back

                                              No she is clearly struggling..

                                          • Kris Shackelford
                                            Kris Shackelford  8 months back

                                            Everyone wants a Bashert

                                            • Kate Mind Skills
                                              Kate Mind Skills  8 months back

                                              I feel that society has definitely influenced how we think about relationships in general - not JUST soulmates. But I also feel it is important to have a list of priorities that you feel are needed for your romantic partner to have.

                                              Now I really feel like my husband is 'my other half' because we have WORKED for that. We both want to give and take in the relationship and fulfill each others needs. We are respectful of each other and open.

                                              Now I think that we can have a beautiful relationship with any romantic partner as long as both parties are WILLING TO WORK TOGETHER. To accomplish everything together. This takes effort, time, and sometimes tears, and misunderstandings. It is important to have those times in a relationship because it is NORMAL.

                                              I think it is smart to have a general list of your top priorities that you want in a romantic partner - qualities. Obviously you do want to be physically attracted to them but that should not be the number one priority, cause lets face day you and them will have wrinkles and won't look exactly like they do at the present time.

                                              A list would look something this:

                                              1. Is there a specific religion that you prefer they believe in?
                                              2. What qualities do they need to have to allow you to feel COMFORTABLE? Humor, joy, humility, responsibility, patience...? What are those for you?
                                              3. How do they treat their mother, father, siblings, friends, coworkers, and the waitress at the restaurant? Are they kind?
                                              4. Are they willing to work with you?

                                              Relationships don't always need to be a 10/10 because the truth is is that there will be ups and downs and if you are willing to work together to do your best to have it be wonderful for both sides then it is a successful relationship.

                                              And let me tell you, my husband and I were very attracted to each other right of the bat, found that we could laugh and have fun, and found that we could disagree on topics and decisions and still respect the other person. And most importantly we found that we could communicate through issue and come to an agreement or a compromise.

                                              This has led to us feeling even closer, more intimate, and happier together. Each time we work through a huge issue wether it be me not being responsible and locking us out of the car over 3 times, or whatever it is we have felt even closer together.

                                              What are your qualities you are looking for in a romantic partner?
                                              Are you the type of person WILLING to work through issues, no matter what they are even 50 years from now?

                                              • Dumbling
                                                Dumbling  9 months back

                                                I think she needs a hug

                                                • Dale Petersen
                                                  Dale Petersen  9 months back

                                                  It's too hard. you have to spend the rest of your life worried about your eyes twinkling the wrong way and falling out of soulmate status. Besides who wants to spend the rest of their lives posing for the monthly facebook profile picture update depicting perfection.

                                                  • corsican lulu
                                                    corsican lulu  9 months back

                                                    according to law of attraction u can really attract ur perfect soulmate.

                                                  • RED JACKAL
                                                    RED JACKAL  9 months back

                                                    I think early on in life when you are young you have a high probability of finding your soulmate but it decreases as you get older

                                                    • Taylor Garcia
                                                      Taylor Garcia  9 months back

                                                      I think the universe is cool enough to give you your soulmate. I don't think you find that person unless you are your true self. You can find happiness anywhere tho in a relationship or single.

                                                      • Nicholas James
                                                        Nicholas James  9 months back

                                                        oh for gods and love just happens...failure also, don't dissect the process.

                                                        • Terry Curtin
                                                          Terry Curtin  10 months back

                                                          People try to hard. Soul mate is a myth. However luckily if single available people cross our paths and look like they care about themselves we have a chance.
                                                          This women need a vibrator.

                                                          • Marwa Radee
                                                            Marwa Radee  10 months back

                                                            loved it

                                                            • ejaculatingcock
                                                              ejaculatingcock  10 months back

                                                              What makes the speaker an expert on relationships? She does not seem like shes been in a marriage or had children.

                                                              • saber mouad
                                                                saber mouad  10 months back

                                                                you forgot the top of the list he must be rich , and having a list keeps the honest guys away

                                                                • Stephanie Douranakis
                                                                  Stephanie Douranakis  10 months back

                                                                  I think a lot of people are missing the point. If we work under the belief of a soulmate, then there’s the idea that there’s only one possible person a romantic relationship will last with. It sets up people for a lot of heartache when that “soulmate” ends up not lasting. You have to be open to being okay with the idea that there might be multiple possibilities. I think that is what she is getting at.

                                                                  • My Name
                                                                    My Name  11 months back

                                                                    where do these people come from? looks like a slob

                                                                    • My Name
                                                                      My Name  11 months back

                                                                      fix your dam teeth

                                                                      • Greg Austin
                                                                        Greg Austin  12 months back

                                                                        Aristotle, Plato's diametric opposite, claimed, "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies."

                                                                        Then what, exactly, is a soul? Can't have a mate in a common endeavor when the endeavor itself has no definition, no direction. Clearly this entire endeavor of finding a soulmate is the quest not for the right individual, as much as it is the quest for the source of the soul, the source of love, what religions have called "God." And it appears that one cannot fulfill His destiny, whatever that is, without first giving the credit, and due thanks, to Him, He who created love's masterpiece. People today go to bars to chase the spirits (plural), when they used to go to church to find the One Spirit, and the possibility of one soulmate.

                                                                        Since government has systematically undermined the church, people wonder why it is so difficult to find a soulmate. Churches once were the organized venue of altruism, established, in part, to help the needy, paid by tithing. These were organizations led by love and charity, which have today been replaced by government, government instead empowered to protect and punish people through the force of taxation. While churches close, and fall like dominoes into disrepair, new prisons and psych wards are each year built until overcrowded.

                                                                        Instead of soulmates, people wonder why they seem to only find new war-like sparring partners, over and over again. Erroneously, they may even eventually give up on love altogether, stating that love must be mythical, that their driving force of desire was not real from the start--or worse--that love and its desire has always been the source of all their suffering, while the government is not culpable for any of it.

                                                                        People fight, you say? People must break the hearts of one another? Is that a requirement? How about people force their own wills and demands on one another, instead of relying on surrendering to His will, an act of obedience. So stop doing that. Abandon yourself, and your fear, the fear paid to the tax collectors, to thereby fund the sins of congress under the false premise of "protection" from yourself. Instead, surrender to the love of God, and do not do it alone. Surrender your pride, superiority, and egotistical loneliness to the congregation of His will. If you are open-minded enough, you just might learn something, and just might soften enough to become lovable. Put God first in your life, and guaranteed, if it be His will, you will find your soulmate, and will need no other.

                                                                        • omg hey there
                                                                          omg hey there  12 months back

                                                                          Here's the thing: If you personally, subjectively, define "SOULMATES" as "extremely naturally compatible people" it might be a helpful concept to utilize to discard the unsuited, avoid drama etc. But if you define "soulmates" as some magical dream of instant perfection in a human body and floating on rainbows, essentially an extension of your overly high and unrealistic materialistic standards, then it might not be a helpful concept for you.

                                                                          • omg hey there
                                                                            omg hey there  12 months back

                                                                            "destiny" "stars" "fate" etc I don't think thats what "soulmates" necessarily means tho.. i think it's more like just two people so uniquely compatible for eachother they are a statistical improbability.

                                                                            • Peter Jackson
                                                                              Peter Jackson  12 months back

                                                                              If you can wrestle with your conscience, you can argue with a soulmate.
                                                                              Flattery doesn't increase intimacy. Working things out is better than flattery.
                                                                              You can't look for a soulmate. You can only keep an eye open for them.
                                                                              One must first be complete on their own, but they are at the same time half of a two person unity.

                                                                              • Peter Jackson
                                                                                Peter Jackson  12 months back

                                                                                I could never be with anyone for a lifetime that isn't the only one i'd ever be with.
                                                                                Soulmates may be too bad people from differing conditioning, yet have been cut from the same cloth of essence.
                                                                                Thinking something wasn't meant to be because it doesn't work is untrue. As we don't see things covered in snow as they look in summer, We don't see what a person will be in the future.
                                                                                Soulmates doesn't mean the other is cultivated yet. What this woman describes is right, but she is wrongly calling the thing she says is bad a soulmate, but it is what she suggests that best applies to accepting a soulmate.
                                                                                She mistakes ideals and types for soulmates.

                                                                                • K Trott
                                                                                  K Trott  1 years back

                                                                                  That story refers to a twin flame. People can have many different soulmates.

                                                                                  • Faith Maloney
                                                                                    Faith Maloney  1 years back

                                                                                    I believe in Soulmates but we all know Soulmates are not perfect, no human is perfect.

                                                                                  • valar
                                                                                    valar  1 years back

                                                                                    If you really believe in "The One", then it would logically follow that if they die, you are doomed to be alone for the rest of your life, because there literally can't be another.

                                                                                    • Black lightning
                                                                                      Black lightning  1 years back

                                                                                      It's about damn time someone discussed this whole soulemate nonses. Definitely gona share this.

                                                                                      • Romantic Outlaw
                                                                                        Romantic Outlaw  1 years back

                                                                                        my ideal partner:
                                                                                        >is attractive to me
                                                                                        >is attracted to me
                                                                                        >is a human person with emotions and values

                                                                                        • Ileana
                                                                                          Ileana  10 months back

                                                                                          ...yep. Beyond age, weight, hair, style, etc.