Friday, December 19, 2008

Soul Mates vs. Security, and Perfection by Elizabeth Scott

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Soul Mates vs. Security, and Perfection--or a Little Bit About Bloom.
by Elizabeth Scott, author of Bloom, Perfect You, Stealing Heaven and Living Dead Girl

I think teens face face a lot of pressure to be perfect not just academically, but in every aspect of their lives. I also think the pursuit of perfection is something that can be very hollow, as perfection is beyond elusive. It's impossible.

And more than that, I so often see happiness equated with perfection, and happiness isn't, and shouldn't be, about being perfect. Happiness is messy and complicated and amazing. But it isn't perfect. And I think the idea that perfect = happy is something that Lauren wrestles with in Bloom.

I think it's something a lot of us wrestle with.

Lauren's real dilemma in Bloom, as I see it, isn't about a soul mate vs. security--it's about her trying to decide if she should do what she *thinks* she should do, or if she should follow her heart. It's not an easy choice to make because taking chances *is* hard and sometimes they don't work out.

When it comes to relationships, I don't think it should be soul mate vs. security. The very idea of that scares me a little actually, because a real relationship, one that lasts is about finding someone who you desire *and* who you feel comfortable with. A soul mate isn't just about passion. It's about someone who you know will be there for you no matter what.

And, of course, you want to be with someone who respects you and values you for who you are. Without that, any relationship you have can't be real, because if the other person doesn't respect you--then how can they truly care about you?

I think that's enough from me, and so now it's your turn to talk.

What do you think--do you see a difference between safety and soul mates? If you do, what is it? And what do *you* think is the most important aspect of a relationship?

Thanks, Elizabeth! Y'all, really, she was a rockstar about this. I only figured out this topic for her to tackle on Sunday and she got back with me 24 hours later with the guest blog done and was so, so gracious about my bad timing. Really, how much more awesome does a person get? Visit her at
Girl Week is a week-long event here on the blog celebrating strong YA heroines and feminism. Find out more about it here.

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ellie_enchanted said...

I don't have much experience with relationships, but it seems to me that the most important thing is mutual respect. And love, obviously, but if someone loves someone else but doesn't respect them, I don't think their relationship can survive.

katayoun said...

i'm not really a believe in soul mate that is if by soul mate you mean this one person that you know is meant for you and he/she is the only one. i believe there are people that you are at home with, that can understand you and you understand them, and if you work on relationship that you have with them then you would have something great. and i also believe that you would feel safe and secure with them, you can be you with them. so i think my version of soul mates and security are really very near.

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't think it's always soulmate vs safety either, but sometimes to find a soulmate you really need to take risk, which makes soulmate so special and precious. And the most important thing in a relationship is mutual feelings. When you are in love with each other deeply, you can overcome whatever problems. At least that's what I think.


Anonymous said...

When you asked about soulmates vs security.. what I thought of was a quote that was something along the lines of... don't settle for the one you can live with, but the one you can't live without. So, I see the difference how some people give us that sense of security.. whereas others seem pure emotions. Whether one is better, or if there's a chance that it can be one person... I wouldn't know.
The most important aspect of a relationship for me is the foundation of friendship. I think it's important to build a strong relationship that is past hormones and the butterflies if you want to make it far.

Thanks for acknowledging the stress teens feel... maybe you should talk to my parents and enlighten them. haha. Great blog! =)

A.S. King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A.S. King said...

Darn typo. Let me try that again.

Great post!

My mother said this to me on my wedding day - and it has been the single most important thing to remember during the course of my 17 year long marriage. She said, "This is the hardest work you'll ever do."
I'll tack on the second part of that. It's also the most rewarding.

I found my soulmate when I was 17 years old. I took a lot of chances, and I was lucky they worked out. 22 years later, we are still growing together and learning about each other. Ultimately, I followed my heart, but I also allowed myself time and space to live life on my own, which, looking back, was a very very important thing.

But I believe safety is found in the self. You cannot depend on anyone else to make you happy or safe. Meaning - while I took chances (I married a man I knew in person for about 4 months, and moved to a foreign country with him because I just *knew*) I was also safe because I knew that if it didn't work out, I would be fine on my own and land on my feet.

I do agree with friendship being a huge factor in a good relationship. I'm always surprised at how many couples seem to have nothing in common. What's with that? I also think that a good sense of humor is crucial for a long-lasting relationship - and remembering that the work is never "over" - it's a learning process like everything else. I know that's a really hard thing to accept for a lot of people who strive for a perfect marriage or relationship. But it's true. The work never ends - so if you have TWO people who understand this, life will go a lot more smoothly. :) (Mr. King is nodding.)

Kimberly Derting said...

I always try to tell my kids that the most important thing is to find someone who they like. Who they REALLY like! You don't have to sit around and braid each other's hair or go shoe shopping together. But find someone who makes you laugh, who you enjoy just being around. Because those initial butterflies will come and go. And he WILL piss you off. (A lot.) So you need more than just "desire" to keep you together through those challenging times.

My husband and I have been together for a long, LONG time, and he still cracks me up every single day. And he still drives me crazy like no one else can.

Amee said...

I love what Elizabeth has to say. I really don't think the two are mutually exclusive. Either a soulmate or security. You can have both at once. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey, Steph! I so want to read this!

-Emily Jane

Megan said...

I loved hearing what some married people thought about this!

Seeing as I'm sixteen, I don't have enough romantic experience to make my opinion too significant, but I would assume your soul mate would be the person in the world with whom you feel most safe.

Jena said...

My dad has always wanted me to fall in love with a guy who'd be in a secure job (as if there is such a thing) who'd be happy to take care of me no matter what. So he was less than thrilled when I brought home the man (whom I did, last year, marry), and my love informed my dad that he would never even pretend to offer security. He offered love and faith and everything else he could, but security was not one of those things. When we talk about that talk they had, I think of the end of Little Women when the professor offers Jo his empty hands and she puts hers in his and says, "Not empty now."

My husband, who suffered a brain injury in 2000, knows all too well that what looks like security is just a facade.

Liv said...

I think that in order to be a "soul mate" a person should fill every criteria you have. You should feel attraction to them, you should be comfortable with them, you should be able to turn to them for everything. They should be the one person that is your everything.

Lenore Appelhans said...

I have a friend who is married to this guy who is rock-solid but boring. She had this guy who was like a soul-mate but seriously unreliable. Did she make the right choice? Even she doesn't know how to answer that.

Shalonda said...

I believe that the most important aspects of a relationship are respect, trust, and commitment. And this goes for any relationship--not just a romantic relationship.

I have the world's greatest boyfriend. Without all of these things, I do not believe that we could love one another in the capacity that we do. In addition, because there is respect & trust for one another, we are able to commit to each other, rely on one another, and have fun!

Sarah Woodard said...

I want a mix of both, but more of a soulmate.

Alessandra said...

I don't really believe in "soul mates" - if this means only one person with whom you're destined to fall in love with. I believe there are various people with whom you can fall in love during your lifetime. But if a soul mate existed, I think it would be most of all someone who makes you feel comfortable.

jocelyn said...

Awesome guest blog.

I don't know what I think. I don't actually have any relationship experience to go on! But I agree that a mix of both would be nice, a soulmate who is also someone you feel safe with.

Vanessa ( said...

I absolutely loved Bloom. It is one of my favorite books of all time. Elizabeth Scott is AWESOME. I felt that it was a true love story and true to the characters (because there are people like Lauren out there). I just loved it!

Anonymous said...

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