I"ve been hearing a lot about the concept of twin flames lately, but much of the discussion seems to lớn center on twin flames & soul mates being one và the same. As it turns out, that"s not quite the case. "A twin flame comes into your life when you are ready for self-mastery," says Dr. Harmony, an intuitive energy healer and author ofTwin Flame Codebreaker. "They are present to bring soul growth and personal transformation." Sure, that might sound something like a soul mate, but lớn be clear, these fated connections don"t necessarily reflect the kind of star-crossed love a soul-mate might deliver.

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Below, Dr. Harmony and life coach Shannon Kaiser, tác giả of the forthcoming Return lớn You: 11 Spiritual Lessons for Unshakable Inner Peace, break down what a twin flame really is, and how you might distinguish one from a potential soul mate, no matter when & how they enter your life.

What exactly is a twin flame?

"Your twin flame is a fragment of you," says Dr. Harmony. In spiritual terms, you can picture their soul as a different incarnation of your own. "This kind of relationship is meant khổng lồ bring your soul & this other soul into oneness or wholeness," says Kaiser.

Because they are so fundamentally similar khổng lồ you, a twin flame operates almost lượt thích a spiritual mirror, reflecting back to you both your strengths và your weaknesses, struggles, or past traumas. "Specifically, they will help you awaken lớn suppressed sides of yourself that you have not been willing to face," says Dr. Harmony. "The connection opens you up to being raw, honest, và vulnerable."

"Typically, a twin flame will reopen unhealed wounds, causing emotional pain that could leave you feeling distraught—but all with the higher purpose of helping you fully see, feel, heal, và learn lớn love yourself." —Dr. Harmony, intuitive energy healer

As a result, the experience of meeting your twin flame can actually invoke some inner chaos or turmoil. "Typically, they will reopen unhealed wounds, causing emotional pain that could leave you feeling distraught—but all with the higher purpose of helping you fully see, feel, heal, & learn to love yourself," says Dr. Harmony. Essentially, with these types of connections, a breakdown could come before a breakthrough (you"ve been warned).

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While you"re on that journey, though, a relationship (platonic or romantic) with a twin flame could have a certain push-pull energy lớn it. Perhaps you meet someone & have a whirlwind romance for a few months, & then break things off abruptly, only khổng lồ wind up back together years later because of a twist of fate; or, maybe you spend a flight chatting with a stranger, and it inspires a massive change of heart and a new life direction.

In any case, there"s a clear feeling of your life having been turned upside down by meeting this person, says Kaiser. In other words, their entrance into your world creates a clear before and after.

3 signs you"ve found your twin flame

A twin flame typically enters your life for the first time when you have some emotional growing khổng lồ do, prompting what Kaiser calls "a crash course in spiritual advancement." As a result, there"s not really much value in searching for this person; either, they"ll find you... Or, as Kaiser notes, you may not actually have a twin flame. "If that"s the case, you"re certainly not incomplete without one," she says. "A twin-flame relationship is just one path of many to support spiritual awareness và alignment."

That said, there are a few questions you can ask yourself, should you suspect your twin flame has found you (or, in a roundabout way, you"ve found them):

Do you feel an immediate bond? You"ll know when you"ve found your twin flame thanks to an instantaneous energetic bond, says Dr. Harmony. Often, you can feel the bond more than you can explain or understand it, she adds. Meeting them could leave you reeling while asking yourself, "Who is this person?" & "What is this connection?" Does this person feel like home? Consider who pops into your mind when you think about someone who feels like home—someone who instinctively understands you without you ever really needing to explain yourself.

Although you may be able to lớn mentally & emotionally commit khổng lồ the idea that your twin flame is out there despite them not currently being in your life, this also isn"t about putting your life on hold to wait for them. In fact, it"s quite the opposite: Often, when a person remains focused on their inner work and is able to find personal security, they over up uniting (or reuniting) with their other spiritual half serendipitously.

How this type of kindred spirit differs from a soul mate

All this talk about destined connection might conjure the idea of a soul mate. But in actuality, a soul-mate relationship has a few key distinctions from that of a twin flame.

For starters, while it"s possible khổng lồ have a number of soul mates (both romantic and platonic), spiritual mentors like Dr. Harmony và Kaiser contend you can only have one twin flame. And while that person is lượt thích your other half, or a part of your soul reincarnated into a different person"s body, a soul mate is a separate soul that has a deep connection lớn yours, says Kaiser: "Soul mates are two souls that made an agreement before entering this life to lớn meet up in some way."

While a soul mate is certainly someone who"s on a similar life path to lớn your own & with whom you feel like you can be 100-percent yourself, they likely won"t gọi you out, challenge you, or push you to grow in the ways that a twin flame typically does, according lớn Dr. Harmony. "It"s easier khổng lồ fall in love with a soul mate và tougher to lớn break ties with them," she says. "You may even find yourself in a codependent relationship with a soul mate."

Not so with a twin flame. "The initial tương tác with them can feel similar lớn a soul-mate connection, but the intensity is much greater because they represent your strongest mirrored reflection," Dr. Harmony says. "Your twin flame "shows up" to lớn help you find your true self và align with your life purpose."

Because that"s no easy feat, uniting and interacting with your twin flame often has that push-pull dynamic noted above. "You come together, then pull apart to release abandonment wounds và karma, và let go of old patterns, subconscious programming, & limiting belief systems that no longer tư vấn the best version of yourself," Dr. Harmony says. "The intense experience creates new awareness that requires you và your twin flame to lớn change your current life circumstances in order to eventually reunite again."

If you feel a destiny-worthy connection khổng lồ someone with whom you"ve always have bad timing, they"re more likely your twin flame than your soul mate.

But since finding this person isn"t meant khổng lồ glorify the on-again, off-again relationship trope, let"s frame this in a different context: If you feel a destiny-worthy connection to lớn someone with whom you"ve always have bad timing, they"re more likely your twin flame than your soul mate.

What it"s like to be in romantic relationship with your twin flame

Whereas a lãng mạn relationship with a soul mate tends to have an air of calmness and support, a twin-flame romance often feels more supercharged and profound, says Kaiser. There"s an intensity to the relationship that can "ignite your inner fire và give you a desire to lớn experience more passion and fulfillment in all areas of life," says Dr. Harmony.

If that sounds a little wild or turbulent, it"s because it certainly can be. "Twin-flame relationships can lead to wholeness and help you feel more seen và understood—but only if both people have done their soul"s work," says Kaiser. "If one or both people are not ready or willing to grow, the romance can be dramatic, or even toxic."

As a result, most twin-flame romances have the greatest success later in life, when both people are secure within themselves & committed khổng lồ wholeness, says Kaiser. This is especially important to note if you still feel connected to lớn someone in your past with whom you have a similar background; your shared experiences are meaningful và could size the foundation for your growth together at a future point in time.

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Because of the powerful ebbs và flows of any romantic twin-flame relationship, Dr. Harmony describes it as two people not only working together, but dancing together in rhythm. Và just lượt thích any duet, it tends to work best if each person has learned lớn dance solo first.

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