There was something almost mysterious about this woman. Her face had lots of wrinkles. These were the first things to catch your eye, but they didn’t make her look old. Instead, they emphasized a certain youthfulness in her that transcended age. The wrinkles belonged where they were, as if they had been part of her face since birth. When she smiled, the wrinkles smiled with her; when she frowned, the wrinkles frowned, too. And when she was neither smiling nor frowning, the wrinkles lay scattered over her face in a strangely warm, ironic way. ~ Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
My first insight into the feeling of being internally old occurred during adolescence. I felt unusually different from the kids around me, somehow older, but 'mature' wasn't exactly the right word. The best way I could describe it back then was as though I had lived hundreds of years of life which had been condensed into 16 years of time.
As the years went by, I encountered a few Old Souls who I shared my experiences with. I would talk about my insights and introduce them to the concept of Old Souls. One of these people was Luna. She was so excited about it that she eventually wrote the well-received article 9 Signs You're An Old Soul as well as a subsequent Old Soul Book.
Recently, many other websites have started writing on the subject of Old Souls as well. In fact, so many people seem capable of relating to this experience that I thought it would be a good idea to create a community specifically dedicated to Old Souls, and this was when the Old Soul Facebook Group was born. The lack of conflict within such a large group of members is proof of the maturity that exists among them.
But in the real world having people of different levels of soulful evolution co-existing with each others comes with its problems. Not only that, but having an Old Soul doesn't necessarily equate to being 'all-knowing' or perfect. Rather, it's an indication of the age of the energy known as your soul.
In my years of mentoring Old Souls and helping them through their spiritual development, these are some of the biggest problems I've seen, and personally experienced:
1# You're A Social Outcast
As with anyone who perceives the world differently from others, Old Souls can experience a great (and unending) sense of isolation. Because they fail to fit into the standards that society admires and values (careers, materialism, status and so forth), they're commonly seen as strange, offbeat and unconventional.
2# You're The "Black Sheep"
While Old Souls can build many strong relationships with people, their penetrating ability to connect with the depths of the people in their lives can create many enemies. Seeing deeply into the core issues of the people around them, Old Souls feel an innate desire to be truthful, even if this means revealing uncomfortable truths such as the fact that many problems are caused by immaturity, or a failure to take responsibility.
Those who are willing to change will listen and like you, while the rest will feel great disdain towards you. This is why Old Souls often become the "devils advocates" or "black sheep" of their friends or family.
3# You Often Get Mislabeled
If there's something we all love and are good at, it's labeling people. We fool ourselves into thinking we can "know" someone by attributing a label to them. However, humans are far too complex to be boxed into a specific and unchanging group of people. In this case, Old Souls will often be given different labels, from "beatniks" to "hippies", "anarchists" to "new age freaks".
While you can't fight labels, you can try to use them in a positive way. Labels can be used as sign posts, as directions towards awareness of some quality many of us share. These qualities will be different in intensity and strength in each of us, but at least they will help us understand ourselves (and the people around us) a bit better.
This is partly why I called the Old Soul Group "I'm an Old Soul" - not so people can gain egotistical pride with such a label, but to create a sense of self-awareness, to allow people to better understand themselves.
4# You Speak An Entirely Different Language
Words are symbols we each load with our own unique definitions according to our own unique life experiences that are associated with each word. What I associate with love might be entirely different from what you associate with love. For example: When someone thinks about love, they might remember their old failed relationship and feel a terrible sense of vulnerability when the word arises, while others might associate love with loyalty and friendship.
Old Souls realize this limitation, and therefore greatly struggle to express entirely what they want to say, knowing that it's as though they are speaking an entirely different language from others.
5# You Are Prone To Intense Existential Crises
I have sometimes witnessed cases where Old energy is born into the body of a person who does not have the matching mental maturity to embrace it. This can result in depressions, substance abuse and existential crisis's.
When a person realizes that everything is transitional and passing, life can become pointless. This person sees that our bodies are temporary vessels that don't really matter, and without the ability to cultivate Self-Love, self-destructive habits can result.
In this case, it's necessary to undergo intense spiritual-growth, to cultivate existential meaning and inner-understanding through paths like Involution in order to learn how to embrace your soul.
6# You Easily Become Emotionally Drained
With the wisdom and patience that comes with being an Old Soul, there also comes others people's desire to use you as a dumping ground for their emotions. I've experienced this a lot in my own life, often experiencing emotionally-charged conversations that last for hours at a time. Some Old Souls also double as Empaths, which can also take a great toll on your energy.
7# You're Prone To Becoming Mentally Drained
In the search for truth, deeper understanding and inner exploration of yourself and the world around you, it is common for the Old Soul to experience a lot of mental fatigue. Double this with acting as a mediator between people and their problems, and you'll end up exhausted at the end of the day.
#8 You Struggle To Find A Kindred Spirit
But it's not always as hard as that. Having the wisdom to discern the true depths of your connection with a person will be your greatest asset in the area of love.
#9 You're Crippled By Possibilities
As we grow in maturity our perception of possibilities and explanations expands: we see life from limitless angles. This means that we see more than one way of doing things which makes us unfailingly indecisive as we see the full expanse of possibilities, and the lack of absolutes. Although making decisions and judgements can be a crippling experience, this can double as a virtue, allowing us to understand that we can't simply judge people by face value, and that they are the result of millions of internal and external influences.
#10 You Yearn For A Place To Belong
For some Old Souls, the world feels alien. They find it hard to understand people, why such chaos and misery exists and how it is allowed, and sometimes encouraged, to continue. They long to find a place where they feel like they belong, a space filled with freedom and liberation. This often results in the feeling that this world is not their true home.
Regardless of which of the above problems you may come across, these struggles will affect your life a lot less when you grow in inner understanding and acceptance.
The stronger your ability to channel and use the Old energy that is latent within you, the greater your capacity will be to aid in the continuation and evolution of your soul.
Please feel free to share your experiences below.
Photo by: Elvin