I thought I had heard about twin flames in the upper echelons of classic literature—like maybe in a quote from Wuthering Heights. But like many of my shamey moments, I realized I was actually thinking of a Taylor Swift lyric; this time it was “twin fire signs” in “State of Grace” from her Red album. So…close, but no smokey cigar on the answer to my question: what is a twin flame? Upon light research, I learned there’s a better song to explain the concept: The Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” a tune inspired by Nico’s reflection of Lou Reed (and vice versa)—because your twin flame is your greatest teacher and other half.
When I chatted with the expert on twin flames, Dr. Harmony, she ignited in me an even greater understanding of the concept: “Your twin flame is a fragment of you,” the author of Twin Flame Codebreaker tells me. “They enter your life to help you discover more of your authentic self by releasing what no longer serves your life, love, and livelihood. Their purpose is to help you turn your life ‘messes’ into a ‘message’ so you can help others walk a similar path.”
Kind of sounds like a soul mate, right? The big distinction, though, is that soul mates are widely believed to have a strong romantic connection—like love of first sight, being in a committed relationship, marriage, house with the white-picket fence, and so on—but that’s not required for twin flames. Rather, twin flames are meant to guide you along the path toward the greater good, even if they invoke some chaos along the way. And while you can have a number of soul mates, spiritualists like Dr. Harmony contend you can only have one twin flame.
“The initial contact with your twin flame can feel similar to 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 help you find your true self and align with your life purpose.”
Here’s the good news: With twin flames, you can trust the universe to bring the two of you together rather than worrying about launching into a full-on search party. You’ll know when you’ve found yours thanks to an instantaneous and unmistakable energetic bond, says Dr. Harmony. Know someone who makes you feel at home? If a face immediately pops into your mind, they may be your twin flame. And if you’re currently on the outs with that person, that doesn’t mean they’re not your twin flame. Rather, this is someone who brings out the best and the worst of you, so reconnecting might require shedding the layers of your shadow self that represent negative qualities that don’t quite serve you.
And although you may be able to mentally and emotionally commit to this idea that your twin flame is out there despite them not currently being in your life, this isn’t about putting your life on hold to wait for them. “The goal is to stay focused on your inner work, remain open to everything, and attached to nothing,” Dr. Harmony says. “This will accelerate the personal-healing process so you can reunite with your twin flame when the time is right.”
In fact, one of the biggest aspects of uniting with your twin flame in life is being able to work on yourselves separately.
In fact, you’re likely to diverge several times. Ever get the feeling upon meeting someone that the two of you are just supposed to know each other? Well, when you initially meet your twin flame, you may feel a connection so strong, you struggle to remember a time before this person existed in your life; however, the alignment will force both of you to look inward and start confronting your authentic selves, who you want to be, and who you’re destined to be. “This can produce the ‘fear’ of being seen and has the tendency to create a push-pull effect that most often sends you into separation,” says Dr. Harmony. “The separation is a positive step and assists each individual to evolve further faster.”
If you feel a destiny-worthy connection to someone with whom you’ve always have bad timing, they could be your twin flame. You come together to teach each other new things but pull apart because you haven’t yet shed your individual baggage.
So it makes sense that there’s not necessarily a direct line to “happily ever after” when it comes to meeting your twin flame. And since finding yours isn’t meant to romanticize the on-again, off-again relationship trope, let’s frame this in a different context: If you feel a destiny-worthy connection to someone with whom you’ve always have bad timing, they could be your twin flame. You come together to teach each other new things but pull apart because you haven’t yet shed your individual baggage.
“This ‘dance’ creates repetitive cycles of coming together then pulling apart to release abandonment wounds and karma, and let go of old patterns, subconscious programming, and limiting belief systems that no longer support your highest good,” Dr. Harmony says. “The intense experience requires you and your twin flame to change your current life circumstances because you are now aware of your situation. Therefore, it forces you to take action that is uncomfortable.”
While contact with your twin flame may spark friction because your souls are seeking independence, you’ll eventually unite as your strongest selves. This is especially important to know if you still feel connected to someone in your past with whom you have a very similar background. The shared experiences and missions are meaningful, and usually help form the foundation for (eventually) growing together.
“If you are experiencing an intense connection with someone who is causing your life to feel turned upside down, you are most likely in a twin-flame relationship.” —Dr. Harmony, twin-flame expert
“This is why twin flames typically have overlapping missions, work in similar fields, or have related goals—unlike soul-mate relationships,” Dr. Harmony says, noting that soul needn’t share these qualities to feel connected. “If you are experiencing an intense connection with someone who is causing your life to feel turned upside down, you are most likely in a twin-flame relationship.”
While I sincerely hope someone as in-and-out-of my life as my high school boyfriend isn’t my endgame, and certainly don’t subscribe to the notion of waiting for someone forever, the idea of twin flames is unquestionably interesting. Especially given that I’m a direct product of two parents who, after three breakups in six years, finally made it work…and continue make each other better. Sometimes people do need to work through their issues apart, and are so much stronger for it when they finally reunite.