Do old souls have harder lives?
It’s a question I’ve often asked myself since finding out I have an old soul.
And I have discovered that yes we do have harder lives — but we also have access to experiences and benefits that many others don’t.
12 reasons why old souls have harder lives
An old soul is someone who is keenly creative, empathetic, sensitive, and insightful into the human condition.
Some believe that an old soul is an individual who has lived through more past lives than others and thereby gained greater compassion and wisdom.
The downside of being an old soul is that sometimes “ordinary” life and its frustrations and misunderstandings hit more deeply, as well as other issues.
1) Social belonging doesn’t come easily
One of the reasons why old souls have harder lives is that social belonging doesn’t come easily.
As an old soul, you see the deeper layers behind life, experiences, and philosophy.
You observe the world around you in a poetic and sometimes unusual way that isn’t always easy to communicate or share.
And this can lead to isolation and even being excluded socially.
As mental health writer Crystal Raypole notes:
“In childhood, you probably found it hard to relate to others your age and felt most drawn to people older than you.
“You may have wanted more substance from your interactions, but your peers might have considered you socially awkward or stuck-up. Maybe you even faced some teasing.”
2) You tend to be highly sensitive to injustice and pain
Being highly sensitive isn’t actually a negative thing.
In fact, an increasing number of scientists believe it may be linked to successful evolutionary traits that led to survival.
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The hard part of being highly sensitive, however, comes in trying to process the experiences and situations that seem like nothing for those around you.
Being mistreated during an interaction at the bank, a fight with your family, misunderstandings with your partner, and things like this are not just the annoyance that they might be to someone else.
They really get under your skin and make you question your life.
They can also make you withdraw and cut yourself off from the world, feeling rejected and like “why should I share and open myself to a world that doesn’t understand or appreciate me?”
You’d be surprised how many people — old and new souls — feel that way, but it’s true that old souls have an especially sensitive disposition which can make daily life more emotionally challenging.
3) Finding your twin flame can be a long road
Finding a kindred spirit or twin flame is one of the joys of life, but as an old soul, it can be harder to find.
Or in my case, you may meet many “partial” matches who leave you feeling even more enticed but not quite satisfied.
You know that “your person” is out there waiting for you once you’re ready.
But you also sense deep in your bones that your path could be a lonely one for many years more.
With that said, I have to mention that being an old soul also puts you miles ahead of many people who struggle with empty and toxic relationships for years.
As someone who’s highly attuned to your inner life and spiritual experiences, you are an expert at assessing your connection and the emotions and sharing that can happen between you and another special person.
This means less wasted time and more clarity.
4) You get very mentally exhausted and depleted of energy
Another reason why old souls have harder lives is that their openness and abilities come with a heavy toll.
Think of it like a computer running more programs at once with a higher RAM. The battery drains faster and the CPU heats up.
Maybe I’m more of a nerd than an old soul if I’m using a metaphor like that, but you get the idea…
Being an old soul means you take in life with a bit less filters and don’t shy away from the harder aspects, but that also means you get very tired.
“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.”
5) We speak a different language
One of the hardest things about being an old soul is that you speak a different language.
You may be like me and find it odd, for example, about how much people get into watching sports on TV.
You may also find yourself listening to extended discussions of interior decorating, car brands, or predictable establishment political propaganda debates and find yourself fading out fast.
This is because most others are frankly operating at a less conscious level and merely regurgitating what they’ve heard or frivolous subjects.
Sorry if that sounds elitist — in my own experience it’s absolutely true.
“We might as well be aliens if I am being honest. It’s difficult having a conversation with someone because we feel like we’re not fully clicking, and then we have that moment of feeling self-conscious or judged by that person.
“There are times where I feel like I’m rambling on about something the opposite person could care less about or find boring or confusing.”
6) We struggle to find our place in the sun
As old souls, we struggle to find our place in the sun.
In my case, I’ve found numerous locations where I made good friendships and forged close bonds, but I’ve struggled to find somewhere that really feels like “home” or where I want to stay long-term.
A lot of this is the fact that I’m still on a journey to fully accepting and integrating myself and my own life experience, but it’s also the fact that it’s hard to find your place as an old soul.
Many of us have a deep experience of joy, but we also have a nagging feeling of being unneeded, “weird” or not wanted.
In some cases, this unfortunately extends even closer to home and includes a feeling of separation and misunderstanding from our own family.
As Selma June writes:
“They are born into families who don’t get them. Their families think they are a disgrace— black sheep. Old souls can only understand each other. That’s why they are strangers anywhere they go, even in their own homes..”
7) We tend to be a unique mix of traditional and unconventional
As old souls, we aren’t easily labeled. I know that in my case I’m not fully traditional, but I’m also far from a modern or “progressive” and “open-minded” person in the way that’s apparently so trendy these days among my generation.
I’m just me.
I like some very old-school ideas, but I’m also very open to new ideas, challenging reality, and coloring outside the lines philosophically, politically, and spiritually.
This unique mix leaves many of us old souls without any defined “group” to feel at home in.
No matter our attempts to label and categorize ourselves, it just doesn’t stick.
Sooner or later our true self emerges and it just won’t be bound by the categories, narratives, and combo packages other people have created.
8) Old souls tend to dream as big as the sky
In my day I’ve wanted to be an astronaut, country music songwriter, lawyer, soldier, bestselling writer (working on that one), and stand-up comedian (also in progress).
Old souls are not the kind that tends to settle.
We like comfort and reassurance, but we also love to try out new horizons and find out everything life has to offer.
We want to push ourselves and share our gifts, to find out everything that we can bring to this life.
That can be a great thing, but it can also lead to major burnout and exhaustion.
“They understand the limitless nature of their potential, and can be hard on themselves when they don’t achieve everything they want and know they are capable of.”
9) Love ‘em and leave ‘em doesn’t work well for you
Another problem with being an old soul is that hooking up hurts.
Anna Yonk writes here about the experience for women, but it’s similar for old soul men as well.
As old souls, we’re looking for something deeper.
And even when we try to chase sex or hookups, it leaves us feeling a lack of something deep in our hearts.
And unlike other people who seem able to shake that off and move on, we have a much harder time.
Like Yonk says:
“We don’t understand how people just hook up without having any feelings for each other. We like the emotional connection that comes from having sex with someone we really like; without that, it’s just meaningless thrusting that leaves us feeling empty and sad inside.”
10) Being different isn’t an act for you
There’s quite a trend these days to being different and unique, and making sure everyone knows it.
You listen to experimental electronic music and are on an all-tofu diet?
But old souls aren’t “trying” to be different or make a point about their alternative lifestyle. Some of us may even look outwardly “conventional” or have average haircuts and clothing styles.
Our differences tend to come at a deeper level that isn’t always visible on the surface.
As Facebook user Rima Ayash writes:
“All along, you feel that you are a different bird in the flock. What makes them sad or happy or mad does not make you feel the same. But, on the other hand, I wouldn’t like to be any different.”
11) You’re an Indecisive Ivan
Whether or not your name is Ivan, you have a lot of trouble making decisions as an old soul.
Because you see life at a deep level and take in experiences very viscerally, you aren’t someone who just “wings it.”
You see situations and outcomes and ways of approaching upcoming decisions that often leave you rooted to the spot.
Or making a decision and then regretting it ten minutes later.
Welcome to my life!
“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 judgments 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.”
12) You want meaning and truth, not just glitz and glamor
Everyone needs meaning and truth in their life.
We all need a why in order to fuel our actions and get us up in the morning.
But for old souls, it often takes a lot more to get us excited and enthused.
We may want the conventional things, but the idea of a house in the suburbs and an office job with an annual vacation to the pre-built resort in Mexico just doesn’t get it done…
We want more.
We want the truth.
We want to test boundaries and find limits. And then go past them.
None of us are fully immune to glitz and glamor or the trappings of wealth and success — and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a nice life — but that inner burning for answers and meaning isn’t something we can put to bed in the way some others can.
We need to keep chasing our inner hunger for meaning, truth, and connection. We can’t have a nice nap or take easy answers.
We continue to search for our tribe and our spiritual home.
As hard as it can be, that journey can be a beautiful thing if we never give up and learn to embrace the beauty of the struggle.