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What Is An Old Soul & How To Know If You Have One


Some people have the nagging sense that they've lived before… This may not come with any particular concrete memories of previous times on Earth.

More often, there's just an underlying feeling of being an ‘old soul'.

This can come with difficulty fitting in or feeling comfortable. However, it can also cause a profound sense of wisdom and an unusual capacity to see the deeper meaning in life's events.

We've all met people like this, too. These people either strike us as substantially more mature than their years or simply have deep, old-soul eyes.

If you feel like an old soul, chances are that you’ve had a harder than average time being happy. So, why do old souls suffer, and what can you do to ensure you get the most of life?

We’ll explore the nature and meaning of being an old soul below, offering some general advice that may help you make better sense of your experiences so far.

What Is An ‘Old Soul’?

On the simplest definition, old souls are people who have had many different lives. This is often regardless of if they can actively recall those previous incarnations of themselves or not.

If this applies to you, you've probably always felt like it was difficult to find people who really understood you.

In the worst cases, you may have felt isolated or deeply lonely, while in more moderate cases you may remember just feeling somehow out of step with most of your friends, family, or colleagues.

This tends to happen because old souls feel a kind of disconnect from the material plane. Similarly, they have an innate level of understanding that is simply beyond most people.

You may sometimes meet a child who strikes you as an old soul. In this way, these children are typically quieter than average, more thoughtful, and may come across as daydreamers.

They need careful, attentive nurturing in order to adjust to the differences between themselves and their peers.

Whether you suspect that you or someone you love might be an old soul, it's important to be aware that this offers many benefits.

In addition, as we'll discuss below, old souls can have incredibly fulfilling lives; it can just take a while to figure out what their purpose should be.

8 Old Soul Characteristics

So, are you an old soul? While there’s no old soul test as such, there are certain overlapping traits that appear in most such people.

Here are eight old soul characteristics that will help you assess yourself and others you know. This list also highlights some of the major advantages of being an old soul.

1. You Aren’t Materialistic

While people around you are obsessing about getting the latest smartphones, the fastest cars, or the fanciest shoes, these things will likely leave you cold if you're an old soul!

Instead of being excited by the idea of accruing wealth or attaining status, you might find yourself bored by these pursuits.

While you can acknowledge these things serve a purpose, you truly see them as the temporary, material possessions that they are.

Similarly, you probably don't waste your time defining yourself on the basis of the things you own.

Rather, you're interested in long-term fulfillment, personal development, and meaningful relationships that withstand the test of time.

2. Old Soul’s Seek Knowledge And Growth

If you're an old soul, it's highly likely that you constantly feel the pull to learn new things.

For some, this may find expression in intellectual pursuits (such as habitually taking courses, repeatedly returning to college, or pursuing an academic career). For others, it may come out in a love of regularly picking up new physical skills.

In both cases, the key driver is a desire for growth and evolution, especially in terms of knowledge.

In contrast, old souls are typically uninterested in petty gossip, rumors, or superficial news that doesn't have long-term ramifications for how humanity develops.

3. You Listen To Your Intuition

One of the most prominent old soul signs is a staunch faith in your own judgment.

While other people struggle to follow the advice of their inner voice or sometimes don't even find it easy to hear that voice in the first place, an old soul easily tunes into their intuition and trusts it as a reliable guide to what is right.

Consequently, you'll usually be drawn to people who fit with you and your values. Plus, you'll often pick up guiding signs from the universe that others would miss entirely. In addition, your friends will benefit from you sharing your gut feelings.

4. You Appreciate The World’s Energy

There are many different ways to appreciate the world's energy. One of the most common expressions of this appreciation comes in the way that old souls are naturally attracted to nature.

If you're an old soul, you probably feel deeply at peace in nature and make sure that regular time outdoors is part of your schedule.

You may feel like this time recharges and refreshes you, helping you to let go of sadness or stress. If this sounds like you, try doing more manifestation techniques and activities outside your home (such as outdoor meditation) to help boost your vibration.

Old souls often ultimately decide that they want to live closer to nature and move into the countryside. It's also common for them to communicate effectively with animals.

5. You May Be An Empath Or Introvert

Due to the innate wisdom that comes with being an old soul, you may be highly empathetic. This means you might be able to tune into the feelings of others with little effort. This can be to your detriment! You can feel flooded by the intense emotions experienced by people around you. Plus, you may feel their pain as though it is your own.

Relatedly, old souls are often introverts, as being around large groups for too long can be simply draining or overwhelming.

When you're alone, you're able to focus solely on your own feelings and desires, and this can be a huge relief.

Further Reading: What Are Empaths? 14 Empath Traits And Scientific Theories

6. Old Souls Are Great Listeners

Given the empathy, patience, and understanding that goes with being an old soul, it's perhaps unsurprising that such individuals tend to be great listeners.

If you're an old soul, you won't push your own agenda in conversations. Instead, you'll give your interlocutor your full attention, weighing their words very heavily and working to get a sense of their thoughts and feelings.

This often means that in spite of being an introvert, the friendships you have are very close and emotionally intimate.

However, it also puts you at risk of being used as a kind of counselor for other people, which can be tiring.

7. Eccentricity

As mentioned above, it's completely normal for old souls to have some trouble fitting into the world, and one of the reasons is that they tend to be thought of as eccentric. There are a couple of reasons for this.

Firstly, if you're an old soul then you probably act in entirely authentic ways, as the judgment of others doesn't concern you.

Secondly, your preferences or priorities might seem odd to those who aren't old souls. Although you are focused on the more meaningful things in life, people may think this means you are detached.

8. You Avoid Negativity At All Costs

Finally, old souls are partly defined by their refusal to engage with negativity. If this is one of your traits, you likely extricate yourself from toxic relationships with greater than average ease, drawn (and hold) clear boundaries with others, and avoid holding grudges.

In addition, you're likely good at seeing the beautiful and positive things the world has to offer. Maybe you consistently feel a sense of gratitude and wonder at the complexity and mystery of the universe.

These tendencies dispose of you to a peaceful, happy, and centered existence. However, in spite of this (as we’ll shortly discuss), old souls tend to encounter significant difficulties.

Why Do Old Souls Suffer?

Given all of their wisdom, why do old souls tend to suffer?

Here are some of the most significant reasons:

  • Feeling like people your age cannot relate to you, especially when you're young.
  • A sense of physical or emotional exhaustion. Repeated reincarnation could be the reason for this. Consequently, old souls may have a sense of carrying the baggage of a previous life.
  • Those who are used to your forgiving, balanced attitude can take you for granted.
  • Finding it easy to see underlying problems in other people's relationships and feeling frustrated that it's not always appropriate to intervene in the name of helping.
  • Accepting full responsibility for your life, which also comes with a greater possibility of shame, guilt, and regret.
  • Struggling to feel truly at home, sometimes due to having lived in multiple places that felt like home at different times.
  • Taking on other people's emotional baggage simply by being around them.
  • Sometimes finding it difficult to tell the difference between fear and genuine intuition that something is wrong.
  • Desiring solitude so much that it undermines your attempts to be close to others, or reduces the opportunities you have.
  • Being picked on as “different”, especially when you're a young child or working with adults who are less aware.
  • Working through karma from past lives, and therefore encountering more challenges than most.
  • Being viewed as a sage who should know the answer to everyone else's problems.
  • Painful awareness of your own limitations (as a result of having much greater than average self-awareness).
  • Knowing all that you could achieve and then berating yourself for falling short of the ideal.
  • Pushing yourself too hard and risking burnout.
  • Feeling everything more deeply, including painful emotions like sadness, fear, or anxiety.
  • Struggling to find a partner due to difficulty finding someone who understands you to the same extent that you understand others.

Old Soul And Their Life Purpose

When you’re an old soul, your life purpose can be more complex and harder to understand. This is partly because you've had many life purposes in the past.

Plus, some (if not most) of these may radically differ from your current job.

It is also partly because you're an inherently nuanced person who won't be satisfied with material gains. So, how do you find and follow your true life purpose?

Firstly, pay attention to the voice inside you that yearns to pursue something more than a stable, convenient job.

Consider what makes you feel passionate and excited. Plus, think about what helps you come out of your introverted shell and gives you a sense of being truly alive.

If you're not sure what this is, start making a list and look for overlapping themes and values. Even if you cannot pursue your passion as a central career, you can make it a central part of your life and derive much meaning and satisfaction from doing so.

Secondly, think about how you can spend time both growing and promoting growth in others.

This is a unique gift that old souls can give the world around them. For that reason, the caring fields (such as medicine and psychology), often attract many old souls.

Others focus on leadership positions in charities or creative expression that helps others understand the complexities of life.

Finally, it's also important to tap into that powerful intuition mentioned above.

If you have recurring dreams, experienced unexplained coincidences, or feel inexplicably drawn to something, take this seriously.

Old souls often have leftover goals and purposes from previous lives, and these may filter through in unexpected ways.

So, if you're an old soul who is struggling, take heart. You have many wonderful traits and talents! Through time and reflection, you can learn to live a life that is richer and more satisfying than that of the average person.

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Table Of Contents

Katherine Hurst
By Katherine Hurst
Katherine Hurst, is a Law of Attraction expert, best-selling author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on psychology, life design, structured thinking and emotional wellbeing.

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