Christina Renée Joubert is the author of the new book When Soulmates Unite: Learning to Love Ourselves from the People Who Can Hurt Us the Most. She lives in Redondo Beach, California.
Q: Why did you decide to write this book, and what do you feel you learned from writing it?
A: There was a burning need in me to heal. When I started the journey in 2012, trying to figure out what was wrong with me, I was afraid of being vulnerable, losing love, being shamed. It became a quest to allow myself to be vulnerable. As I wrote it, I no longer needed to hide from the truth. I as beginning to love who I was, an announcing it to myself, and [to others] as they read it.
I knew my whole life I was going to write a book. I thought it would be something big. I didn’t realize I had been living life going through journeys of pain to find the words to write the book. I wrote the book so I could keep healing and allowing myself to be vulnerable.
Q: Can you say more about what you learned from it?
A: That I’m stronger than I think I am. That I’m fallible, and still have areas that need to heal. That we can have big bold dreams. That we can become whoever we want to be. To see myself as I went through the five-year journey, I see the mother I am today compared to five years ago.
[It would not be responsible] to not share with others…We all have such journeys. I want to be a beacon of light.
Q: How would you define a soulmate?
A: It’s very different from the way Hollywood defines it. My definition of a soulmate is anybody who inspires anything within us that’s strong and profound. It could be anger, pain, rage, joy, love. It invites us to step deeper into our life. It could be your worst boss or your best friend.
What’s so cool is the real purpose of a soulmate is to help us grow. Often we dismiss a person—if you were my soulmate, you wouldn’t hurt me. But it’s a matter of the soul—the soul is here to grow and to live. When we change our perspective, then gratitude can flow into our lives.
Q: Looking at the subtitle of the book, what is the relationship between loving yourself and learning from those who can hurt you the most?
A: In the book, step one is learning to love yourself, and step two is treating yourself as worthy of being loved. It’s being able to accept the pain that certain people bring into our lives, and allowing the pain to guide us. The pain is like a flashlight, guiding us and showing us where our wounds are. Without it, you wouldn’t know where the pain is.
Soulmates are offering us journeys and opportunities to step closer into that pain. When it arrives, we can be able to recognize it. The other day, one of the folks I write about in the book popped back in, and said a bunch of things that triggered [other] things.
I did the most loving thing I could, which was to allow him to have his pain, but I recognized [the trigger and was able] to sit with that, lay down with that, and be able to let it go. You don’t have to rescue anybody, you haven’t done anything wrong.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from your story?
A: I hope when people read it, that they take away the opportunity to recognize there are different ways to view the experience of life, that they are able to recognize that everybody who walks into our life was brought forward to be able to help us heal…It’s okay to be vulnerable.
I read through the book two months ago. I hadn’t gone back start to finish. I was on a plane with my son, and he was busy, and I got to almost the end, and thought, Oh, no, I need to change the whole last part! It felt so important when I was writing it, but I felt a wave of insecurity wash over me. I said, Wait! The purpose was to show that you’re vulnerable…it’s okay to have taken people along on the journey. And when you write book two, you can fill it in.
That sharing of vulnerability, as I’ve gotten feedback, people are not [only] reading my words and my journey, they’re feeling their own. We can’t get to love until we get to vulnerability.
Q: So are you working on the second book?
A: I am! My purpose is to share this journey….how do we stand in our own light and not apologize for it?
Another part of it is learning to love from those who hate. A soulmate entered my life who is covered with swastika tattoos. This was after the Charlottesville incident. I went to a convention on Charlottesville and vulnerability. I knew we were going to heal our own wounds and help heal [others].
I invited him to do a video—he was sharing information with me. I asked why people hate, and he said, because we’re afraid. It was an extraordinary conversation. There’s a video on my website.
Another element of book two is bringing that in. Had I not worked on myself, I would have been afraid of him…but I knew nothing he could say would make me feel less than the woman I am. I wanted to step into the divide. He is one of my best friends [from] the sharing of rawness of pain and hate…
Q: Anything else we should know about When Soulmates Unite?
A: The first half of the book is a woman full of wisdom reflecting back on life. The second half is a woman deep in the middle trying to treat herself as someone worthy of being loved.
That’s important for people to understand. There wasn’t a plot when I started it. I had hundreds of pieces of paper on the floor, and I started picking them up and putting them in order. It is different. I hope it helps people expand.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb