If you’ve earned a reputation for being “wise beyond your years,” you might be wondering what that actually means.
How wise should anyone be at your age, anyway?
But maybe you’ve also noticed you spend a lot of time alone. You don’t dislike people, but you like them better in small doses.
The good news? The feeling is often mutual.
Having an old soul isn’t the same as being tired of the world and of people in general.
But you are more conscious than most of the veil between your brief, earthly life and whatever lies beyond it.
But what else does it mean to have an old soul? And how do you know whether or not you have one?
What does it mean to have an old soul?
To clear up any questions you have, an old soul meaning (or “definition”) should take into account how you feel and act most of the time — especially when you’re not putting on a front to please someone else.
Maybe you haven’t always understood why you feel or act the way you do, but you have noticed it sets you apart from others.
It makes you feel like an alien. And you might never feel “at home” anywhere or anchored to any place on Earth.
Your anchors are the people you love most.
12 Signs You Are An Old Soul
1. You’ve felt alone and isolated in this world for as long as you can remember.
It’s not that you can’t connect with anyone, but you feel as though you’re not as much a part of your inner circle as the other members.
You could leave without being missed (or at least without causing any real suffering) — at least until you become a parent.
You wonder sometimes if someone put you in the wrong world, or if you’re stuck in a strange dream you can’t wake up from.
2. You walk your own path rather than following others.
You’re not much of a follower, but you’re not looking to lead anyone, either.
You let others go their own way without feeling the need to criticize them, and you go yours.
If anyone criticizes you for not moving in their direction, you can’t help wondering why they even care, when you care so little about what they do (as long as they’re not harming others).
You follow your own interests and your own gut, even when it means walking alone.
And as an old soul, alone is something you often are.
3. You seek knowledge, wisdom, and truth (more than venial pursuits)
You want to understand why you exist, and, if you have a destiny, what it is.
You want the full experience of existence, and that means learning as much as you can.
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And knowledge that leads to growth is more important to you than the kind of knowledge valued by those around you.
You might often be criticized for your ignorance of things you “should” know – as a citizen of your country or as someone in your position.
But you’re more interested in gaining knowledge and learning the truth of your existence, nature, and purpose.
4. You’re keenly aware of the transience of life.
Plenty of people say, “Life is short,” but you’re more aware than most of what that means.
You don’t use it as a license to do whatever you want; you see what it demands of you, and you feel compelled to live more fully and consciously with the hours you have.
You also see the consequences of your words and actions — and those of others — and you recognize the importance of your legacy.
You care about how your life and your actions affect others, so you work extra hard to atone for your mistakes while you still can.
5. You’re a big-picture thinker.
You don’t get caught up in petty squabbles, because you like to see the bigger picture.
As soon as you’re able, you take a step back to get the fullest possible understanding of the situation and the people involved.
And if you counter someone’s verbal attack, you’re more likely to use their own words against them.
It’s harder to hold grudges when you see the bigger picture of mistakes you and others have made — especially when there’s no malice on either side.
In spite of your disagreements, you want everyone to heal.
6. You spend a lot of time thinking and listening to others.
You might often feel at a loss for the right words to say to someone in pain, but you do know how to listen.
And when you’re not listening, you spend a lot of time thinking things over.
You might use writing to articulate your thoughts and make sense of them, or you might find it easier to talk things out.
In any case, you speak or write more to think and to learn than to share your opinions and viewpoints with the whole world.
You don’t mind exposing your ignorance as long as you keep learning. And you don’t need validation from others to keep the process going.
7. You’re a weirdo or a social misfit.
You don’t really fit into any group, though other misfits might adopt you as one of their own.
Even if you develop strong emotional bonds with others, you’re aware on a deeper level that you could lose them at any moment.
Your topics of interest, too, are more likely to alienate you from most, so you keep them to yourself — except when you’re around like-minded friends and family members.
8. You’re not materialistic, but you have a deep appreciation for beauty.
You don’t need to own expensive cars or have a palatial home, but you do appreciate beauty wherever you see it — whether it’s natural or man-made.
You might collect things that somehow represent the person you want to be and the gifts you want to develop.
You find it easier than most to let go of things, especially if it helps you secure a greater good.
Another person’s treasure trove might be pleasing to the eye, but you’re unlikely to feel envy or temptation.
After all, stuff takes up room — inside as well as out.
9. You tend to give people the benefit of the doubt
Put another way, you don’t jump to conclusions about people, though you might recognize and point out flaws in their reasoning.
You’re not a mind-reader, and you know it. You’re more likely to think of reasons for their behavior that stem from good intentions or human frailty.
You want to see the good in everyone — even those who’ve hurt you in the past.
You’re more likely to apologize for your part in an argument than to wait for the other to apologize for theirs.
You trust that eventually they’ll want to forgive, forget, and move on, just as you do.
10. You care less about appearances than about what’s going on behind them.
You’re less likely to notice what someone’s wearing than you are their body language and the expression on their face.
Whether someone does things the way you do them is of little importance to you.
Your own business keeps you busy enough, and you’re well aware you don’t know everything.
So, if someone else doesn’t parent or adult the way you do, you care more about how they’re doing than about whether or not you can persuade them to be more like you.
11. You value what others bring to the table.
You don’t assume you know best and expect others to follow along. You want to know others’ thoughts and ideas.
You encourage them to take initiative, develop their strengths, and explore new solutions.
You don’t see yourself as the leader everyone must obey but as a living, breathing, behind-the-scenes catalyst for the growth of your team members.
You don’t need to be seen as the smartest, the most morally upright, and “he/she who must be obeyed.”
And it doesn’t bother you that others don’t see you that way, either.
12. You can’t explain exactly why or how, but you feel “old.”
Maybe “world-weary” (or “wary”) is a better word for it, but you feel ancient in ways you can’t explain.
You wonder if maybe you’ve lived so many lives before this one you’ve actually seen it all.
Nothing really surprises you anymore. It might disappoint or appall you, sometimes.
And you’re still capable of enjoying the good in your life — maybe more than most.
While you’re alive, you want to grow and do as much good as possible. You have a deep appreciation for karma, recognizing the love behind it.
Are you an old soul?
Now that you have a better idea of what it means to have an old soul, only you can say just how deeply these signs resonate with you.
And if you don’t feel as though you’re quite there, yet, don’t you dare think that it makes you a lesser person.
Whether your soul is old, brand new, or somewhere in between, you’re alive to learn, grow, and do as much good as you can before the end.
Show yourself and others the compassion we all need because none of us gets to be an old soul without help.
May your gentle wisdom and thoughtfulness influence everything you do today.