Have You Been Called An Old Soul? Here’s What That Really Means by Sarah Regan

Is it a good thing to be an old soul?

It’s usually a compliment to be referred to as an old soul, as it implies grace and wisdom. But there can be downsides to being mature beyond your years. As Merzon explains, “No one enjoys being a newbie, but in fact, the benefit of being a new soul is that they carry around a lot less karma.”

She adds that old souls come into this life with an agenda to experience and complete karma, while new souls “want to make form out of light,” and “experience what it’s like to be a being in a body.” As such, the new souls’ experience is a bit more lighthearted, where being an old soul can feel heavy. But in addition to that, because the old soul comes to this life with more experience and understanding, they’re able to handle obstacles and challenges with greater clarity.

And going back to Brailsford’s point, it comes down to what the new versus old soul is experiencing in this life. A new soul “wants to be fresh and new and maybe have a more hedonistic lifestyle,” while an old soul “wants to go into the depths and learn.” Old souls may also feel somewhat isolated, as they can see through much of the illusion and separation in modern culture.

11 characteristics of old souls:

1. You have an inquisitive, curious mind.

Old souls very much prioritize truth and wisdom. As such, they often have curious minds about what’s happening in the world and internally “but not in a superficial way,” Brailsford notes. “Whether it’s world events or your relationship with a family member or friend, it’s the idea of being curious about what’s emerging and what one might learn or cultivate through the experience,” she explains.

2. You can see the big picture.

If you’re an old soul, you’re likely able to see beyond appearances, Brailsford says. You’re probably able to let things roll off your back easier, and you’re less likely to be triggered by certain things. “I’m not saying on a day-to-day basis you’re not human and don’t get angry,” she adds, “but overall, you’re able to step back and see the bigger picture, whether immediately or a little later, and have a sense of what it was all about.”

3. You may feel like a bit of an outsider.

According to Merzon, being an old soul can make it difficult to form meaningful connections, at least when you’re young. “If you’re an old soul and are still chronologically young, it might take a while to find your tribe,” she says. And as Brailsford adds, “They might feel like an outlier, and they may initially feel that they’re alone in this.”

4. …but you know your fellow old souls when you meet them.

While it can be difficult to get along with everyone when you’re an old soul, Brailsford is quick to note that in the long run, old souls are actually good at finding their fellow kindred spirits. “A true old soul realizes they can’t be the only one. Old souls are looking out for one another, they’re trying to find one another, so they’re trying to make that connection because they realize there’s a connection to be had.” This is where you see those instantaneous soul connections that run very deep.

5. You feel deeply connected to everything.

Not only do old souls feel deeply connected to God, spirit, the universe—whatever it is they call it—but they also feel that with nature, the people in their lives, and even strangers. “An old soul has a sense of connection to the universe and therefore to other souls,” Brailsford says, adding, “We probably have that connection to everyone, but maybe it doesn’t show up in this lifetime.”

6. You go against the status quo.

Because old souls can see the big picture and beyond many of the basic structures that govern our reality, they like to do things their own way. “Old souls are rebellious,” Brailsford notes. “They don’t just think outside of the box—they intuit that the boxes don’t even exist […] There’s a skepticism, a sense of understanding that everything they’ve been shown isn’t necessarily the case, and they’re going to seek to find their own truth.”

7. You’re wise beyond your years.

From an early age, you may have been told you’re wise beyond your years. Perhaps you’ve always felt you were more mature or understanding than your peers, especially when you were young. As Merzon explains it, “There is a knowing that they have been around the block before. You may recognize an ‘old soul’ even in a newborn. Their spirit’s wisdom is written over their entire body.”

8. You’re not materialistic.

One of those basic structures that we touched on previously would be materialism. Simply put, old souls are not concerned with it. They have a sense that “we’re living in this material world but there’s something more important, and perhaps the things we’ve been taught in school, or by our parents, or society, aren’t necessarily true,” Brailsford says.

9. Your inner world is more important than the outer.

Not to say you don’t care about the outer world, but for old souls, their inner growth, journey, and relationship to themselves and spirit are often of utmost importance. “The soul is inside, and it’s about going within,” Brailsford notes. You probably spend good amounts of time in reflection, deeply pondering your experiences and life lessons.

10. You have a particular gift from the past.

Were you always inclined to the violin for seemingly no reason? Or maybe you have a proclivity for baking, even though you never baked with anyone in your family. “Having a particular gift, in a particular field out of the blue, whether it’s an instrument or career or even place,” Brailsford says, is a sign of an old soul. “There’s this sense of having a knowing about that thing, that you’ve done this before.”

11. You often need to recharge.

And lastly, these deeply contemplative folks often need to “reset their batteries,” so to speak. “They’re probably drawn to meditation and solitude,” Brailsford notes. “It’s not that they don’t enjoy people’s company, but they know there are certain times they have to go within. They’re not living just an external life.”

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