Are You an Old Soul or a Young Soul?

by Diana Rankin

For years I heard people talk about old souls and young souls and I didn’t pay much attention. What did it matter how old or young a soul was? Lately, however, with all that’s taking place in the U.S. and around the world, the question about old and young souls has been on my mind.

As I’ve contemplated the age of a soul and why it matters, I’ve come to better understand our human species. This understanding has not only given me greater knowledge of my life and chosen path but it has also given me more compassion for others. I hope it does the same for you.

What I’ve learned is that there are basically four stages of soul development and these stages correspond to four stages of human development. They are new souls = babies and toddlers; young souls = teenage and young adults; mature souls = adults; and old souls = seniors.

This is NOT a hierarchy. No soul is better than another. The same is true of human life. Adults are not better than toddlers; they have just been around longer and may know something a younger soul has not yet learned.

Also, there are NO evil souls. There are, however, evil acts, which may be committed out of ignorance. We must love the soul while at the same time holding the human responsible for the acts of evil just as we love our teenagers while also holding them responsible for their behavior.

Keep in mind that we all go through the stages of human development so we may see an old soul in a toddler’s human expression or a new soul in a senior citizen. Also, each stage of development is on a continuum so we see different phases of each stage of development. For example, a highly developed old soul will express differently than a newly developing old soul.

Here are the four stages of soul development and what I see as the general characteristics of each stage:

New souls = babies and toddlers: New souls are often charming and full of smiles yet the depth of emotion is shallow. Emotions need time to grow and emerge. New souls are all ego and inherently selfish, risk takers, and may not understand the consequences of their actions. They are often hurt and defensive and they have difficulty seeing the other’s point of view. They can be quite stubborn and may have explosive tempers.

Their gift to the world is their innocence and the ability to see beauty in everyone. Their challenge is to not let the world jade them and to allow their innocence to eventually mature into understanding and discernment as they grow into adults.

Young souls = teenage and young adult years: Young souls are often confused about the world around them. Caught in ego, emotions are raw and confusing and may be all over the place. They are often defensive and refuse to accept – or even hear – another’s opinion. They must be right at all costs. It is a time of exploring and developing the human nature. They are sensitive but it is not the sensitivity of the old soul. At this stage, the sensitivity is feeling the other is against them so they lash out or pull inwardly and shut down. Guidance is needed but often rejected or resented. Like new souls, young souls are inherently selfish, risk takers, and may not understand the consequences of their actions.

Their gift to the world is their energy. So much is new and exciting. Their challenge is to know there is a tomorrow and to use their energy constructively in their lives and in the world and to grow from selfishness to selflessness as they mature into adults.

Mature souls = adults: Mature souls are able to see the top of the mountain but are not yet able to see to the other side. Still ego based, there’s more climbing to take place. They have given up the teenage squabbles and are learning discernment, yet they are not yet aware of how their words and actions affect others. They are the doers who build steel bridges but not bridges among people.

Their gift to the world is that they are the brick and mortar that hold societies together; they do the work to keep life in movement. Their challenge is awareness, to open their eyes and hearts to see beyond their own small world into the greater world and the beauty of its diversity.

Old souls = seniors: Old souls are only about 20 percent of the population. These are the spiritual leaders, the bodhisattvas who walk away from Nirvana to return to human form to help others. These are the souls whose lives are devoted to being of service to others. The old souls among us help to raise the consciousness of all of us. Old souls have some of the most difficult lives. They have taken on the world’s deepest wounds to create patterns of healing for others to follow. As empaths, they need time alone but must be careful to not hide from the world.

Their gift to the world is the love they live through their thoughts, words, and actions. Their challenge is to shed the ego and live from the spiritual self and to remain deeply sensitive in an insensitive world and mature to where they are able to use their sensitivity to help others rather than against themselves.

Once we understand that people may be new to this planet and acting out of their highest knowledge, it’s easier to accept them even if we do not accept or understand their acts. Wherever we are – new soul, young soul, mature soul, or old soul – we are all doing our best. Hold us accountable for our acts and help us grow . . . and love us as a soul.


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