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I have been studying the book A Course in Miracles and paying particular attention to the sections concerning “special relationships.” A special relationship is any relationship where you assess your value from what is outside of you rather than seeing yourself as whole and complete. The concepts of love are completely opposite to what I was taught, and they make me question whether or not I truly understand what real love is.

1. The body is not real

According to the definition in The Course in Miracles, we are all in a mass hallucination. As pre-mortal beings, we felt fear and by that act, the Earth was created. The Earth is not real, nor anything perceived is real because the only real things have always been and will not disappear in time. In essence, a person is an idea which can grow and expand and the body which wilts, and decays could never truly encompass who you are.

This was the first blow to my perception of love, I have believed in the past my ability to love someone stemmed from a person having a body presently or having had a body in the past. If you are your body, and your body disappears where am I to find love?

2. Attraction is based on the past

In order for me to be attracted to you, I must subconsciously recognize you from my past. I think you will be the one to recreate my past and then change the ending to the way I think it should be. I basically want you to destroy me like a past partner, and then I want you to restore me by recognizing how wrong you were to destroy me, and we will live happily ever after.

I instantly saw the validity of this statement because every relationship I have had in the past began when I felt strongly attracted to a person and then within a certain time I would start seeing how they were mistreating me just like all my past relationships. I always thought they were going to be the one to make me feel good constantly, and when they failed I was upset and moved on to find a new partner based on the past.

3. Desire to get somebody is not love

Desire starts from the premise that something is missing, whether it is money, food, or love. The whole point of A Course in Miracles is to teach that there is nothing missing and to seek within, seeking without will only bring limited amounts of satisfaction and will soon disappear in time.

This absolutely flies in the face of what I have learned about love throughout my life. I have been taught that if do not desire something, then there is something wrong with me. The only way I can be whole is to create a relationship with another person. I am still working on taking this teaching to heart, but I believe it will be worth it.

A Course In Miracles
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4. Love is not sacrifice

Anytime you feel you must be less of who you are to be in a relationship with someone then you are sacrificing. The meaning of sacrifice according to A Course in Miracles is anything action or thought, which builds resentment for another person.

I was thrown for a loop when I discovered this definition for sacrifice having been brought up to think that sacrificing for loved ones is the noblest act I can take, despite the seething resentment underneath. Anything I want to do willingly is not a sacrifice, but an act of real love.

5. Seeking for love is self loathing

When I look for a special relationship what I am really saying is I hate myself, but I want you to act as a barricade against my subconscious self-hatred. I expect you to know all the ways to build my self-esteem and never-ever give the privilege of your attention to anyone else.

I never looked at relationships this way before. I know I expected a partner to buoy my self-perception, but I thought if I was doing the same for the other person, then what harm is done? The harm happens when I come up with an imagined need like wanting flowers every Friday, and my partner happens to forget one time. I feel my self-hatred rise because I think I’m not lovable enough for my partner to remember the unspoken bargain we made for flowers every Friday, so they must not be “the one," and I start my hunt for someone else to be a barricade against my self-loathing.

6. Love is Freedom

If you love me, you must love everyone. If I make a person special then I am excluding everyone and everything else who might bring me love and wholeness, and I expect you to act according to my scripts and fantasies. If you fail to do, so I will make you feel guilty and afraid that you will lose me.

I had a really hard time with this concept because I was not able to separate how the body acts versus how the mind acts. One of my favorite descriptions of love in A Course in Miracles is full appreciation. I want my partner to appreciate everyone and not just me. If I think, you only appreciate me, then according to the course, I know you are lying.

7. My only purpose 

The only purpose for any relationship is to remind each other of the truth which is, you are innocent, loved, and complete.

I love the idea that I am already completely loved and whole right now, and my only purpose with another human is to let them be and occasionally remind them and in so doing, remind myself, we are innocent, loved, and complete.

A Course in Miracles is not a book for everyone because if you study the text, it will call into question everything you think you know about love and reality. Have you ever read a book which turned your world upside down? Please let me know in a comment.