The Biggest Mistake

Our sense of inadequacy, weakness and incompletion comes from the strong investment in the “scarcity principle” that governs the whole world of illusions. From that point of view, we seek in others what we feel is wanting in ourselves. We “love” another in order to get something ourselves. That, in fact, is what passes for love in the dream world. There can be no greater mistake than that, for love is incapable of asking for anything. –from the preface to A Course in Miracles

“Love is incapable of asking for anything.” In other words, love is not needy. Love does not need anything. Love is self-sufficient and only seeks to give of itself and thus increase joy. Love joins with love for the joy of joining. Love sees that giving is the same as receiving since we are all connected.

However, we have made a big mistake about what love is. We feel unworthy, so we seek external validation or affirmation. We call this external affirmation “love.” We do whatever we can to fill the emptiness in our hearts. We look for others who can convince us that we are worthy or good or valuable. We look for others who will do or say things that make us temporarily feel better, and we become “addicted” to these people. After a while, though, we begin to doubt that these other people are sincere about what they tell us. We again doubt that we are worthy or valuable or good. And sometimes these other people get tired of doing and saying things that fill our emptiness, and we leave them to look for others who can fill our “needs.”

Sometimes, two people can attempt to fill the emptiness of each other for a long period of time. However, such a relationship is built upon the maintenance of illusions, bargaining, and self-sacrifice. They maintain the illusion that they have needs, they bargain by trading actions or words, and they believe that they must partially sacrifice their own self-interest in order to get what they want. But this is not love.

Love does not know of pain, sacrifice, or bargaining. These things come from fear, not love. In this world, we are like bottomless pits of needs. Like babies, we think we have a continual need for physical, mental, and emotional support. In contrast with these pits of needs, our true nature is to be mountains of trust, confidence, and love. In reality, we have no needs. In order to return to our true nature, our thinking must be reversed, or turned inside-out. This thought reversal will come about when enough people give up judgment and try to overlook (or forgive) mistakes.

If love is not needy, what is love like? Real love must be experienced to be known, but a general outline of what love is, and is not, is given in Lesson 127 of the Workbook for Students in A Course in Miracles.