The Special Relationship and the Holy Relationship

The special relationships of the world are destructive, selfish, and childishly egocentric. Yet, if given to the Holy Spirit, these relationships can become the holiest things on earth—the miracles that point the way to the return to Heaven.
—Preface to A Course in Miracles

Every heart broken by conflict in a special relationship or by the ending of a special relationship is yet another lesson that special relationships will never bring us happiness. Special relationships are formed to prove to ourselves that we are special and better than others and that we deserve the special love of a special person. However, “special love” is a contradiction in terms. When we attempt to limit love to only ourselves, we attempt to limit what is by definition infinite and universal. The only way to find happiness from love is to let love be what it is, that is, infinite and free. Each special relationship is formed because we feel guilty. The guilt that we feel is unbearable and makes us feel inferior, undeserving, and unwanted. To overcome this feeling of inferiority, we “trick” another person into forming a special, exclusive relationship with us. We attempt to replace our own self with this other, better, special, worshipped self. Then we feel guiltier because we feel that our own self can give nothing of worth to the other person in return.

The way to convert a special relationship into a holy relationship is to be willing to forgive ourselves and others and to let love be itself. When we realize, if only for an instant, that we are not guilty, we can allow our love for one person be transferred to love for the whole universe and everything in it. What began with a foundation of guilt can come to have a foundation of faith. Love, in heaven, means union, and only minds can be united, not bodies. Bodies are a way to perceive the world, and what we perceive is what we decide to perceive in our mind. If we decide to perceive fear, a fearful vision is what we see. If our eyes are blessed with cleansed perception, however, we can see the world through new eyes that bless everything we see. This new perception is still not knowledge, but our new perception is an invitation for God to take the final step in our return to him, to knowledge, love, peace, and joy.

If we suffer as a result of a special relationship gone wrong, we need not despair. It takes only a change in perception to transform the relationship. The other person doesn’t need to be physically near, or even need to agree with our change of mind about the relationship. Each change in perception about the world, ourselves, and other people brings the whole world closer to awakening. And when the world awakens, real love will become easier both to receive and to give, guilt will removed by our forgiveness, and our holy relationships will fill the universe with joy.