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When We Make People ‘Special’

When We Make People ‘Special’

As part of my personal Prescription for living a wholly healthy, balanced life, I have been studying A Course In Miracles (ACIM). I find that this Course helps me bolster both my spirituality and my relationships, and I know from the research I’m doing on my next book that spiritual connection and healthy relationships are both essential to a healthy body and healthy life.

As I study ACIM, I find that I often get stuck on one of the Course’s principles – the idea of “special relationships.”  My interpretation of the Course’s teaching was that we are all one and that nobody should get “special” status; that by devoting ourselves to those we single out as special, we separate ourselves from oneness with all other spiritual beings in this world.

I kept getting stuck on this, so I wrote a letter to A Course In Miracles teacher Tama Kieves, asking this question:

My Big Question

“I can easily stand on a stage in front of 3,000 people and feel like we’re all ONE. Like I feel ONENESS (capital ONE). Really, truly. I find myself releasing all sense of “me,” and I know I’m no better and no worse than anyone in my audience.  That feeling of connection nearly brings me to tears. And I feel that often.

But as I get older, I find that I’ve gotten more and more selective about the people I spend real time with.  I’ve gotten clear on which relationships lift me up, and I’ve released some relationships that sucked me dry. This has left me with a handful of very special relationships, those I value deeply and cherish like diamonds.

So as a student of the Course, how do we deal with our natural preferences when we are spiritual beings who prefer to spend time with one person over another? Is it not okay to have favorites? This keeps tripping me up and I’d love your feedback.”

Tama’s Answer

For me Special Relationships refers to relationships in which we try to “complete ourselves,” get something we don’t think we already have. Holy relationships come from a place of extension, a place of fullness and giving. Special relationships are relationships we think we need in order to be okay. They’re conditions we set, hoops we need to jump through. You can have a special relationship with your career, your health, your money.

That said, I don’t think that’s really your question. I think you’re asking if from an ACIM point of view, you can pick the people you love. I definitely think you can… and should. I think the reason we light up with some people is because Spirit is pointing us in that direction. The reason others drain us is that we are not meant to be around them. (That Spirit dude is cool that way.)

Of course, if everyone drains us, then we need to look at ourselves. Drained eyes see draining people. And sometimes we need to remain in a difficult relationship because it’s our boss or family member, and we can experience amazing healing in that situation.

ACIM teaches me to love unconditionally. That doesn’t mean I don’t set conditions on my time. My practice is to love equally, as in keep my heart open at all times and wish the highest journey for each individual. That doesn’t mean I don’t have preferences and make choices. The spiritual love is equal, the human love is not. I do not spend my time equally with all souls. I do not sleep with all souls. I do not eat with all souls.  I think my preferences are holy. I think I am designed to thrive, and I will follow my design and bless my design.

How Do You Feel About “Special” Relationships?

I thought Tama’s answer was too wise not to share. So what do you think? Do you make relationships “special?”

Especially yours,


Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and health care revolutionary. Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out on Twitter and Facebook.


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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at and also created two online communities - and She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


+ add your own
11:14AM PDT on May 29, 2012

God. I tried to read that book and it was dryer than a sawdust wafer...

9:52AM PDT on May 29, 2012

thanks for sharing.

11:45AM PDT on May 28, 2012

This was a good article, and I would like to here more if possible, especially the spiritual aspect.

9:09PM PDT on May 24, 2012

Another good thoughtful article. thanks.Lissa..I agree with Sam M.

6:08PM PDT on May 24, 2012

Enjoyed this article!

4:34PM PDT on May 24, 2012

good answer

1:24PM PDT on May 23, 2012

I'm with Nyack C. on this one. I'd add that as you get older you don't think of this attitude as spiritually immature but rather as common sense mature.

1:20PM PDT on May 23, 2012

thanks for sharing

12:25PM PDT on May 23, 2012

Thank you....

12:22PM PDT on May 23, 2012

it's hard to meet great people so when you do they are special and should be appreciated as such!! interesting article thanks!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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