Love or dream

By Paulo Coelho

When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. (The Alchemist, 1988)

Almost half of emails that I receive come from people that say that they had to renounce their dream for love. And then, some of my readers raise the question:

1- Parents who love their children want them to be happy, safe and to succeed, but even following a “common” path, success is never for sure and life is not safe.The fear of “loosing” makes many a man and woman not even trying to fight… How many single mothers aren’t there who have succeeded in spite of a week which seemed too full to fit anything else than work and children? Fear, not love. (Josephine)

2- If I must choose for doing a job or stay with the person I love. Definetly I choose the second one, because jobs we can find it all around but a person who spend your life with is not easy. (Maria)

3- I think love is an integral part of one’s dreams. If you have to give up your dream in order to find or keep love then I don’t believe that you have found true love. Love does not stop you from realizing your dream. (Davinia)

4- “There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the price of great pain… or so says the legend…”Can love make a person stay from his/her personal legend? NO – your soul will die – if you do. But the price one must pay. (Nini Rebecca)

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  1. aniux says:

    el amor y el sueño estan relacionados…. xq de que sirve amar, si no tienes el sueño de estar con esa persona x siempre…. o de que sirve soñar… si nunk amaras en tu vida. ia sea a tus amigos, a tu familia o a tu pareja, los sueños son utiles, pero sin amor nada es posible, el amor es el motor del universo….

  2. Sheryl says:

    Love encompasses everything. In dreaming there should be love and when we love we dream. We renounce our dream for another dream and the reason behind is LOVE.

    1. Suhail Gull says:

      love is ununderstandible.

  3. Tiru says:

    Love is a wonderful feeling of our heart.that feeling would be great.Dream also a wonderful feeling when you look at from your windows(eyes),visualize your dream the world is such a beautiful.
    Love and Dream both are great feelings.but when we dont have dream,just we should driven by oxygen.when you are in the process of accomplishing your dream love is the part of that process.if you enjoy that process,you are the person in this earth who filled with real joy and happiness.

  4. Rita says:

    “Not to pursue your dreams, is to conspire against God’s will and the God’s plans for you.”

    I wrote this following my experience. This is what I think and feel.

    I left a successful and financially rewarding position is Marketing to get back to my passion, painting. I dont know what the outcome of this shift will be, but I followed my instict. It tild me to leave my Marketing job and try to be what I always wanted to be, a painter.This is where my talent lies. This is how I came to feel and think about this sentence that I made up following this experience: “Not to pursue your dreams, is to conspire against God’s will and the God’s plans for you.”

    1. Perly Nuevo says:

      I really admire you, Ms Rita for following your heart! Painting is sharing your love to the universe, the very essence of life.

  5. Tejas Warrior says:

    I used to have dreams and then drugs came along and my dreams went away. I found love in nature and with my faith in God. I used to equate love with sex and many women, I thought that I could find love that way but I was wrong. Now I have been celibate for two years and I have love restored in my heart. Now Jesus and Mary are there for me. I have love in my heart, so much that I can not give enough. I try to reach out to strangers and my family and love unconditionally. Now my dreams have returned and I have love and soon I feel that the women that will share my love will soon come into my life and fulfill dream number one.

  6. […] Love or dream By Paulo Coelho When we love, we always strive to become better than we are…. […]

  7. Andrew,single Dad says:

    I am really surprised,how such material-orientated society can reach such esoterical tops))) Beenig in San-Antonio,more then 10 years ago,I opened that the peoples inner values is the same and Love is the Cosmic !

  8. Linda says:

    o In answer to Sandy Green.

    I understand your hurt and anguish. However, I can assure you that what is happening in your life is actually the growing and strengthening of who you are, and is a great opportunity to discovering just how much you love yourself, and re-assess where you are in your life journey.

    Don’t hold back, embrace the pain and hurt, then let go. You are so much more than just your husband’s wife. Continue to love him, but focus on your love of who you uniquely are.

    Read Paulo Coelho’s books, not to understanding why your husband has made these life choices, or what is going on in his head, but rather to awaken your own realization that YOU are on your own life’s journey.

    I am sure that you will learn so much from regaining your own power that one day you will look back and be grateful for what has happened and embrace it.

    I speak from experience. When it happened to me (found out on the day of my birthday), I was wise enough to realize that the Universe was giving me a gift! Things were not easy, my children were very young, but it opened my life, and that of my childrens to so much more that we would not change what happened, or have it any other way.

  9. jesy says:


  10. Marie-Christine says:

    Feeling is a call from the soul.
    It comes when you least expected.
    You did not ask for it.
    It just does.
    It is in motion. It keeps you in a permanent state of dreaming.
    You first get a glance of it, you brush it aside.
    The more you resist it, the stronger it gets.
    You don’t know how to handle it.
    You cannot but love it
    and hope the favor be returned.

  11. Anass Khayati says:

    all i know & all i want to know that love is the big part of our dremms if my words can help me Love is the principal dream to dream

    i so loved this words by Mr.Lenti Lentejas “Before LOVE, I was nothing. I did not know the meaning of happiness or pain before I met Love. ” so great…:)

  12. Zoila Gonçalves Diasz says:

    Só quem acha que ama entende o que é renuncia, resignaí§í£o, carinho e tambem desespero de ní£o saber se é amado pela outra pessoa.
    Será o amor é aquilo que sentimos, ou amar é ser egoista, ní£o se importar se é correspondido.
    Apesar de tudo isso ainda que amar é a melhor maneira de enfrentar as dificuldades desta vida maluca que vivemos.
    Por amem si mesmo, em primeiro lugar para depois amar os outros
    Com amor

  13. Amelina says:

    There can be a lot of things said about love and dreams. But the one thing that I have understood going through my life is that there’s no single explanation either for “real love” or for “real dreams” :) there’s just no right answer for everybody, these are things that are sometimes too individual to be understood by other people. They say it’s not love because of this and that and a person is ready to fight for it…they say this dream is too trivial and easy to get to be “a dream” but this small thing is just exactly what makes this person the happiest person in the world…

    My dreams are big…I love challenges…I feel happy breaking the boundaries and pursue my dreams. They say there’s no happiness without love…I was always unhappy in love and extremely successful in life due to my confidence and determination and working hard. And now I can say that I am so-so happy…cause I have a choice in life :) Nothing is easy but this is the best part about it…you appreciate it more. And as it was in “Alchemist” it’s not about the final destination, it’s about the experiences you get along your way. So hard to move forward, but so better you become. You should just have strength and strong belief (in good things, in love, in people, in this world no matter what) to rise again after you fall and get disappinted and shattered in your beliefs. But when you rise you will be so much stronger and better and more confident. :) It’s a choice of every person whether to stay home and have a peaceful nice life (which is great and completely understandable) or look for smth more in this life to challenge urself and thus to get to know yourself better and better.

    I have to admit one thing. Love is always with me…not to a man…but to people, to everybody for I deeply believe in sacred and light nature of people. Love to every day and every piece of universe. I strongly believe that the real happiness is meeting good people.
    I am happy to help people even now after they let me down so low for me to go through the worst. I forgive them…and I am sorry for them for they don’t know what real happiness is like…and…I am happy again :)) Thank you life for everything. People, don’t regret about anything in this life cause it’s in the past. Learn to be happy with what you have in life.

    I just want to say that I am very sorry for that woman whose husband misintepreted the great wisdoms of Coehlo’s books.

  14. Mili says:

    Creo q el amor sin sueños no es amor, el sueño y el amor son compartidos. Si se comparte tus sueños con la persona amada podrás encontar el verdadero amor.

  15. Emelyn Rozas says:

    That is very difficult, renouncing your dream for love. Aren’t you supposed to love yourself first?. If you’re happy with yourself and whoever you love and in return they love you back, don’t you find compromise?. To renounce your dreams for a person is sad, there are millions of other possible loves out there but your own dream……… there’s only one of those. To love yourself is not selfish, it is good to do that because it makes you improve and you become a happy person, therefore you can share that happiness with others. Otherwise your lost dreams will end up eating you and in the end who pays for it???………the one you gave it all up for, and that is very sad.

  16. Sandy Green says:

    (Sorry if I already sent this by accident.)
    My husband of 20 years has announced to me that he is having an affair with a younger woman in Mexico City and is leaving me to be with her. Paulo Coelho isn’t the only writer to say that pursuing your dreams is essential for happiness; however he is the writer whose writings my husband has read most in recent months.

    My husband says that this is his dream, and “I’m going to do this because it’s what I want, and having what I want is the most important thing.” I don’t mean to be flip; that is exactly the way he worded it.

    I think (hope) that he is misconstruing what Paulo and others mean to represent.

    Words can’t possibly express the profound love I feel for my husband, nor the profound pain and grief. My heart is breaking. I wish to be somehow delivered from this torment, for there is no other like it.

    I am grasping for answers here. Does Paulo mean to say that my husband should follow his dreams of love at the cost of tearing my heart apart?? I’m sure not, but I strive to understand.
    He is a great fan of Paulo Coella. When Paulo talks about pursuing your dreams, most specifically to have the love you want, I can hardly believe he meant for the reaches to be so devastating. Please help.
    Thank you, Sandy Green

  17. sabine says:

    I have always wondered, what is love? I notice it is always around us and i also notice many people still wonder and look for love and something to fullfill their lives with but they dont look around them, they’re not aware of it. This makes me sad, because it’s as if these people are walking blindfolded, but at least there are those who realize this to tell them.

    I understand what is love, yet i cannot explain it and somehow i don’t know what it is. Somehow i feel a bit afraid when i think of love, the many possible obstacles between me and the person i love, the possabilities of inevitable pain, of failure. But when im with him all these worries go away, when im doing something i love all worries go away, everything seems to shine when i let myself off any possible fear.

    So we must brake off from any fear possible, it’s trully our only obstacle. We must also understand that what must end, will end. But what will be, it will always be, not matter what. We just have to always follow our heart, and believe that that person will wait for us no matter what, if not, then it wasn’t simply meant to be. Because true love will stand on its own and nothing will be able to brake it.

  18. tinneetintin says:

    Love should make one happy not suffer. If it hinders you from your dream, I bet it’s not love it is something else. Pride blinds everyone from admitting the fact that they are experiencing something else not love. Fear of being alone is usually what makes you stay in a relationship.

    I have found love in my sketchpad and in my pencil. They aren’t even living things. People would conclude that they are incapable of loving. But I had. My art is not yet perfected but the joy I get when I draw is incomparable. I enjoy the stages of drawing and when I get to finish it… I see my hardwork and I fall in love more with my sketchpad and pencil. The language that all the world speaks. I have discovered that. It is love. Because love simply is.

  19. jonr says:

    People call many things by the name of love: need, release from anxiety, abandonment to hormones, desire for validation, fear of loneliness, distraction from facing their inner being, the Quixotic quest for an ultimate answer, fulfillment of the life mission, on and on. There is but one true love, the all-pervading essence of God that dwells within the All, the One. Those who go beyond their story of ‘my’ life and awaken to the Infinite no longer seek love or separate “love” and “my dream”. They awaken to Spirit – the eternal dream which is eternal Love.

  20. elizabeth says:

    I have loved and I have dreamt. I have dremt of love. Now I recognize I have always had love, in me, around me, returning to me…but sometimes I forget.

  21. Jananie says:

    I do believe that everything in life comes with a price tag. If you are not willing to pay the price, then maybe you don’t really want / deserve your dream.. If a diamond refuses to be cut and polished it will nvr shine.
    It must have been hard on Santi to leave his love behind to continue his journey. If he burnt his dreams to stay on with her..then he might spend the rest of his life with regret that festers and eventually seeps into their relationship. I liked it when the book explained it as a test to find if she was just a ‘passing light ‘ in his life. If she is the sun that nvr leaves him that is TRUE love..and if not then..its better luck next time with somebody else who would nvr hold you back.

    i always notice this with asian women ( asian women maybe because i am asian..lived in asia all my life) who are expected to ‘sacrifice’ career opportunities etc for the progress of spouse/children etc. and then i wonder how they live and with lifetime of regret after that… regret that they even fear acknowledging because they might be ‘criticized’ If that s what it takes to have ‘love’ ..I am not sure I want it.

    I think Bill Cosby sums it up well when we said ‘love is like luck..either you have it..or you don’t’

  22. mike says:

    i read “the alchemist” when i was 12 now im 17 and so much ideas and perspective have developed. i believe freedom is the ability to challenge yourself far beyond the constraints of traditional rule and order. We draw strength from our passions we’re driven by desire. people believe love means finding that soul mate so they wont become lonely. how can one be lonely when there are billions of people alive on this planet some working hard towards their dreams and fulfilling a purpose in life. love is part of that purpose and many other life values are part of that purpose. like Santiago he learn many values on his journey. your dream only presents its opportunity to u once take it or someone else will. love is not suppose to stop u its suppose to drive your passion to your dream. people will find love along the way and it will help you achieve that dream so you can say “i did something extraordinary with my life and i am satisfied” and you can thank the person who loved you because they let you do the right thing. or you can die ans say i wish this and this and that and that. shouldnt let the person you love or the person that loves you stop you because i dont know what kinda love that would be if “love” is holdin you back then thats not love it is bullsh*t. you dont need to sacrifice love for your dreams and you dont need to sacrifice your dreams for love. you just need to let go everything that is holding you back.

  23. Angela EzMe says:

    In my opinion, one cannot fully dream unless one has loved-. But once, one has loved, they have to turn their back to that love in order to follow their dream.

  24. Before LOVE, I was nothing. I did not know the meaning of happiness or pain before I met Love. I was rumming in circles just to stand still. I had it all money, wine and women but I gave it up to be with the person that gave my life meaning. Now loving is the only reason I wake up in the morning and the only reason I am still alive.

  25. Amelia says:

    In my opinion, love and dream are related to each other. it happens unconsciously. to love and to be loved are one of the basic instincts that all human on earth desires. i believe, that everyone in this world has the dream to love and to be loved. its true. nothing can ever change that.the love is not only those from a relationship of a couple, but also families, friends, lovers, etc. those who say dun need or dun believe in love are totally LIARS. coz we all need it.