Seeing yourself

By Paulo Coelho

‘When you look at your companions, try to see yourself,’ said the Japanese teacher Okakura Kakuso.

‘But isn’t that an awfully selfish attitude?’ asked a disciple. ‘If we are always concerned about ourselves, we will never see the good things that others have to offer.’

‘If only we did always see the good things in others,’ replied Kakuso. ‘But the truth is that when we look at another person, we are only looking for defects. We try to discover his wicked side because we want him to be worse than us. We never forgive him when he hurts us because we do not believe that we would ever be forgiven. We manage to wound him with harsh words, declaring that we are telling the truth, when all we are doing is trying to hide it from ourselves. We pretend that we are important so that no one else will see how fragile we are. That is why whenever you judge your brother, be aware that you are the one who is on trial.’

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  1. Sigma says:

    That was quite a truthful, yet undisclosed thought that all of us have!

  2. cdc says:

    That is so true. Even when you know it, you still like to have a “go” at it sometimes, that really annoys me because I know better.

  3. Anushree says:

    Strange, yet true.
    If only we can easily apply to our lives….

  4. wanbliska says:

    Of course Annie, I smile. I read you wanted to change other’s feeling.

    When we’re on the edge of anger, or such bad sensation, just let’s remember, the Whole is about to feel it.
    At this time, noone but ourselves could chenge Its dominion.

    Love U

  5. Agnieszka says:

    Oh dear Annie,

    You are so…welcome,

    It is so nice to hear that you’re better…
    whenether you need it, just say a word..
    I’m here…

    lots of love

  6. wanbliska says:

    Dear Annie,
    “it is difficult to transform this evil energy to a good one…”

    As you I find it difficult to transform it. So I don’t.
    But is it the point? Why wanting to change the energy of others in good one, if it hurts? Isn’t it a non-sense?

    Maybe it is to transform our own bad energy into good, to deserve one shield. To become a master of our reactions, baffling the other’s weapon.


  7. Julianne says:

    This really hit home with me.

    I treat my mom like crap all the time and have recently become aware (with the help of one of Paulo’s books) that when I criticize her, I am really trying to convince myself that I am not like her. When in fact, I am EXACTLY like her.

    It is a very difficult thing not to do. But it has helped me very much just being aware of it. Now to put a stop to my critical attitude!

  8. Maria says:

    Often the personality traits that irritate or annoy us about other people if we really reflect back and with full honesty to ourselves, we’ll find we possess them as well. In a sense people come into our life sometimes in a positive way, and other times in a very negative way, but always to teach us something about ourselves, if we are open to the lessons.

    On a different note also relating to the message, people always want to find fault in you when they can’t rise to your level. Prejudice is a form of self preservation. You have a pre-judgment regarding different “types” of people, because you fear that if you allow yourself to see every individual with an open mind and with no expectations of what the outcome would be you are leaving yourself open and vulnerable. That may be true. I’m not saying trust everyone, I’m saying trust yourself and your instincts.

  9. Svenja says:

    every companion pictures a part of our soul

  10. Tania says:

    I know we are all mirrors – that means the person I called a dickhead the other day is really me LOL oh well I suppose we know how to take our selves better than anyone else so I am ok with that Seriously yes everything is a reflection of some sort . Blessings Tania

  11. Agnieszka says:

    Dear Annie,

    I know that feeling, I know how much it hurts when people say stingy words, I know because I have moments like that myself.
    And you know what, it’s not going to change, because people did that, do that, and will do that.
    What we can change it is our attitude.
    I myself hurt less and less the more often it happens.
    Why? Maybe I am getting immune to that?
    But there’s more…
    If you try to let it go, when it happens, to not hold it inside too long, to not keep it in your head, just..try to tell yourself that God is watching, that God is here with you,
    cry for a moment or two and then forgive, and….forget. I know it is hard, and I know it will happen again, and I also know that you nor I will not change 100%, because we’re simply sensitive people, but…..
    you can, yes you can, with the help of this inner peace everybody has inside, with the help of this love that comes from God, and also knowing, that you’re not the only one, you….will get stronger with time.
    I do believe that, because I am.
    And also try also not to depend on others,
    try to be yourself, because you are an amazing person, who having this love inside, has……the love of God and that’s the most powerful tool of all!

    I wish you lots of strength!!!

    And remember that sun always shines after the thunderstorm.

    sending you love

  12. wanbliska says:

    Words are swords. Regardless we light around striving not to judge. Or not judging at all.

    Words have also been being a way thanks to which humans could say, what displeases to themselves, their family, their place… They did not always use wise ones. That is not an example to follow, anyway.

    Some words can hurt, but they are here to put us forward on the path. They can be like a candle, spite their inflexibility.

    Maybe I sometimes mess judging with rectifying. Our vision is subjective, ultimately…

    By now, music, words and images are the language I use. I love the Planet and Life, so I can’t really see, where I could be not in trial with.

    It happens that I judge certain persons, cause they are not, and they should be.

    The most possible, I’m able to quiet down my inner rebellion outside of me. But it’s still here inside. I know I owe it to the persons I judge, ofently. Gratitude is for them also. Or Alas, I don’t really know.
    Somedays I don’t thank them. Those days, I’m up to right their shoulder strapes up, as a parent would do.

    Forgive: I don’t know if I did forgive people that did me harm, or if I fool with myself.
    But I definitively wish Peace. And the best for all.


  13. Maria says:

    There have been very few people that have really affected me in a negative way. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get frustrated or annoyed by people often. It happens almost everyday. One thing I struggle with is patient. I don’t have much patience for pettiness and mediocrity, but for the most part the effect other people have of me is temporary and it doesn’t really have any permanent effect in my life. But in a couple of times it did affect me, probably because I was dealing with a boss, someone that could really effect my career and my future. I realized after the facts that those people’s intentions may have been to harm me, but I’m stronger than that. I was able to get out of the situation not only unharmed but in an even better position. But the lesson is why did these men entered into my life. I have found the answer. They were there to teach me something about myself. Something positive and something negative. On the negative side the trait that I hated most in them I found in myself, and seeing myself in this mirror I was able to work on that. On the positive side I learned that I’m stronger than I thought. I can’t change others, but I can change my attitude towards others, and ultimately change myself. If I stayed mad or stayed feeling victimized, they win and I’m left feeling powerless. If I turn the situation into a positive I win, I gain back my power. For my ex-boss I wished him no harm. I prayed he would leave his position and not do the same to anyone else I worked with and my prayers came true. A year after I transferred to a new department where I feel much happier, he retired.

  14. chehaw says:

    Dear Paulo and friends,

    This message moved me deeply. It’s ok to be wary of others’ intention, but not too wary. Or you’ll miss out on so much joy in life.

  15. Yajna says:

    Dearest Paulo and Friends

    Wow.. Intensely written, but very truthfull said. I don’t think i can say more- just that this really got to me.

    Thank you for being

  16. rainer says:

    Dear Paulo
    If the pupils are of the type mysterious man it is a very good procedure to teach them understanding themselves.

  17. Agnieszka says:

    There’s this saying:
    “do not do anything to others that you wouldn’t want them do to you”
    This could easily apply to judging, saying bad things, forgiving, etc..
    If you don’t want to be judged, do not judge, if you want to be forgiven, forgive.

    I’ve read something intriguing and scary at the same time:
    “for every one person you gossip about, three people are talking about you.”
    Who would want that?

    Giving love, we open our hearts to love.
    Giving smile, we light up our face with smile.

    same thing with negative thoughts…


  18. Mollena says:

    I use to only see the good in others. Then I discovered how naive I’d been. I think it’s always best to be weary of others intentions so you don’t end up getting hurt.:)