Inner struggles

I am always struggling with myself, but I am very optimistic in this sense.
People are realizing more and more that happiness is freedom, and freedom is to be able to “travel light”, not possessing a lot of things, because at the end of the day, the things start to possess you.
I remember that I considered to buy a castle here in France: I went to see some.
One day I realized that if I buy a castle, I cannot think about anything but taking care of it. Therefore, I bought a small watermill, so to keep it is very easy, and I have time to go to the mountains, to walk, do spend my life in the way that I would like. In short: the less you have to keep, the more you have in freedom.

If I look back at my life I see many occasions where society tried to make me conform to “normality”. This resulted in three hospitalizations in an asylum when I was a teenager (which I describe in my book Veronika decides to die), torture when I was a young adult by the hands of the paramilitaries, and many defeats.
You could look at these experiences and say “Paulo’s life is tragic” but I don’t see it that way.
What I do see is someone trying to remain true to oneself. Yes there is a price but I believe that life tends to be very generous to those that are brave enough to take these risks.
In a word, I’ve always had faith in life, even when I thought “God forgot me”.
Be happy with your contradictions.


  1. Colette Brownell says:

    They did the same to me, Paulo. Reading Veronika Decides to Die was a turning point in my life. Muito Obrigada

  2. hymasri says:

    i like u sooo much your quotations are amazing paulo

  3. Miriam says:

    Faith how I relate to your comment. Faith has always been my path, beside me even through the darkest hour. Though the death of my son has changed me forever; faith still accompanies me.

  4. Reshmi sensarma says:

    Truly amazing.every heart flz like dis in life.n al such souls who follw u gt thr freedm bk agn once thy read nythng u write.u r blessd.wish cud meet u once in dis life.

  5. farve says:

    i like it paulo. u r right

  6. sidra says:

    a star*

  7. sidra says:

    wondering if i could agree a thousand times!! u are a atar paulo.

  8. Christina Dietzel says:

    I think everyone needs these personal experiences and life stages to become exactly what he can do it consciously and deliberately wants to be. Without these experiences remain safe from the decisions and thinking about themselves. As it is, it is the right place!
    I like their kind of, writing, very, thank you!
    (Ich denke, jeder Einzelne braucht diese eigenen Erfahrungen und Lebensabschnitte um genau das zu werden was er dann bewusst schaffen kann und bewusst sein möchte. Ohne diese Erfahrungen bleiben sicher die Entscheidungen aus und das Nachdenken über sich. So wie es ist ist es genau richtig!
    Ich mag ihre Art des schreibens sehr, vielen Dank!)

  9. Diana says:

    Nothing is tragic, it’s the way you deal with it.
    Thank you for sharing your way!


  10. Sussanna Klas says:

    Dear Paolo,
    A long time I would like to know you for real, and I know we will meet some day. That day my path will be completed…
    All your books helps me to survive every day, my struggles are happening all my life. All the time I fight against them, and at the end it is better to take it for learning and understanding that this life is struggeling, hoping that intensity will stops trough the years…. Hope that you are giving me with your notes – THANK YOU VERY MUCH… It keeps me still alive…
    Best wishes from Slovenia,

  11. zara says:

    I do not agree with the thought of “God forgot me” but I think it in the sense that I forgot myself. I need to restore myself. I need to sit and think what is wrong with me and this keeps me going. It is we who forget ourselves and lose hope and confidence for what we are and what we can do. Lets be happy with our contradictions.

  12. Segah says:

    Respect from Africa!!!

  13. nothingilistic says:

    Inner struggle is whatvwe are here for
    Resolution of issues ,our beliefs,good and bad,this is our job
    Flexibility ,what needs to be done ,do that!
    who am i?the real question lies in what we are not

  14. Sanet says:

    Be happy with your contradictions…..I think that is the core of it. You explained me in that short sentence and made me think about my stuff and that I must embrace my ‘contradictions’ rather than try and change me….mmmm very thought provoking. Thank you!!

  15. Kirsty says:

    Be thankful for my contradictions…i’m thankful to you for reminding me that my incessant internal conflict (how to live both independently AND be a part of community, to be free AND belong, to desire adventure AND security…) is what makes me unique, and my life honest. Thank you.

  16. Anniks says:

    We are all an own PUZZLE. Every piece is necessary and the puzzle is not finished until it is finished.

  17. Yaracuba says:

    I guess is no surprise to see that you were in a psiquiatric facilities. I always ‘sensed’ that you understood the nuances of life. There’s a lot of people that go through life without really ‘getting’ the meaning of it. I was diagnosed with bipolar ‘disorder’ back in 1991. I must admit I have been down to hell and have floated in heaven. I would not changed a single moment. However, I think that like you, I need to start getting rid of stuff. I am going to start with all those red shoes.

  18. Guulo says:

    There is little to say, but everytime i read your writing i feel more at peace. What a beautiful gift.

  19. Raadhika says:

    I feel exactly the same way…..that in being true to who i am, God forgot me.

  20. Acharya chhabi ca says:

    Your statements are all inspiring! We want more on facebook.

    1. Acharya chhabi ca says:

      Of course, undoubtedly!

  21. Jamie says:

    I find it so exhausting
    to discover that the biggest battle I have is with myself.
    But with this ability, this thinking, functioning mind, I must accept its confusion, its contradiction. Embracing the pain, allowing it to be real, that is something that rips apart the threads of my soul. But with the loose ends, I am relieved. Relieved to be broken, still, limp.
    Threading the pieces back together again, I do the best that I can to be strong enough for the next time I tear through my heart.

  22. Mandar says:

    So true.
    Till I read this, I have been living my life in exact same manner. But Paulo you gave the best of the expressions to this.
    Will feel more confidant after this and will be firm to live on that way!

  23. I Love you Paulo, your writing has inspired me so many times.
    Thank you for the gift that you give to us all. And yes I agree with you that happiness is freedom from possessions. But more and more I realize that happiness lies in the ability to sit still and enjoy the moment, to be fully present.

  24. Joyce says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Thank you for always encouraging us that the struggles are only but a momentary thing, and that with faith and purpose, we can rise above them. Thank you Paulo. Of course it is difficult, but remember also the words of the serenity prayer that says: “to accept the things I cannot change and courage to change the things I can”.

  25. Cinthya says:

    In hard situations try to be calm is the best, We have more than one think to be happy, just look around many people need you, I love your opinions Paulo Coelho.

  26. jackienoriega says:

    ssiempre estamos en constante aprendizaje y eso cuesta tiempo y a veces decepciones lo importannte es ser positivo y tener fe como tu mismo lo escribes paulo siempre hay que luchar y seguir adelante si una luz se apaga otra encuentras encendida en el camino te agradezco que nos expongas tu vida pues sirve de ejemplo para aquellos con un pequeño tropiezo se quedan estancados en la vida , luchemos dia a dí¬a y encontraremos los frutos de lo que sembremos en el camino

  27. kaya says:

    real talk, it was something i needed to read, at this moment..thank you paulo!

  28. Jamie says:

    Thank you once again for words that remember who I am. Recently almost allowed someone to convince me that I have life all wrong. This was sending me into adobe ward spiral. Today as I sat in front of my alter chanting for peace in my heart I received an alert on my phone and it was this reading. Another reminder that I know who I am. In gratitude dear Paulo!!!!

  29. Angel Mancia says:

    So true. It was thanks to the Alchemist I decided to go on my very first trip (took my 8 year old for two months to China) (needless to say it was amazing) and learned thanks to mister Coelho to not only travel light but to live light…it is an awesome feeling.

  30. Kaisa says:

    I also struggle with myself and have come to the same conclusion. Travelling light is good for the soul. You’re absolutely right that the society tries to make us confirm to normality. Sometimes we stand to loose ‘everything’ when we are true to ourselves, only to come to realise that everything was really not much at all. Maybe that’s what it’s all about. That what we consider everything, in reality is nothing. And that nothing is everything.

    God bless you Paulo.

  31. Paula Faria says:

    Dear Paulo,
    You make me think that I’m probably normal!!!

  32. JOANNA MARIE says:

    nag-iiba ang meaning ng words basta si paulo and sumulat

  33. Jossie M says:

    Dear Paulo
    Found the alchemist book a year after my husband and friends were killed by a drunk driver who then was killed himself. There was no justice and not a way through my grief. I was left with a baby and toddler. I found my way back and alongside starting a charity and lobbying for law changes in my country.

    So many lines from your book inspired me, my children inspired me to smile again. For a moment I thought God forgot me, I now realise he gave me new eyes. thank you for your writing and inspiration always. x

  34. Sana says:

    ….unless you are someone likes me that no matter how much hard work it will be if I first want that castle I will make sure I get it no matter how much I sweat or bleed over it.

  35. Amy says:

    What a wonderful post, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us. I feel the same way. I’ve had hardships in my life, lost of loss, but I think it makes you humble somehow. I find that the loss I have faced in my life make me very loving towards other people. And the older I get the less stuff I want. More stuff causes more worry I think.

  36. Antonio Mancini says:

    ogni volta che mi accade qualche cosa di brutto so che subito dopo qualcosa di bello mi accadrí , sapete quale è il segreto? io penso che quando sei in difficoltí 
    la tua energia è aperta e allora ti accorgi ma questo capita spesso siamo noi che evitiamo il dolore e ci sabotiamo per non provare la felicití . Sono convinta che le nostre paure non ci fanno vivere a pieno la vita ,l’unica paura che l’essere umano deve temere è la morte che mette fine a tutti i bei tumulti della vita.
    Paulo viva la vita.

  37. Wanderlaini Aparecida Rodrigues says:

    Ní£o é fácil se manter fiel ao que queremos realizar, e com certeza haverá um preí§o. É preciso muito esforí§o e coragem para continuar e acreditar.

  38. Ollin Morales says:

    Thank you Paulo.

    Sometimes it can be easy to think: “God forgot me” especially when you are trying to be true to yourself and things don’t work the way you would like.

    This post has restored my faith and I shall keep going! Thank you!


    1. Sana says:

      God didn’t forget you, you forgot God….

  39. Chental Wilson says:

    Paulo I love how you are always hubble about your learning, me too, i dont think we will ever stop, we just move through different levels. I too have had the courage to step into all of me, i made it my quest to see if i could do it and remain in my relationship, that was a tough one but so far so good, thankyou for your writing, I am about to release my book Can I Be Me Without Losing You, I hope to contact you for a recomendation as many of your quotes and writing are noted in my book I hope that is ok I have noted your book title and where they can be found. My first book of yours was The Alchemist i read this while touring morrocco on a motorcylce, fabulous. My own journey took me to my truth and I used truth to steer my way.

    1. Proud Believer says:

      very interesting!

  40. Alexandra says:

    This is the best thing, to see life and things in general in a positive way. I’ve also followed you on Twitter and I must say that you do tweet many inspirational things. You’re a great writer but most of all, you’re a great human being. Wish you all the best! God bless you!

    1. Proud Believer says:

      I believe so too…. Paulo….. stay blessed…..:)

  41. Marie-Christine says:

    I know about mental illness. You can overcome it.
    it ‘s about the only thing I know.
    With love

  42. Yan says:

    chinese translation:



    人们越来越多地认识到”快乐既是自由”ï¼Œè€Œè‡ªç”±å°±æ˜¯èƒ½”轻装上阵”ï¼Œæ— éœ€å æœ‰å¤ªå¤šã€‚否则到了最后,这些事物会开始占有你。







  43. Rishabh Bhasin says:

    So beautifully written, that’s why you’re my favourite writer. Love you Paulo

  44. merce says:

    Rioting student graffiti in Paris, “We demand the right to contradict ourselves.” :)

  45. I couldn’t agree more! I once had more rooms filled with more stuff than I could have ever used. When my husband (suddenly, at the age of 46) died, it meant nothing any more. I sold it all, and for the next five years lived out of two suitcases… even that seemed like too much at times.

    I now have my castle, but it is in the air, and everything that happens (good, bad, and in between) are the needed and appreciated building blocks of the foundation that keeps my castle strong and true.

    I’m sure your watermill is beautiful! Thank you for sharing Paulo, Genevieve

    1. Gabriela Salgado says:

      OMG!!!! I admire you because I can feel what are saying and you are reall living….you are very wise and I believe HAPPY too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. kevinm says:

      Love your line “I now have my castle, but it is in the air..”
      thank you for sharing

    3. Proud Believer says:

      God gives such jolts to people who are special to him for making them better humans to deserve heaven with their own positiveness & gratitude

    4. Thank you Paulo for the opportunity to connect with so many people I otherwise would not meet.
      I am truly happy Gabriela! At times the lessons seem unbearably painful, but they in turn make the joy possible.
      By having my Castle in the air Kevin… I am always looking upward and can watch the birds flying around… I love the birds!
      I agree Proud Believer! Sometimes I (wrongly) think God is punishing me, but than I (fortunately) realize it is the complete opposite!

  46. adry says:


  47. Vits says:

    ” Be Happy with your Contradictions ” Paulo it may be easy with enlightened person like you but for us its biggest ” Inner Struggle “….what you say friends ? Its something like Love and Pain seem to go with each other ( as usually seen )…but still remaining Happy with this Pain is real ” Inner Struggle”…The Ultimate thing in life is you have to Remain and Be Happy despite of whatever the conditions are… Bravo Paulo we want to be like U…..

  48. Elena says:

    It’s incredible how men’s pride in what they have created has made them gradually forget that there is a wisdom and experience much greater than their own… By surrounding ourselves with things of our own production (often so imperfect and often bringing along detrimental side-effects that override the original intended benefit) we more and more separate ourselves from God’s creation and then wonder why all of a sudden there is a sense of void in our lives.

  49. Elena says:

    It’s incredible how men’s pride in what they have created has made them gradually forget that there is a wisdom and experience much greater than their own… By surrounding ourselves with a growing number of things of our own production (often so imperfect and often bringing along detrimental side-effects that override the original intended benefit) we more and more separate ourselves from God’s creation and then wonder why all of a sudden there is a sense of void in our lives.

  50. jessie jas says:

    Thank you for your honesty Mr Coelho, that you also is constantly battling with your inner being . This makes one felt and come to understand that the soul purpose of one’s existence is to be in battle field within oneself in order for a break through , to ascend to a full human being.