“Don’t forget, I’ve been hurt before.”

This is an excerpt from Paulo Coelho’s “The Zahir,” a story about a man whose wife has left him for another man. In this exchange he speaks with his new lover and she tries to make him understand that he’s been acting out of fear.


“You see? You don’t even want to say his name. Are you superstitious?”

“Mikhail. There you are, that’s his name.”

“The energy of hatred won’t get you anywhere; but the energy of forgiveness, which reveals itself through love, will transform your life in a positive way.”

“Now you’re sounding like some Tibetan sage, spouting stuff that is all very nice in theory, but impossible in practice. Don’t forget, I’ve been hurt before.

“Exactly, and you’re still carrying inside you the little boy, the school weakling, who had to hide his tears from his parents. You still bear the marks of the skinny little boy who couldn’t get a girlfriend and who was never any good at sports. You still haven’t managed to heal the scars left by some of the injustices committed against you in your life. But what good does that do?”

“Who told you about that?”

“I just know. I can see it in your eyes, and it doesn’t do you any good. All it does is feed a constant desire to feel sorry for yourself, because you were the victim of people stronger than you. Or else it makes you go to the other extreme and disguise yourself as an avenger ready to hit out at the people who hurt you. Isn’t that a waste of time?”

“It’s just human.”

“Oh, it is, but it’s not intelligent or reasonable. Show some respect for your time on this earth.”


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