20 Lessons from “Veronika Decides to Die”

by Paulo Coelho

  1. Absurd though it may seem, I think that was the happiest time of her life. She was fighting for something; she felt alive and capable of responding to the challenges facing her.
  2. No one can judge. Each person knows the extent of their own suffering or the total absence of meaning in their lives.
  3. Two or three years later, another woman will appear in his life. I’ll find out – because I saw them or because someone told me – but this time I’ll pretend I don’t know. I used up all my energy fighting against that other lover; I’ve no energy left; it’s best to accept life as it really is and not as I imagined it to be. My mother was right.
  4. Noticed that a lot of people she knew would talk about the horrors in other people’s lives as if they were genuinely trying to help them, but the truth was that they took pleasure in the suffering of others, because that made them believe they were happy and that life had been generous with them.
  5. I want to continue being crazy, living my life the way I dream it, and not the way other people want it to be.
  6. She was confused, tensed, irritated with herself. She had never allowed herself to be provoked; she had learned early that whenever a new situation presented itself, you had to remain cool and and distant.
  7. If I had a choice, if I had understood earlier that the reason my days were all the same was because I wanted them like that, perhaps… there’s no perhaps, because there is no choice.
  8. What makes a person hate themselves? Cowardice, perhaps. Or the eternal fear of being wrong, of not doing what others expect. A few moments ago I was happy, I forgot I was under sentence of death; then, when I remembered the situation I’m in, I felt frightened.
  9. Because there is always a gap between intention and action, and she wanted to feel free to turn back halfway.
  10. You have passed through the two hardest tests on the spiritual road: the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what you encounter. It is you I will teach.
  11. You have two choices: to control your mind or to let your mind control you. Don’t confuse insanity with a loss of control.
  12. Certain people, in their eagerness to construct a world no external threat can penetrate, build exaggeratedly high defenses against the outside world, against new people, new places, different experiences, and leave their inner world stripped bare. It is there that bitterness begins its irrevocable work.
  13. She had always spent her life waiting for something.
  14. She is not going to stop something which gives her pleasure just to be nice to a complete stranger. If she should react badly, you’ll never have another chance to approach her.
  15. Veronika assumed an ironic air, smiled, turned and moved off so that no one would notice that her eyes were filling with tears.
  16. She had never allowed herself to be provoked.
    She needed to get back to the person she used to be, someone able to respond with irony, to pretend that insults didn’t bother her because she was better than all of them.
  17. A person like everyone else in the world needed other people in order to be happy.
  18. Veronika had always hated goodbyes.
  19. Stay mad, but behave like normal people. Run the risk of being different, but learn to do so without attracting attention.
  20. Don’t be embarrassed about being loved. I am not asking you for anything.


Life has an interesting way of telling me that I am a special chocolate chip cookie baked personally by the hands of God (well, just as everyone of us!). I am loving the challenges. A widow at a young age yet keeping a positive view of the future. Still a believer of magic, fate and true love, taking each day one small step at a time. I have a grand dream! ;-)

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