By Paulo Coelho
‘Why do you live in the desert?’ asked the gentleman.
‘Because I cannot be what I want to be.’
‘No one can, but we all have to try,’ said the gentleman.
‘It’s impossible. When I start to be myself, people treat me with false reverence. When I am true to my faith, they begin to doubt me. They all believe that they are more saintly than I am, but they pretend to be sinners for fear of mocking my solitude. They are constantly trying to show me that they consider me a saint, and thus they become transformed into emissaries of the Devil, tempting me with pride.’
‘Your problem lies not in trying to be who you are, but in not accepting how other people are. And if you carry on like that, you had best stay in the desert,’ said the gentleman, and with that he left.