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The legend of Narcissus highlights the question of selfishness, a question which is at the center of The Alchemist. Is it possible to pursue one's own personal desires while living a happy and fulfilling life without compromizing, but inspiring the lives of others? In the case of Santiago, the main protagonist in the book, the answer is a reassuring "Yes!" - making the image of Narcissus, who became a flower through his selfishness, especially apt.
The meaning portrayed in the original story is that people are too focused on their own superficial qualities, so that they loose sight of true beauty in the world, "drowning" once they're too self-absorbed only ever caring about themselves.
But, and this is one of the many reasons I love and look up to Paulo Coelho, this time the story ends differently, with a twist. The dialogue between the goddesses and the lake give us more information and thus a new and truly heartfelt perspective.
When Narcissus bent down at the river he saw his own reflection and fell in love with it. The lake did the same. Even the lake saw, in Narcissus' eyes its own beauty that it was previously unaware of.
Narcissus, was undoubtedly obsessed with himself, and one may say he was vain. But what if, Narcissus, despite the fact that he was proud, was the only one able to make the lake realize its own alluring appearance and self-worth by practicing self-love and thus allowing the lake to love itself.
Either way, this is my interpretation. Every human being on this earth wants to feel special and unique. We all want to be loved. By practicing love for ourselves we inspire the same in others, but it is all the more powerful, when we see through someone else's eyes (view) that we are beautiful, not merely on the outside, but as an individual. Try to be this version of Narcissus, a reflection, that makes people realize just how much they're worth, just how much they truly matter, just how much great qualities they have. They will love you back for you allow them to love themselves.
You are beautiful.
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