It’s always such a beautiful reminder when you read old poetry or literature and realize that those before us experienced the same kind of woes or struggles, questioning the same things we do.
As when it comes to raw human emotion, and the way we should treat each other, the passing of decades does not change what ultimately makes us human and what makes us good people.
Why the Desiderata Poem Is Important
The Desiderata poem, by Max Ehrmann, really resonates with us as it reminds us to be kind, respectful, accepting and honest. It’s not a very long poem, but its simplicity only makes the words more striking.
While its exact origin is questionable, it’s widely believed that Max Ehrmann, a poet, and lawyer wrote it after being inspired by a diary entry he made about desire (Desiderata means “desire” in Latin).
When you’re next going through a period of self-doubt or you having problems accepting someone or a situation, read the Desiderata poem. It placidly embodies what life and our relationships with each other are all about.
Even if we all only practiced one or two lines from the poem, there would be a lot more love and tolerance in this world.
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Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Print and hang it somewhere you can see it each day, so every time you walk past it, or you’re faced with a difficult situation, take a moment to read it and absorb the message.
What’s your favorite poem or literature that helps you cut through the clouds, reminding you of who you are and what beliefs are important to you when you’re in doubt?