Go placidly amid the noise and 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 the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your 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.
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 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 with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Desiderata is an astounding poem by Max Ehrmann.
I first read this poem just about few months ago.
I don’t know the story of how this poem has become a huge hit.
It’s just so famous.
I wanted to print a poster of it later and hang it on the wall of my room.
But before I do it, perhaps I’ll analyze this beautiful prose poem myself.
Just in case that someone might ask me about it later.
Desiderata itself means “things to be desired” or “desired things” in Latin. This poem contains a simple truth that we want in our life that is often overlooked in everyday life.
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”
Go calmly through a fast-living world full of noise and stresses, and always remember that there is peace in silence where you can always listen to yourself; and so, do not forget to listen to your gut – your own heart and mind – your own inner voice.
“As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.”
Without surrendering yourself to people or being fake to yourself, try to get along with everyone. Always remember the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!
“Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.”
Say what you believe quietly and clearly, because the truth is rarely pure and never simple, and thus, there is no need to boast the truth and what you believe so loudly for people to hear. Say it when you have or want to, clearly, and quietly. But don’t let yourself be biased on what you believe and forget to listen to others. Because everyone, no matter who they are, is walking their own path with their own struggles. Everyone has a story.
“Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.”
Avoid loud, aggressive, and noisy people. Those kind of people are almost always trying to get our attention to them. They are usually hungry for attention. Those kind of people will distract you from hearing the voice from your own heart. Want an example? Look at internet, look at your social media; they are full of these people. It is okay to avoid those annoying people; you don’t need them in your life. In fact, they could bring you down with their annoying behavior.
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”
This one speaks to me very, very loudly. Envy and Jealousy are two of my biggest weaknesses. But by comparing myself to others, instead of being envious, I could be conceited, too. There will always be others who are better or worse than me. Life is not a competition. I have to stop comparing myself to others. And I have to realize that I am what I am, and no one is going to be any better at being me than I am !
“Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.”
This one pretty much speaks of itself. We need to enjoy our achievements, and also our plans for the future. Because life is all about the journey, not about the destination.
“Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”
Stay interested in your own path that you’ve chosen. Even if you think that it’s not that important. I think it doesn’t necessarily have to be a career. And when everything changes, you will be glad that you still have your own interest, now that you’ve learned it well and put yourself into it.
“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.”
We need to be cautious when we do business with people. The world is full of those who will take advantage of us. But never think that there is no kindness out there; many people are trying to improve themselves. Most people are kind and good in their hearts, we need to pay attention to people and learn about their true intentions. And don’t forget that there are many people all over the world people that is currently doing what’s right.
This, too, speaks for itself. Let’s not pretend to be someone that we are NOT. It will never work well, it won’t last long, and most importantly, it’s just a waste of time. We need to truly understand and fearlessly embrace who we are inside without thinking of what other people might think.
“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.”
Never pretend to like or love something, it doesn’t bring you any good. And also, don’t be cynical and think that Love does not exist. (Yes, Love. I am looking straight at your beautiful face right now. Don’t hide your stunning face with those little hands of yours.) Because when it seems like everything is falling and getting worse, Love will still be there; it is all that counts. Love, is everlasting.
“Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.”
I believe this is about growing up. And when we grow up, our views on things changed. We need to learn from our experiences on our past years. And, we need to gracefully let things go on what happened to us in the past. Mistakes we made when we were young, things we’ve done years ago when we were still in highschool / college, we need to let them all go, we need to surrender them once and for all. And strive to be a better – not bitter – person with all the experiences we have!
“Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.”
We have to learn to be strong at heart, so we will be prepared if suddenly things go wrong. But we should NEVER torture ourselves by imagining the worst that could happen. When we are tired, or lonely at night, we tend to overthink negative things, (that is me) and overthinking kills happiness, and also brings us fear. Stay strong, but not as far as being biased, cynical, or bitter. Stay positive, but not naive.
“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.”
Do not be too hard on yourself. Discipline is good, but we need to love ourselves, too. We need to sometimes say nice things to ourselves. Most people are pushing themselves too hard and often forget on how to love themselves. They need to know that when we say nice things to ourselves, when we do nice things to ourselves, our life becomes WAY more beautiful. Stop being so hard on 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.”
Never think that you don’t deserve to live your life. You are not a mistake. Yes, humans do make mistakes, but we are NOT a mistake. Never think that you are. And of course, there’s always something for us. There’s always some reason behind everything that happened in our life, no matter how awful or horrible it would be. Be patient. Everything will make sense later. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next month, but you will understand the reason behind what happened in your life. Personally, the universe hasn’t been that kind for me and her. But right now, I do understand the reason for what happened to her, to eradicate untrustworthy people from her life once and for all; even though it really was, and still is very painful for me. Do believe that 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 with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”
Be at peace with God. Whatever you imagine Him to be. Never blame Him on what happened to you. And whatever you do and whatever you dream in this noisy and confusing life, stay peaceful deep in your soul. Always keep your thoughts good. Think good thoughts, and good things will come to you! We are what we think. Our mind is more powerful than we actually think it is. Change your perception about life. See the world as a beautiful world even though there are many, many bad things currently happening in our life or in the world itself. The most important part is always in your heart. Stay positive. See the world from the positive side with a smile. Your life will change immensely, for the better.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Let yourself be happy. Try to enjoy things, and let go of things that made you sad and/or brought you down. Take note that happiness sometimes can be find in places that you are too afraid to touch. Trust me, your life will be so much better when you are, being happy!
This poem is just so beautiful. Just timeless.
Everytime I finished reading Desiderata, it brings light to my soul.
You might have different analysis or representation about the poem.
But for me, with all my experiences, those analysis are just what I thought.
Let me put the poster I found for the post closing image below.
I hope you, and especially her, love the poem, and I hope it will nourish and awaken your soul as much as it has awaken mine.