On Desiderata of Happiness, Love and Hope
Just the other day, over the weekend, I had a moment to reflect and this birthed a three-part article on “self love”, ending with one of my best poems – Desiderata. Desiderata of happiness.
This infamous inspirational poem was written by Max Ehrman in 1927 starting with “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste”, ending in “Strive to be happy”.
Now, I will give a brief interpretation on the stanzas of the poem, just in case some find the wordings a bit ambiguous.
Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.
Lesson 1– As you go through the storms the world brings, exercise solitude and endurance. Appreciate the peace in silence. Try as much as possible to get along with everyone, even if you do not like them.
Lesson 2– Listen. The art of compassion and empathy. Learn to tolerate others.
Lesson 3– The craft in diplomacy and tact. Choosing your company wisely. Loud, noisy, chatterboxes-they should be avoided as they tend to irk the soul and/or affect positivity.
Contentment; realising not all fingers are equal. Learn not to compare yourself with anyone in all ramifications.
Lesson 4– Just excuted a contract? Get some ice-cream. Negotiated a good deal, get some Louboutins. Applaud yourself for a job well-done when you’ve achieved something.
Whatever hobby/ craft/ job, do it with all diligence and humility, no matter how odd. In the test of time, your diligence will be that shield that’ll protect you.
Lesson 5– Scammers and those pyramid schemes.The world is full of deception and trick so, be very careful. However guarded you choose to be because of this, you must know that there are others with good virtues, recognise them.
Lesson 6– Don’t be pretentious. Don’t be fake.
Cynical with love? Well, if you’ve been burned by someone you were in love with, there’s that fear that everyone else is the same, and would end up hurting you the same. Therefore you avoid feelings that seem like love, out of fear of being hurt again. That pessimist view of love or associating fear/pain with love, this stanza simply encourages you to LOVE like its your first time, love like you’ve never been hurt.
By far my favourite stanza- I learnt at 20, that no matter how Love seems bitter and hopeless, or disappointing, and there are times where emotional conditions and other factors do not encourage love-just like some climates are not suitable for plant life, you should go on loving anyway, just like new grasses keep on growing amidst worst climates. What an analogy!
Lesson 7– Listen carefully to the advises of older ones. They have more experiences than you do and as you get older, gracefully transition and surrender the things of the youth. Basically, act your age. Don’t be childish at 40. Don’t expect that you’ll still look the same as you were at 18. Embrace every change.
Lesson 8– Strengthen your inner mind and soul, just in case storms come along (so you don’t get depressed and/or suicidal). Be prepared.
In preparedness, dont be gloomy or worried. Most fears are birthed from loneliness and exhaustion. Go out, grab lunch with friends.
Lesson 9– Don’t be hard on yourself. Girl, sing when you want to. Scream if you feel like. Let your hair loose.
Lesson 10– Whether you know it or not, the universe is not controlled by you. So always be at peace with God (try to please God)- whoever you conceive Him to be. He’s the author of it all, you can not out do Him.
In the midst of your hustle and dreams, no matter what those “shit-storms” are, you should not let it get the best of you. Learn to be at peace with yourself.
As with boulevards of broken dreams, tricks, shams and everything dark out there, ENDEAVOUR to be Happy. Strive being the keyword. Ok?
Have you read this poem? What do you think of it? What other poems have you read like Desiderata- let’s enjoy it too.