I LOVE this poem. It is on my fridge, and is a constant reminder that it is not about “them” anyway. You know what I mean, right? That person (or situation) where you have every desire (and justification) to be a ‘lil ugly to them as they have been to you. Or the nagging temptation to be less than your ‘best self’ (thanks Oprah) because no one will notice.
But what are the implications of lessening the quality of your soul for momentary ease, laziness or revenge? In the end, you suffer the greatest loss.
This poem sets me straight and reminds me that I am accountable to God, not to others, for who I am becoming. So, the story goes that this version of the poem (original sounds a lil bit different) was found written on the wall in Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta.
Whether this is true of not, this anonymous poem (adapted from the original Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith) is just mmm mmm good. Take a read.
Oh, by the way, here’s my favorite pic of Mother Teresa. She looks so authentically herself here. No halos, no pictures of starving or dying children, no frowned brows or leathery praying hands with rosaries (though I think her hands and beads are beautiful). Its an honest picture of a woman laughing. Mouth wide open, head slightly tilted. Organic, raw, not staged.
I wonder what brought her joy that day? She was probably laughing at herself and all the times she took someone or something a little too seriously.
I hear ya chuckling, Mother T. I hear ya.
Here’s the pic and here is the poem. Enjoy!
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.