Larson’s writing in “Promise Yourself” has key components which are crucial for a contented and happy life. If you are seeking that, keep reading.
The main theme of this inspirational poem, Promise Yourself, is kindness to self and others. Thus, it involves focusing on the simple things in life which make it worth living such as mental strength, kindness, happiness, and self-improvement.
Sometimes we focus on the wrong reasons for achieving our dreams in life such as:
- to show people you can do it
- to prove people wrong
- to make people jealous
- to show off how happy and successful you are
- to be respected and adored
However, happiness is an internal job. Promise yourself to attain happiness which stems from within you—internally. External factors can change in a moment. So, if you base your happiness on them, what happens when you lack these factors in your life?
When your happiness comes from within, even when you lack the external validation of what you believe to be achievements or success, you won’t lose your joy and enthusiasm for life permanently.
Based on Christian Larson’s Promise Yourself poem, here are the lessons I got from contemplating it. (See the full poem below, after this commentary.)
Important Life Lessons from Christian Larson’s Promise Yourself.
1. Peace of mind is an important need.
It’s impossible to be happy when your mind is not calm and at peace. Worries, grief, anxiety, sadness and other negative emotions and thoughts can disrupt your peace of mind. To rise above all these and maintain what’s most important—your peace of mind—you need to “promise yourself” to be strong.
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2. Wish for others what you wish for yourself.
Promise yourself to send other people positive thoughts. Avoid speaking ill of others and instead, wish them the best that you wish for yourself. Therefore, stay away from gossip, slander, insults, bad thoughts, evil talk and other forms of speech that injure others instead of uplifting them. This is not just to your loved ones and significant others, but also to every other human being.
Promise yourself: to talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
3. Uplift your friends.
Be the kind of friend who makes your friends believe they are good, strong and worthy. Be a true friend. Avoid being the kind of person who tears others down. It doesn’t make you better than them because you say bad things about them, insult them or despise them. It only hurts you when you treat others unkindly. When you are mean, abusive, or overcritical of others, it has nothing to do with them, but everything to do with you. Thus, better be the one who makes people happy.
4. Choose to be optimistic.
Choose to be optimistic by appreciating the good things you already have. Take responsibility for your own mindset. To be optimistic you stop complaining about what you have and instead be grateful for what you already do. If your current state is not good enough for you, go another way, try new things, and maintain a more positive attitude toward life.
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5. Put your best foot forward.
Being lukewarm is tempting, but will not get you the best results. For the best results, always put your best foot forward in your pursuits. When you love what you do, you will be good at it and produce quality work. Avoid mediocrity by constantly building upon your best efforts—in life, work, relationships, and other important things.
6. Rejoice with others.
Do you secretly enjoy when others around you are having a hard time, perhaps being secretly glad in your heart that it’s happening to them and not you? This attitude is detrimental to your thoughts because when you see them rejoicing, succeeding, and enjoying life, it will hurt you. Promise yourself to be genuinely happy for other people when they are happy, and be sad with them when they are sad. This takes more than just merely saying “I am happy for you.” Remember, whatever happens to another can happen to you. Be truly happy for other people’s success.
7. Focus, not your past mistakes, but on improving yourself.
If you continue to look back at what you failed or did wrong, you will not move forward. to avoid stagnating your self-improvement, use the past merely as lessons. Let go of the past disappointments. You can’t change the past, but you can change your current situation and your future.
8. Smile often.
Life has always been about self and others. You can’t be completely alone without human contact and interactions and enjoy life. It matters how you treat others. The more you treat them unkindly and look down on them the less your happiness will be. One way to be kind to people is through smiling. Therefore, keep your head up and smile often. A smile doesn’t cost a thing. Having a joyful countenance isn’t just good for you, it inspires others too.
9. Avoid using your precious time to criticise others.
Instead of using your time to criticising other people use your time wisely to improve yourself. Cut down your participation in meaningless conversations aimed to tear other people down. It might bond you with like-minded people, but what value will criticising others add to your life? You also have weaknesses which other people can criticise. Therefore, use your precious and limited time on earth for self-improvement.
10. Regulate negative emotions.
Having negative emotions is a normal human experience. However, holding on to negative emotions is not good for your mental health. Promise yourself not to keep negative emotions lingering but to hold on to happiness. The main negative emotions which create havoc in people’s lives are anger, fear, and worry.
Letting your anger go untempered can cause a lot of damage to yourself and others around you. Deal with your anger sensibly and apply it to good use such as pursuing a just course instead of hurting people.
Be strong in the face of fear. sometimes fear is an illusion and there’s nothing to fear. For instance, when pursuing success don’t fear failure, because sometimes we need to fail in order to learn and improve.
Worry is useless. You are greater than the worries you may have. Hence, don’t allow your worried thoughts to rise above you.
11. Think well of yourself.
Hold yourself in high regard no matter what mistakes you have done or your status within the society. Remain true and respectful to yourself, not by words but through your actions. May your actions show you respect yourself. You are worthy like all other human beings. Thus, its easier to think well of yourself when you see the good in other people and appreciate them.
12. Have faith.
Don’t always think about how people are against you. Rather, live like you believe the world is on your side because you are living your authentic self, and not failing to be who you are. When you are full of faith, you have no time for negative energy caused by jealousy, worry, anger, or fear.
The following is the inspirational poem written by Christian B. Larson often entitled Promise Yourself.
To be strong so that nothing can disrupt your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticise others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear;
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.
Christian B. Larson in Your Forces and How to Use Them, published in 1913, page 9.
Promise yourself to keep living and never give up. Promise yourself not to quit. Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.
Do you want more inspirational poems to uplift your spirits? Read my book Piece of Mind: Everyone has an untold story.
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