“Desiderata”: The Middle Part of Max Ehrmann’s Prose Poem

Picking up from yesterday’s post on Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, here’s Part Two… 

VI. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Psychology Today“Social comparison theory states that we determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others. As a result, we are constantly making self and other evaluations across a variety of domains (for example, attractiveness, wealth, intelligence, and success). Most of us have the social skills and impulse control to keep our envy and social comparisons quiet but our true feelings may come out in subtle ways.”

Steve Furtick“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Anne Lamott: “Never compare your insides to everyone else’s outsides.”

VII. 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.

 VIII. 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.

Seeking everyday heroes? Not hard. Here are just a few websites of note:

IX. Be yourself.

A common enough sentiment among writings besides Desiderata.

Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Bernard Baruch: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Leo Buscaglia: “The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don’t let them put you in that position.”

Harvey Fierstein: “Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”

Jo Coudert: “For you cannot live in someone else. You cannot find yourself in someone else. You cannot be given a life by someone else. Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never leave or lose.”

X. 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.

Erica Jong“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it…It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”

Douglas Yates“People who are sensible about love are incapable of it.”

The final part of this blog series on Desiderata will be here tomorrow…

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