I Promise Myself To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind. To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person I meet. To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them. To look at the sunny side of everything and make my 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 I am about my own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature I meet. To give so much time to improving myself that I 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 myself and 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 my side, as long as I am true to the best that is in me. By Christian D Larson
This is a simple yet powerful poem and I consider more as a mantra than a poem. The words are not complicated or twisted, it is a simple promise. What makes it so relatable is it is promise to the self, deeply personal. I came across this when I read the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne and watched the movie. It affected me deeply and awakened me to my own internal world of thoughts which up until that moment I thought were random and did not amount to much. When I read this poem and decided to make this promise to myself, I was surprised to see how much I hesitated. I am someone who believes in integrity and power of the word, I never promise something I cannot follow through. If I promise something I ensure that I follow through else my conscious does not let me rest. But this time it was even more intense and serious because I realized, I was afraid to let myself down. This was a revelation in my own relationship with the self. If I am going to promise these things to myself I know that I cannot cut corners and take shortcuts because I will know. It also showed me that I am my biggest critic and the self is observing in minute detail every thought, action and emotion and the self can be brutal in its critique. Intense isn’t it? So I decided to back up a bit, and add some pressure relievers in the mix to ensure I do not get rigid in the promise and turn this into something negative.
I took a printout of this poem and stuck it to the back of my bedroom door with cello tape, nothing fancy. I decided as soon as I wake up I will read this, first thing in the morning. I knew very well that there will be life that happens through the day and I may not at every moment be able to live this promise but I will try. I will remind myself as many times I could and try and live a part of the promise if not all. And so I embarked on this new experiment, I was all excited and a few days everything was upbeat, I was able to keep up with it, but then few days things did not go my way as is bound to happen, someone pissed me off, something happened, my energy was low and I felt sad. At that time when I would read the poem it would feel like an empty and hollow exercise, but I would just do it for the sake of it. The poem stayed on my bedroom door for many months and though nothing miraculous happened, something in me started shifting. The priorities in life started shifting, my outlook started moving. I started focusing more on self-improvement, yes there were days the past would come haunting and I would spiral down memory lane of blame and sorrow, but I learnt to recognize and reduce ,my visits there. The one line that had the most impact on me is
“To spend so much time improving myself that I have no time to criticize others” I may not remember the entire poem, but this one line is embedded in memory. Whenever I feel myself comparing my life, or feeling sad for losing out on life, or blaming someone for being the way they are and so on, this line jumps out and I make the conscious effort to stop the negative conversation whether with someone or in my head. This line does not talk about forgiveness or moving on or ignoring the hurt. This line helps refocus on the now, the only moment we actually live. When we are in the now, the past and the future does not exist and hence have no power over us. When I watch too much news, or scroll through too much social media at times I get worked up and agitated with all the bad things and injustice happening in the world, or if some topic comes up in a conversation and I start rambling or complaining about a person or a situation, I end up feeling drained and tired on an energy level. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth so to speak. I do not like the cribbing version of me, which very much exists. If this moment is the only moment in time and space that matters, is it worth wasting it on complaining or brooding over things we have no control over? If this was the only moment that mattered, no past no future, just this very moment in time and space, wouldn’t I rather spend this improving myself or the lives of others? I could read or listen something uplifting, I could learn or teach something new, I could help someone or do something of value for someone, or I could garden, cook, sing, laugh, dance, take my dog for a walk or play with kids or meditate. I could do so many things that do not involve criticising or complaining or cribbing or whining. What this line shows me is I have a choice. No one has kept a gun to my head and asked me to stay in a lower vibration energy, it is my choice.
I heard a beautiful story of bravery and exercising the power of choice in adversity. We all have heard of the great king Prithviraj Chauhan, the great warrior king. He protected his territory from invaders for many years and fought many battles. Unfortunately, he was defeated and captured by the king Muhammad of Ghor. The enemy king wanted to taunt Prithviraj Chauhan and he ordered to gouge out his eyes, blinding him permanently. Prithviraj Chauhan was now blind and humiliated in the court, but the enemy king wanted more and said he had heard of Prithviraj Chauhan’s great archery skills that he could shoot with just the sound. He asked him to demonstrate his archery skills, Prithviraj Chauhan had one condition, he would agree only if his court poet, Chand Bardai would be allowed to stand near him. The show was organized in the court and upon hearing the gong Prithviraj Chauhan would shoot towards the direction of the sound.
Meanwhile Chand Bardai recited a couplet to King Prithviraj Chauhan.
“Char Bans Chaubi Gaj, ungal asat parman;
Ta upar sultan hai, mat chuke Chauhan.”
When the gong was sounded, King Prithviraj Chauhan shot his arrow and it hit the throat of king Muhammad of Ghori killing him instantly. What very few knew was that he could not only shoot with sound but with understanding distance as well and the poet Chand Bardai had recited the distance and angle of where the enemy king was seated to help king achieve this feat. It is said that as soon as he killed the enemy king, he and Chand Bardai stabbed each other so as to escape the fate of being recaptured (Note- this is found in the poem Prithviraj Raso and does not have historical evidence).
The learning I take from this story is looking at the now in any circumstance, what a brave soul he must have been. Instead od accepting his fate and waiting to be beheaded at the hands of a cruel enemy who had delefeated him, looted his empire and now wanted to humiliate him, he took up whatever opportunity to keep the battle going. Symbolically, I believe even if we are not victorious externally, every attempt at improving the self is progress and will eventually bear fruit. The promise to yourself to focus and keep refocusing every time you slip is the key.
I suggest you to search for this poem by Christian D Larson, print it and paste it on your wall or door or keep it near you. Read it if possible first thing in the morning, and then go about your day. Try reading it anytime you remember throughout your day and then notice after a few weeks if anything shifts within you. I will be sharing more promises on my Insta @everythingpooja and other social media feeds over the next few weeks, hope this inspires you to make meaningful promises to yourself with every intent of keeping those.