Rudyard Kipling is famous for ‘The Jungle Book’ but did you know he wrote this wonderful piece of poetry? It’s called ‘If’ and everytime I read it, I won’t lie, I well up, trust me, if you’re ever having a bad day or a bad time in your life and it will happen then read these empowering words and don’t be afraid to cry a bit if you need to…. But whatever you do, even if you think it’s ‘manly’ don’t get angry and don’t let anger rule your heart even for a second
‘IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise’
When I read these words, what I get from it is be the better man, you know when you have been wronged, people are bad mouthing you, spreading false rumours, it hurts You are no less a man (or woman) for feeling pain, for feeling anxiety, you are a human being.
If like me, you’re a 40 something, chances are you grew up in the ‘man box’, stiff upper lip, never cry, never show weakness but our kids cry all the time and they are quite right to, when your emotions overcome you on occasions, you can take measures to control them but don’t suppress them, trust me you are only harming yourself and you can only do it for so long. Try a few mindfulless techniques, breathe slowly and deeply for a while, focus your attention on the minute details of your surroundings but most importantly don’t ever blame yourself for feeling the pain of injustice.
Another lesson from these first few lines is the power of repelling evil with good, for this I am reminded of something much closer to my heart, a verse of the Holy Qur’an
“The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he, between whom and thee there was enmity (will become) as though he was a bosom friend”
Chapter: Fussilat-Verse 34 Translation: Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthal
In those worst moments when all you want to do is lash out, retaliate, have some ‘beef’, take someone down to size but yet you don’t, as Kipling writes at the end of his heartwarming poem “You’ll be a man, my son” If you give in to the hate, the jibes, the lies and the name calling, you won’t feel any better BUT if you can rise above the noise with a dignified silence and it won’t be easy, you will come out stronger on the other side when the hardship eventually ceases. very often the people who did you wrong will come back to you and it is so tempting to oppress them but don’t, help them in their hour of need, let them remember you for who you really are, you’re not a doormat, you’re not a pushover, you’re someone who wants to be a real human being and while it feels good to get praised, take the rough with the smooth, let it balance you out so you don’t get egotistical, be a man my son
Image taken from Wikimedia Commons