47 Best Poems About Being Yourself

Here are the 47 best handpicked poems about being yourself categorized:

  • Poems about how you value yourself
  • Inspirational self-worth poems
  • Poems about being happy with yourself
  • Short poems about being yourself

If you want the best collection of “be yourself” poems, then this collection is for you.

Keep reading!

Asian woman smiling and happy

My Favorite Be Yourself Poem

Woman sitting alone by the lake looking at the mountains

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
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.
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.

Be yourself.
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.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann

Poems About How You Value Yourself

Woman on the flower field

Count Your Blessings

It’s strange but true that common things,
Like sunshine, rain and snow,
The happy little bird that sings,
The fragrant flowers that grow;
The meals with which we’re blessed each day,
The sweet sleep of the night,
The friends who ever with us stay,
The shadows and the light,
The tender care of mother dear,
The kiss of loving wife,
The baby prattle that we hear –
The best things in our life –
Are not loved by us half so well
As things that seem more rare.
For instance some old, broken bell,
Or stone picked up somewhere;
An ancient coin with unknown date,
An arrow head of stone,
Or piece of broken armor plate
Worn by some one unknown.
Exclusive ownership we crave,
No matter what the prize –
True from the cradle to the grave,
Of foolish and of wise.
Oh, selfish mortal, don’t you know
’Twould better be, by far,
If you would train your love to grow
Among the things that are
Just common to your daily life?
You’ve blessings by the score,
Then why engage in constant strife
For more, and more, and more?

William Henry Dawson

Barter

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.
Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.
Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

Sara Teasdale

I Will Be Worthy of It

I may not reach the heights I seek,
My untried strength may fail me;
Or, half-way up the mountain peak
Fierce tempests may assail me.
But though that place I never gain,
Herein lies comfort for my pain —
I will be worthy of it.

I may not triumph in success,
Despite my earnest labour;
I may not grasp results that bless
The efforts of my neighbour.
But though my goal I never see,
This thought shall always dwell with me—
I will be worthy of it.

The golden glory of Love’s light
May never fall on my way;
My path may always lead through night,
Like some deserted byway.
But though life’s dearest joy I miss
There lies a nameless strength in this —
I will be worthy of it.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Free happy woman enjoying sunset

Hold Up Your Head

You were not made for failure but success;
Not born for sorrow but for happiness.
Keep this in mind through all life’s storms and stress.
Hold up your head.

You were not born a slave but free as air,
In all the beauty of the world you share,
Now banish fear and brush away dull care.
Hold up your head.

The heroes of the world are true kin.
You, too, have greatness buried deep within.
Give it a chance; no fight too hard to win.
Hold up your head.

Remember this great world has need of you,
Has need of all the work that you can do;
And of your visions and your ideals too.
Hold up your head.

Hark to the drums of life! They throb and roll;
Inspire with courage the responsive soul.
March on, you’re bound to reach your goal.
Hold up your head.

Wilhelmina Stitch

If You Would Be Happy

Keep your temper.
Gain a little knowledge every day.
Make few promises, and speak the truth.
Give full measure and weight with a just balance.
Consent to common custom, but not to common folly.

Be cautious of believing ill, but more cautious of repeating it.
Have courage to wear your old clothes until you can pay for new ones.
Think of Heaven with hearty purpose and strong hope to get there.
Do good to all, that thou mayest keep thy friends and gain thine enemies.
Count your resources; find out what you are not fit for, and give up wishing for it.

Unknown

If Thou Must Love Me

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say,
“I love her for her smile—her look—her way
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day”—
For these things in themselves, Belovèd, may
Be changed, or change for thee—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry:
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
(Sonnet 14)
Beautiful woman crying

The Poster Girl’s Defence

It was an Artless Poster Girl pinned up against my wall,
She was tremendous ugly, she was exceeding tall;
I was gazing at her idly, and I think I must have slept,
For that poster maiden lifted up her poster voice, and wept.

She said between her poster sobs, ‘I think it’s rather rough
To be jeered and fleered and flouted, and I’ve stood it long enough;
I’m tired of being quoted as a Fright and Fad and Freak,
And I take this opportunity my poster mind to speak.

‘Although my hair is carmine and my nose is edged with blue,
Although my style is splashy and my shade effects are few,
Although I’m out of drawing and my back hair is a show,
Yet I have n’t half the whimseys of the maidens that you know.

‘I never keep you waiting while I prink before the glass,
I never talk such twaddle as that little Dawson lass,
I never paint on china, nor erotic novels write,
And I never have recited “Curfew must not ring tonight”.

‘I don’t rave over Ibsen, I never, never flirt,
I never wear a shirt waist with a disconnected skirt;
I never speak in public on “The Suffrage”, or “The Race”,
I never talk while playing whist, or trump my partner’s ace.’

I said: ‘O artless Poster Girl, you’re in the right of it,
You are a joy forever, though a thing of beauty, nit!’
And from her madder eyebrows to her utmost purple swirl,
Against all captious critics I’ll defend the Poster Girl.

Carolyn Wells

From Fifth Avenue Up

Someday beneath some hard
Capricious star—
Spreading its light a little
Over far,
We’ll know you for the woman
That you are.

For though one took you, hurled you
Out of space,
With your legs half strangled
In your lace,
You’d lip the world to madness
On your face.

We’d see your body in the grass
With cool pale eyes.
We’d strain to touch those lang’rous
Length of thighs,
And hear your short sharp modern
Babylonic cries.

It wouldn’t go. We’d feel you
Coil in fear
Leaning across the fertile
Fields to leer
As you urged some bitter secret
Through the ear.

We see your arms grow humid
In the heat;
We see your damp chemise lie
Pulsing in the beat
Of the over-hearts left oozing
At your feet.

See you sagging down with bulging
Hair to sip,
The dappled damp from some vague
Under lip,
Your soft saliva, loosed
With orgy, drip.

Once we’d not have called this
Woman you—
When leaning above your mother’s
Spleen you drew
Your mouth across her breast as
Trick musicians do.

Plunging grandly out to fall
Upon your face.
Naked—female—baby
In grimace,
With your belly bulging stately
Into space.

Djuna Barnes

Austerity

I have lived so long
On the cold hills alone …
I loved the rock
And the lean pine trees,
Hated the life in the turfy meadow,
Hated the heavy, sensuous bees.
I have lived so long
Under the high monotony of starry skies,
I am so cased about
With the clean wind and the cold nights,
People will not let me in
To their warm gardens
Full of bees.

Janet Loxley Lewis
Black Queen

The Black Queen

All hail! This honest dusky maid,
Let all others prostrate fall;
Bring forth the international diadem,
And crown her queen of all.

In all pure womanly qualities,
She stands serene and tall,
Way up above the average,
This makes her queen of all.

She’s not a sluggard at any place,
She answers duty’s call
Come all ye people, small and great,
And crown her queen of all.

She stands bolt upright by her men,
She will not let them fall,
Now for her valor, tip your hat,
And crown her queen of all.

Carrie Law Morgan Figgs

Indian Summer

In youth, it was a way I had
To do my best to please,
And change, with every passing lad,
To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know,
And do the things I do;
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you!

Dorothy Parker

Lady Montrevor

I do not look for love that is a dream—
I only seek for courage to be still;
To bear my grief with an unbending will,
And when I am a-weary not to seem.
Let the round world roll on; let the sun beam;
Let the wind blow, and let the rivers fill
The everlasting sea, and on the hill
The palms almost touch heaven, as children deem.
And, though young spring and summer pass away,
And autumn and cold winter come again,
And though my soul, being tired of its pain,
Pass from the ancient earth, and though my clay
Return to dust, my tongue shall not complain;—
No man shall mock me after this my day.

Christina Rossetti
Silhouette of Mother and Baby Daughter Running and Dancing at Su

The Revolt of Mother

I am old-fashioned, and I think it right
That man should know, by Nature’s laws eternal,
The proper way to rule, to earn, to fight,
And exercise those functions called paternal;
But even I a little bit rebel
At finding that he knows my job as well.

At least he’s always ready to expound it,
Especially in legislative hall,
The joys, the cares, the halos that surround it,
“How women feel”—he knows that best of all.
In fact his thesis is that no one can
Know what is womanly except a man.

I am old-fashioned, and I am content
When he explains the world of art and science
And government—to him divinely sent—
I drink it in with ladylike compliance.
But cannot listen—no, I’m only human—
While he instructs me how to be a woman.

Alice Duer Miller

I am the People, the Mob

I am the people — the mob–the crowd–the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the
world’s food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons
come from me and the Lincolns.
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand
for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me.
I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted.
I forget. Everything but death comes to me and
makes me work and give up what I have. And I
forget.
Sometimes I grows, shake myself and spatter a few red
drops for history to remember. Then–I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the
People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer
forget who robbed me last year, who played me for
a fool–then there will be no speaker in all the world
say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a
sneer in his voice or any far off smile of derision.
The mob–the crowd–the mass–will arrive then.

Carl Sandburg

Beauty

Say not of beauty she is good,
Or aught but beautiful,
Or sleek to doves’ wings of the wood
Her wild wings of a gull.

Call her not wicked; that word’s touch
Consumes her like a curse;
But love her not too much, too much,
For that is even worse.

O, she is neither good nor bad,
But innocent and wild!
Enshrine her and she dies, who had
The hard heart of a child.

Elinor Wylie
Girl in autumn

The Solitary

My heart has grown rich with the passing of years,
I have less need now than when I was young
To share myself with every comer
Or shape my thoughts into words with my tongue.

It is one to me that they come or go
If I have myself and the drive of my will,
And strength to climb on a summer night
And watch the stars swarm over the hill.
Let them think I love them more than I do,
Let them think I care, though I go alone;
If it lifts their pride, what is it to me
Who am self-complete as a flower or a stone.

Sara Teasdale

Foreboding

I will not look for storms when skies are glowing,
With hues of summer sunsets painted o’er;
When all my tides of life are softly flowing,
I will not listen for the breaker’s roar.

I will not search the future for its sorrows,
Nor peer ahead for lions in the way,
I will not weep o’er possible to-morrows—
Sufficient is the evil of to-day.

Ellen P. Allerton

Inspirational Self-Worth Poems

Girl with hat running on the meadow

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 criticize 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 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 my side, so long as I am true to the best that is in me.

Christian D. Larson

Song of Myself, 52

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me—he complains of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed—I too am untranslatable;
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

The last scud of day holds back for me;
It flings my likeness after the rest, and true as any, on the shadow’d wilds;
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air—I shake my white locks at the runaway sun;
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeathe myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love;
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am, or what I mean;
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;
Missing me one place, search another;
I stop somewhere, waiting for you.

Walt Whitman

Myself

I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun
and hate myself for the things I have done.
I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
a lot of secrets about myself
and fool myself as I come and go
into thinking no one else will ever know
the kind of person I really am,
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
but here in the struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
whatever happens I want to be
self respecting and conscience free.

Edgar A. Guest
Silhouette of a woman walking alone at the beach feeling lonely

As I Walked By Myself

As I walked by myself
And talked to myself,
Myself said unto me,
Look to thyself,
Take care of thyself,
For nobody cares for thee.

I answered myself,
And said to myself,
In the selfsame repartee,
Look to thyself,
Or not to thyself,
The selfsame thing will be.

Bernard Barton

Change

I shall not wonder more, then,
But I shall know.

Leaves change, and birds, flowers,
And after years are still the same.

The sea’s breast heaves in sighs to the moon,
But they are moon and sea forever.

As in other times the trees stand tense and lonely,
And spread a hollow moan of other times.

You will be you yourself,
I’ll find you more, not else,
For vintage of the woeful years.

The sea breathes, or broods, or loudens,
Is bright or is mist and the end of the world;
And the sea is constant to change.

I shall not wonder more, then,
But I shall know.

Raymond Knister

I Took My Power In My Hand

I took my Power in my Hand—
And went against the World—
‘Twas not so much as David—had—
But I—was twice as bold—

I aimed by Pebble—but Myself
Was all the one that fell—
Was it Goliath—was too large—
Or was myself—too small?

Emily Dickinson
Lady with tar black hair and blue eyes, forest beauty in gray dress with bare shoulders hiding alone, portrait of enchantress in green grove with autumn leaves

Sybil

Your head is wild with books, Sybil,
But your heart is good and kind—
I feel a new contentment near you,
A pleasure of the mind.

Glad should I be to sit beside you,
And let long hours glide by,
Reading, through all your sweet narrations,
The language of your eye.

Since the maternal saint I worshipped
Did look and love her last,
No woman o’er my wayward spirit
Such gentle spell has cast.

Oh! tell me of your varied fortunes,
For you know not, from your face
Looks out strange sadness, lit with rapture,
And melancholy grace.

You are a gem, whose native brilliance
Could never wholly reign,
An opal, whose prismatic fire
A white cloud doth restrain.

And thus, the mood to which you move me
Is never perfect, quite,
‘Tis pity, wonderment, and pleasure,
Opacity and light.

Bear me then in your presence, Sybil,
And leave your hand in mine,
For, though human be my nature,
You’ve made it half divine.

Julia Ward Howe

On Joy and Sorrow

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Kahlil Gibran

A Minor Poet

I am a shell. From me you shall not hear
The splendid tramplings of insistent drums,
The orbed gold of the viol’s voice that comes,
Heavy with radiance, languorous and clear.
Yet, if you hold me close against the ear,
A dim, far whisper rises clamorously,
The thunderous beat and passion of the sea,
The slow surge of the tides that drown the mere.

Others with subtle hands may pluck the strings,
Making even Love in music audible,
And earth one glory. I am but a shell
That moves, not of itself, and moving sings;
Leaving a fragrance, faint as wine new-shed,
A tremulous murmur from great days long dead.

Stephen Vincent Benét
Closeup portrait of a beautiful metis woman with perfect smooth

The Bronze Legacy

’Tis a noble gift to be brown, all brown,
Like the strongest things that make up this earth,
Like the mountains grave and grand,
Even like the very land,
Even like the trunks of trees—
Even oaks, to be like these!
God builds His strength in bronze.

To be brown like thrush and lark!
Like the subtle wren so dark!
Nay, the king of beasts wears brown;
Eagles are of this same hue.
I thank God, then, I am brown.
Brown has mighty things to do.

Effie Lee Newsome

Cleon and I

Cleon hath ten thousand acres,
Ne’er a one have I;
Cleon dwelleth in a palace,
In a cottage, I;
Cleon hath a dozen fortunes,
Not a penny, I,
Yet the poorer of the twain is
Cleon, and not I.

Cleon, true, possesseth acres,
But the landscape, I;
Half the charms to me it yieldeth
Money cannot buy;
Cleon harbors sloth and dullness,
Freshening vigor, I;
He in velvet, I in fustian—
Richer man am I.
Cleon is a slave to grandeur,
Free as thought am I;

Cleon fees a score of doctors,
Need of none have I;
Wealth-surrounded, care-environed,
Cleon fears to die;
Death may come—he’ll find me ready,
Happier man am I.

Cleon sees no charms in nature,
In a daisy, I;
Cleon hears no anthems ringing
‘Twixt the sea and sky;
Nature sings to me forever,
Earnest listener, I;
State for state, with all attendants—
Who would change?—Not I.

Charles Mackay

The Crystal Gazer

I shall gather myself into my self again,
I shall take my scattered selves and make them one.
I shall fuse them into a polished crystal ball
Where I can see the moon and the flashing sun.

I shall sit like a sibyl, hour after hour intent.
Watching the future come and the present go
And the little shifting pictures of people rushing
In tiny self-importance to and fro.

Sara Teasdale
Woman holding camera

The Modern Woman to Her Lover

I shall not lie to you any more,
Flatter or fawn to attain my end—
I am what never has been before,
Woman—and Friend.

I shall be strong as a man is strong,
I shall be fair as a man is fair,
Hand in locked hand we shall pass along
To a purer air:

I shall not drag at your bridle-rein,
Knee pressed to knee shall we ride the hill;
I shall not lie to you ever again—
Will you love me still?

Margaret Widdemer

Interior

Her mind lives in a quiet room,
A narrow room, and tall,
With pretty lamps to quench the gloom
And mottoes on the wall.

There all the things are waxen neat
And set in decorous lines;
And there are posies, round and sweet,
And little, straightened vines.

Her mind lives tidily, apart
From cold and noise and pain,
And bolts the door against her heart,
Out wailing in the rain.

Dorothy Parker

Poems About Being Happy With Yourself

Irish woman smiling and happy with herself

A Song of Life

In the rapture of life and of living,
I lift up my heart and rejoice,
And I thank the great Giver for giving
The soul of my gladness a voice.
In the glow of the glorious weather,
In the sweet-scented sensuous air,
My burdens seem light as a feather—
They are nothing to bear.

In the strength and the glory of power,
In the pride and the pleasure of wealth,
(For who dares dispute me my dower
Of talents and youth-time and health?)
I can laugh at the world and its sages—
I am greater than seers who are sad,
For he is most wise in all ages
Who knows how to be glad.

I lift up my eyes to Apollo,
The god of the beautiful days,
And my spirit soars off like a swallow
And is lost in the light of its rays.
Are you troubled and sad? I beseech you
Come out of the shadows of strife—
Come out in the sun while I teach you
The secret of life.

Come out of the world—come above it—
Up over its crosses and graves.
Though the green earth is fair and I love it,
We must love it as masters, not slaves.
Come up where the dust never rises—
But only the perfume of flowers—
And your life shall be glad with surprises
Of beautiful hours.

Come up where the rare golden wine is
Apollo distills in my sight,
And your life shall be happy as mine is,
And as full of delight.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Be The Best of Whatever You Are

If you can’t be a pine on top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley – but be
The best little scrub at the side of the rill.
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a bush be a bit of grass
Some highway to happier make.
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass,
But the liveliest bass in the lake.

We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to have crew,
There’s something for all of us here.
There’s big work to do and there’s lesser work too
And the task we must do is near.

If you can’t be a highway, then just be a trail.
If you can’t be the sun be a star.
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail.
Be the best of whatever you are.

Douglas Malloch

A Vow

I might not ever scale the mountain heights
Where all the great men stand in glory now;
I may not ever gain the world’s delights
Or win a wreath of laurel for my brow;
I may not gain the victories that men
Are fighting for, nor do a thing to boast of;
I may not get a fortune here, but then.
The little that I have I’ll make the most of.

I’ll make my little home a palace fine.
My little patch of green a garden fair.
And I shall know each humble plant and vine
As rich men know their orchid blossoms rare.
My little home may not be much to see;
Its chimneys may not tower far above;
But it will be a mansion great to me,
For in its walls I’ll keep a hoard of love.

I will not pass my modest pleasures by
To grasp at shadows of more splendid things,
Disdaining what of joyousness is nigh
Because I am denied the joy of kings.
But I will laugh and sing my way along,
I’ll make the most of what is mine to-day,
And if I never rise above the throng,
I shall have lived a full life anyway.

Edgar A. Guest
A little stone

How Happy Is The Little Stone

How happy is the little Stone
That rambles in the Road alone,
And doesn’t care about Careers
And Exigencies never fears —
Whose Coat of elemental Brown
A passing Universe put on,
And independent as the Sun
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute Decree
In casual simplicity —

Emily Dickinson

If You Want To Be Happy

If you want to be happy,
begin where you are.
Don’t wait for some rapture
that’s future and far.
Begin to be joyous,
Begin to be glad,
And soon you’ll forget that
You were ever sad.

If you want to be happy,
Begin where you are.
Your windows to sunlight
And sweetness unbar;
If dark seems the day,
light a candle of cheer,
Till its steady flame brightens
Each heart that comes near.

If you want to be happy,
begin where you are.
Tune up daily discords
Till out of their jar
New harmony rises
Rejoicing and sweet,
And onward, in music,
Go every your feet.

If you want to be happy,
Begin where you are.
God sets in each sky
Heaven’s joy-bringing star.
Live bravely beneath it,
Through cloud and toward light
And under its radiance your path
Shall be bright.

Priscilla Leonard

Moonlight

It will not hurt me when I am old,
A running tide where moonlight burned
Will not sting me like silver snakes;
The years will make me sad and cold,
It is the happy heart that breaks.

The heart asks more than life can give,
When that is learned, then all is learned;
The waves break fold on jewelled fold,
But beauty itself is fugitive,
It will not hurt me when I am old.

Sara Teasdale
Happy woman on the hill, rising arms

Afternoon on a Hill

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down!

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Climbing

High up in the apple tree climbing I go,
With the sky above me, the earth below.
Each branch is the step of a wonderful stair
Which leads to the town I see shining up there.

Climbing, climbing, higher and higher,
The branches blow and I see a spire,
The gleam of a turret, the glint of a dome,
All sparkling and bright, like white sea foam.

On and on, from bough to bough,
The leaves are thick, but I push my way through;
Before, I have always had to stop,
But to-day I am sure I shall reach the top.

Today to the end of the marvelous stair,
Where those glittering pinacles flash in the air!
Climbing, climbing, higher I go,
With the sky close above me, the earth far below.

Amy Lowell

A Simple Plan

Simple Sam was a simple man.
He lived each day by a simple plan.
Enjoy your life and live while you can.
Make each day count and take a stand.

Stand on the left or stand on the right,
Whichever one you think is right.
Live each day as if your last.
Life’s too short and gone too fast.

Irwin Mercer
Heavy Alone

My Symphony

To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion,
to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich;
to study hard, think quietly,
talk gently, act frankly,
to listen to stars and birds,
to babes and sages,
with open heart,
to bear all cheerfully,
to all bravely await occasions,
hurry never.
In a word, to let the spiritual unbidden
and unconscious grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.

William Henry Channing

Short Poems About Being Yourself

Red head natural beauty enjoying the sun outdoor.

Life

Life is a mirror: if you frown at it,
it frowns back;
if you smile,
it returns the greeting.

William Makepeace Thackeray

The Best He Can

It is not always the doing well
That measures the fame of a man;
The hero is he, who the world can see
Is doing the best he can.

Unknown

For a Poet

I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
And laid them away in a box of gold;
Where long will cling the lips of the moth,
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth;
I hide no hate; I am not even wroth
Who found earth’s breath so keen and cold;
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
And laid them away in a box of gold.

Countee Cullen
Woman lying on the grass

Compensation

I should be glad of loneliness
And hours that go on broken wings,
A thirsty body, a tired heart
And the unchanging ache of things,
If I could make a single song
As lovely and as full of light,
As hushed and brief as a falling star
On a winter night.

Sara Teasdale

I am but a small-winged bird

I am but a small-winged bird:
But I will conquer the big world
As the bee-martin beats the crow,
By attacking it always from Above.

Sidney Lanier