Life Lesson Poems

Life Lesson Poems

Poems about Life Lessons

It has been said that life is the most patient teacher. You will be presented with the same experience over and over until you learn the best way to deal with the situation. This is not because life is cruel. Rather, it is because things have a way of coming back to haunt us when we don't deal with them. One form of intelligence is the ability to learn from mistakes. When you are presented with a painful experience, take the time to think about how you can avoid it in the future. This is an example of a lesson learned.

83 Poems about Lessons Learned from Mistakes

  1. 1. Life Lines

    The best use of a list poem may be to pass along a lifetime of lessons, learned from experience and through the examples of others who have inspired me. Enjoy these and perhaps use them to make your own.

    A Lifetime Of Learning

    Walk where you have never been
    and wonder at the beauty of this world.

    Wish for the best, but work,
    and for its own reward.

    Give more than you receive
    and share of it.

    Be moderate in all things,
    except goodness.

    Wait your turn
    and, on occasion, give it away.

    Learn, if just to know,
    grow wise.

    Dream often,
    and find a way to live your fondest.

    Do all you can
    never to hurt another.

    Help someone daily;
    it will heal your hurt as well.

    Find something you enjoy;
    it takes but one to make you happy.

    Read,
    for a book can change your life.

    Write your own story,
    you may change another's world.

    Restore something old
    and treasure it.

    Reward freely,
    repay always.

    The greatest dignity is in the respect
    given to one who is humble.

    Obey and serve,
    when it is due.

    Always do what is right,
    but do so ever with kindness.

    Be confident in yourself
    and humble before all others.

    Befriend those who need,
    for they can be the truest.

    Love wholly and long
    one who is worthy.

    Give and receive love fully,
    for that is the breath of life.

    Be kind to all who will accept it,
    and be fair to all others.

    Beware that some are not good
    and avoid, but never fear them.

    Believe in something better,
    and live to make it true.

    Dig in good earth;
    sow new life.

    Reap with pride;
    cook for pleasure.

    Live fully within each moment you have,
    for time will not return the chance.

    Laugh out loud,
    listen always.

    Know the taste of longing
    and the joy of play.

    Listen to the music
    you can find in silence.

    Sing for the joy of it,
    dance for its freedom.

    Pray, even when it hard to believe,
    for man was not meant to be alone.

    Save for tomorrow,
    each day.

    Share from your heart
    and with your hands.

    Forgive as you can,
    for we are all only human.

    Accept what you cannot change,
    remember warmly and wisely.

    Stand for something that matters,
    treasure memories most of all.

    Trust when you can,
    but doubt when you ought.

    Know that despite it all,
    life is good.

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  3. 2. These Stories We Wear

    these stories we wear –

    scars,
    stretchmarks,
    wrinkles,

    are wrongly labelled
    as imperfections.

    but aren’t they such beautiful,
    courageous signs
    of how we have lived?

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  5. 3. I Still Matter

    I never thought I would, but since I turned 60, I have been struggling with growing old and all the emotions that entails.

    Dealing With Growing Old

    I'M STILL HERE

    My looks are nothing special,
    My face reveals my age,
    My body shows some wear and tear,
    And my energy's not the same.

    Too often my memory fails me,
    And I lose things all the time.
    One minute I know what I plan to do,
    And the next it may just slip my mind.

    I try hard to avoid my mirror.
    There are things I would rather not see,
    And even those times when I just catch a glimpse,
    I can no longer recognize me.

    The things I used to do with ease
    Can now cause aches and pains,
    And the quality of the things I do
    Will never be quite the same.

    I always compare my older self
    To those younger versions of me,
    And I know I'm wasting too much time
    Missing who I used to be.

    But the thing that really makes me sad
    Is despite what people see,
    Underneath my tattered, worn out shell,
    I'm still the same old me.

    My heart can still feel endless love,
    And at times it still can ache.
    My heart can fill with so much joy,
    And then it can suddenly break.

    My soul can still feel sympathy
    And longs for forgiveness and peace,
    And there are times its light shines boldly through,
    And times when it longs for release.

    It's true, maybe now that I'm older,
    Feeling lonely may be status quo,
    But it also has made me more willing
    To forgive and let past conflicts go.

    So maybe to some I look ugly and old,
    A person who barely exists.
    I'm still quite aware of the beauty inside,
    And my value should not be dismissed.

    So although not as strong and no beauty, it's true,
    I'm still here and want so much to live,
    And I know that there's no one in this world quite like me,
    And no one who has more to give.

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    Latest Shared Story

    This poem really hit home with me. I will be 60 on my next birthday and it seems like years fly by like days. I too look in the mirror and wonder where all the lines and wrinkles have came...

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  6. 4. You Don't Have To Be A Doormat

    I wrote this about myself when I realized that since I've grown older, I'm less uncomfortable defending myself.

    Respecting Yourself

    When I was young and insecure,
    And desperate to be liked.
    I tended to withdraw in pain
    And flee instead of fight.

    All I wanted was to get along.
    Conflict was not my style.
    So despite what people did to me,
    I took it with a smile.

    So whenever someone hurt me,
    I'd stuff those feelings deep inside.
    Forgive but not forget it,
    Just take it all in stride.

    But anger tends to fester.
    It's not so easy to control.
    Just like a dormant bomb that's lit,
    One day it will explode.

    I've suffered many sad regrets.
    I've felt my share of shame
    For releasing all my pent-up ire
    On the ones who weren't to blame.

    So I would not advise this practice
    Now that I've grown old and wise.
    I've learned a great deal in my time,
    And there's some truths I realized.

    In life you must be tolerant,
    But you also must be strong.
    You don't have to be a doormat
    When someone does you wrong.

    You must carefully pick your battles,
    Knowing when to let things go.
    Don't seek revenge or try to hurt,
    For what you reap you'll sow.

    Don't back down but don't attack,
    Hold your tongue but speak your mind.
    You can defend yourself and others,
    And still manage to be kind.

    It's important that you love yourself.
    This is the love that must come first.
    If you can't see how grand you are,
    Then no one else will see your worth.

    A good rule of thumb to follow,
    Show the world by what you do -
    That you will gladly give respect
    But will expect the same for you!

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  7. 5. Speak The Language Of Your Heart

    Too often in life, we fail to tell our loved ones how important they are to us. We need to do that every day before it's too late.

    Tell Others How You Feel

    Each day we wake is such a gift;
    No moment's guaranteed.
    Tomorrow isn't promised,
    But to fate we must concede.

    We cannot know our futures,
    How long or short our lives.
    We simply do the best we can
    Until the end arrives.

    And in life, what's most important,
    In the scheme of every day,
    Are the people who stand by our sides
    As we venture on our way.

    Those cherished, loyal, patient souls,
    Who take us as we are,
    Who look beyond our foolishness,
    Our frailties and our scars.

    How often do we take the time
    To lay our hearts down bare
    And tell them how we truly feel
    And just how much we care?

    Do we freely give a compliment
    And acknowledge efforts made?
    Or do our own quite fragile egos
    Make us feel far too afraid?

    Have we tried to overcome our pride
    And forgive another's wrongs?
    Or do we cling to hurt and anger
    And carry grudges far too long?

    Do we share our blessings willingly
    With those who are in need?
    Or do we hoard our own good fortune
    Out of selfishness and greed?

    It's the people all around us
    Who make us who we are.
    It is they who save our erring souls
    And fill our lonely hearts.

    So it's time we show some gratitude
    And not wait another day.
    For before we even know it,
    Our chance may slip away.

    It's past time to say I love you
    And forgive another's sins.
    We must let ourselves be vulnerable
    By letting others in.

    For one day, tomorrow will not come;
    We may not meet again.
    For inevitably, for each of us,
    It all comes to an end.

    So go ahead and say the words;
    Make today a start.
    Don't regret your silence;
    Share the language of your heart.

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    Latest Shared Story

    This touches my heart deeply. I believe life is more about what "IS" rather than the what "WAS" with unresolved issues between family or friends. I am in recovery with four estranged...

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  8. 6. Good Timber

    Douglas Malloch (1877-1938), known as the "Lumbermen's Poet," compares good men to good timber in this famous metaphorical poem. The message of this poem is that people, like trees, grow and reach their true potential by overcoming adversity. It is only through struggles, like a tree fighting through forest growth to reach the sun, that we grow and discover our true potential. Malloch lived in Michigan where he grew up amongst logging camps and lumber yards. He wrote his first published poem when he was still a boy; it was published in the Detroit News.

    The tree that never had to fight
    For sun and sky and air and light,
    But stood out in the open plain
    And always got its share of rain,
    Never became a forest king
    But lived and died a scrubby thing.

    The man who never had to toil
    To gain and farm his patch of soil,
    Who never had to win his share
    Of sun and sky and light and air,
    Never became a manly man
    But lived and died as he began.

    Good timber does not grow with ease,
    The stronger wind, the stronger trees,
    The further sky, the greater length,
    The more the storm, the more the strength.
    By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
    In trees and men good timbers grow.

    Where thickest lies the forest growth
    We find the patriarchs of both.
    And they hold counsel with the stars
    Whose broken branches show the scars
    Of many winds and much of strife.
    This is the common law of life.

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    Poetry is a passionate way of expressing our innermost thoughts, emotions, spirit, and love, amongst other things. As I read this poem, I thought of a very humble gentleman who lost his...

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  9. 7. We Are All Human

    This poem talks about how similar we are. In the end, we are all only human and doing the best we can.

    Trying To Understand Each Other

    I've lived quite a while and learned quite a bit
    About life and this world where we live.
    I've found that it's filled with both good and the bad.
    Some who take, while some others will give.

    There's a balance to life in the way it unfolds.
    That's a truth that we all come to know.
    They'll be times we endure some unbearable days
    And sleepless nights filled with anger and woe.

    Then come those moments of utter contentment,
    When it all seems to fall into place,
    When all that you are seems so right with the world,
    You feel all of your pain's been erased.

    We spend so much time on a quest for ourselves,
    Searching for that internal peace.
    And on each of our paths we may misstep and fall,
    But our need for the answers won't cease.

    We're composed and we're driven by our hearts and souls.
    Our beliefs grow from what we've been taught.
    Our dreams are all nurtured by the things that we see,
    And our morals from the fights we have fought.

    We all look so different; we all have our ways,
    And at times we just can't understand
    That inside we're no different, our humanities the same,
    And we all do the best that we can.

    Feelings of sadness, grief, joy, and pain,
    Feeling lonely and empty and scared.
    We each have these feelings, no matter our lives,
    And we all yearn for someone to care.

    It's that not understanding each other
    Fosters the feelings of hate,
    So we must take the time to learn all that we can,
    While forgiving each other's mistakes.

    Yes, I've learned quite a lot in my 63 years,
    And to look well beyond what I see
    To embrace and respect everyone as they are,
    And hope that they'll do that for me.

    The world won't stop spinning, and the sun will still rise.
    There will always be conflict and strife,
    But accepting we're all only human
    Will make this a much better life.

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  10. 8. Time Keeps Marching On

    The poem is about how time passes and what's really important is how we've used that time.

    Reflecting On The Passage Of Time

    Time passes all so quickly,
    Moments melting into years.
    It's true, time waits for no one,
    And the end is always near.

    We live a life so tenuous,
    So easily it's gone.
    And no matter what we each endure,
    Time keeps marching on.

    We take refuge in the moment,
    And we cling to every day.
    We pretend it's all forever,
    Just to keep the end at bay.

    We hearken back to childhood,
    When the world was filled with treasures,
    And our lives and what the future held
    Was beyond what we could measure.

    When our family was our everything,
    There was still no place like home.
    And with our best friends by our sides,
    We came into our own.

    And though we took our private paths,
    We all have kept in mind
    That in life our greatest struggle,
    Is our battle against time.

    Will we get to know what true love is?
    Will we have the things we need?
    Will we conquer all our greatest fears?
    Will we fail or will we succeed?

    And then as we grow older,
    And the future shrinks away,
    Our lives become more memories
    And less about today.

    We share our wisdom and our hope
    With the children in our lives,
    And say good-bye to those we loved,
    Who once stood by our side.

    But there's a peace in growing old,
    As time becomes more dear.
    And who we are and why we're here
    Becomes so crystal clear.

    And we see time is not the enemy,
    But how that time was lived.
    And if we took all that we could,
    Or gave all that we could give.

    For in our final hours,
    As our time begins to wane.
    The goodness that our soul's bestowed,
    Is all that shall remain.

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    Another lovely poem, Patricia - keep them coming. Very best wishes, Ann

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  11. 9. Life Will Bloom When It Is Ready

    I keep pulling
    on my roots
    urging them to grow
    impatient for the bloom
    and the sunshine
    and the growth
    but it doesn’t work like that
    tears flow, soil drenches and dries
    there have to be some slower days
    some rainfall, even snow
    —life will bloom when it is ready

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  12. 10. Keep On Smiling

    • By Alexandra Skiathitis
    •  Published by Family Friend Poems February 2008

    What a smile can do

    If at times you feel you want to cry
    And life seems such a trial,
    Above the clouds there's a bright blue sky,
    So make your tears a smile.

    As you travel on life's way
    With its many ups and downs,
    Remember it's quite true to say
    One smile is worth a dozen frowns.

    Among the world's expensive things,
    A smile is very cheap.
    And when you give a smile away,
    You get one back to keep.

    Happiness comes at times to all,
    But sadness comes unbidden,
    And sometimes a few tears must fall
    Among the laughter hidden.

    So when friends have sadness on their face
    And troubles round them piled,
    The world will seem a better place
    And all because you smiled.

    Keep On Smiling

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    Latest Shared Story

    So I moved and I really wanted good friends. I had this one friend who was always happy and could light up a room by walking in. He was always smiling and this poem reminded me of him. Thank you.

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  13. 11. Each Moment Is Precious

    I wrote this poem to express the importance of each moment in life and living it to the fullest.

    Living In The Present Moment

    Live in the moment,
    Just take it all in.
    Pay attention to everything,
    Right there and right then.

    Don't let your mind wander
    To what's coming next.
    Cherish this moment
    And give it your best.

    Don't let tomorrow
    Make you rush through today,
    Or too many great moments
    Will just go to waste.

    And the person you're with,
    In that moment you share,
    Give them all of your focus;
    Be totally there.

    Laugh till it hurts,
    Let the tears drop.
    Fill up each moment
    With all that you've got.

    Don't miss the details;
    The lesson is there.
    Don't get complacent;
    Stay sharp and aware.

    It can take but a moment
    To change your life's path.
    And once it ticks by,
    There is no going back.

    In just 60 seconds,
    You may make a new friend.
    Find your true love,
    Or see a life start or end.

    You become who you are
    In those moments you live.
    And the growth's not in taking
    But in how much you give.

    Life is just moments,
    So precious and few.
    Whether valued or squandered,
    It's all up to you!

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    Latest Shared Story

    That was touching. It really said my whole life. I'm too busy with everything and I'm memorizing this to my heart. I'm busy with school. I take too much time thinking about tomorrow than...

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  14. 12. Love After Love

    Much of the inspiration for Derek Walcott's poetry comes from the history of Saint Lucia, where he was born. This poem has a theme of accepting yourself as you are. Before you can love others, you need to love yourself.

    The time will come
    when, with elation,
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror,
    and each will smile at the other's welcome,

    And say, sit here. Eat.
    You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
    Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
    to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

    all your life, whom you ignored
    for another, who knows you by heart.
    Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

    the photographs, the desperate notes,
    peel your own image from the mirror.
    Sit. Feast on your life.

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    My husband died 10 years ago. He was the love of my life, my soul-mate, my best friend. I have not known how to 'adjust' to him being gone until I read this poem, "Love After Love." Everyone...

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  15. 13. Changing The Past

    • By Donna
    •  Published by Family Friend Poems July 2011

    What inspired me to write this poem was my brother. He was going through some bad stuff, but it was fixable. It wasn't as bad as what a lot of people go through in this world. Actually, he selfishly brought it on himself. I tried to talk to him as much as I could, but he wouldn't listen. He refused to let it go. He just kept holding onto it. When I couldn't get through to him, I wrote this poem because I needed to write my feelings down, and this is what came out. Hopefully you enjoy it.

    Poem About Letting Go Of The Past

    The past is the past for a reason.
    That is where it is supposed to stay,
    But some cannot let it go.
    In their heads it eats away

    Until all their focus becomes
    The person they used to be,
    The mistakes they made in their life.
    Oh, if only they could see

    That you cannot change what happened,
    No matter how hard you try,
    No matter how much you think about it,
    No matter how much you cry.

    What happens in your lifetime
    Happens for reasons unknown,
    So you have to let the cards unfold.
    Let your story be shown.

    Don't get wrapped up in the negative.
    Be happy with what you have been given.
    Live for today not tomorrow.
    Get up, get out, and start living,

    Because the past is the past for a reason.
    It's been, and now it is gone,
    So stop trying to think of ways to fix it.
    It's done, it's unchangeable; move on.

    Poem About Letting Go Of The Past, Changing The Past

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    I really enjoyed this poem. It's so very true. We all have certain regrets or circumstances in life we would give anything to change if we could. Sometimes that is just not possible, and even...

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  16. 14. Family Circle

    • By Melissa G. Nicks
    •  Published by Family Friend Poems February 2006

    This poem is about the circle of life and the bittersweet realization of how time and life pass by so quickly.

    Cycle Of Life Poem

    When I am born, you are here
    In your eye, I see a tear
    Time flies and already I'm two
    "Look, Daddy, I can tie my shoe!"

    Before you know it, I'm five
    Every day, you thank God I'm alive
    Pretty soon, I turn eight
    You tell me I'm never allowed to date

    I'm already twelve in my preteen years
    Which means you'll help me with all my new fears
    Now fourteen with my permit to drive
    Waiting to hit the big one-five

    Too early comes sixteen, with my license now
    It went by too fast, you just ask how

    You want to meet my boyfriend when I'm eighteen
    I pray to God that you're not too mean
    The same guy two years later asks for my hand
    I'm relieved when you say, that's just grand

    About a year later, you walk me down the aisle
    Through all the tears, you bare a smile
    Three years later, you're gonna be a grandfather
    You show love and pride for your new granddaughter

    Another year down the road
    Mom dies, oh the many tears that flowed
    You're not doing so well without her
    Less than a year later, you forgot all about her

    Alzheimer's sets in and it scares me so
    Not long after, you decide to go
    Now I'm regretting not saying goodbye
    Every time I think about it, I start to cry

    The cycle has begun again
    It has started over with little Megan
    The other day, she turned two
    And said, "Look, daddy, I can tie my shoe!"

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    Wow! Words cannot describe the quality of this poem. It is touching and another thing is that it co-relates with life's reality. Thanks a lot and thumbs up for the great job!

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  17. 15. If You Must Go

    These are a few things I have learned from my experiences in life.

    Poem With Words Of Advice

    If you must go, then go for a while
    Remember that first step is a hard traveled mile.

    To learn what lessons life has in store,
    You must be willing to open each door.

    Don't be afraid to experience something new
    For each experience will be a benefit to you.

    Never live your life in the past
    Enjoy every day as if it were your last

    Mistakes you will make along the way
    Learn from them, and you'll be okay

    Set your goals high and strive for them
    As long as you try, you'll never be condemned

    Be kind and respect the people you meet
    For they may be the ones to make life complete

    Be sincere in everything you do
    And treat others as you wish they would you

    Whatever you do, make sure you're content
    For the last thing you want is something to resent

    So if you must go, then go for a while
    And when you return, return with a smile.

    Poem With Words Of Advice, If You Must Go

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    I, too, was motivated by your poem. Like Arimoon, I also allow my past to hold me back. I am so hard on myself for my past mistakes, regret, bad decisions, etc... but with each new day that...

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  18. 16. Perceptions

    Took a me a while, but after misjudging people and being misjudged myself a number of times, I've learned to be careful jumping to conclusions about others.

    Jumping To Conclusions About People

    First impressions can be strong
    About those we see around.
    Yet how often are they wrong?
    That is the truth I've found.

    Not all who cry are weak.
    Not everyone who looks can see.
    Not all who are quiet are meek.
    Not all who nod agree.

    Not all who snarl are cruel.
    Not everyone generous is just.
    Not everyone clumsy is a fool.
    Not all who wander are lost.

    We never know people's character.
    In just a single instance.
    We never know who people are
    By judging from a distance.

    But whether we like it or not,
    We'll always be around people.
    Is it better to know a few people a lot
    Or a lot of people a little?

    I'd rather know a few people a lot
    Than a lot of people a little.

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    What a wonderful piece of writing. I love it! I agree with it. In my early 20's I worked in a convenience store, and I had a game I played where I would judge whether the customer would be...

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  19. 17. True Joy

    How to live in the present...

    I'll be happy once I've done this certain thing.
    We all say this often, not realizing what it brings.
    We look only to the future for our happiness,
    Letting life slip through our fingers in its fullness.
    Will we really feel complete when the task is done
    or look back and see how we missed so much fun?
    Self consumed so we can't see anything else,
    hurting those we love as well as ourselves.
    So many things around us to be grateful for.
    When seeking for an answer, willingly open the door.
    So often, others see what's in front of our face,
    but we're too blind to look as we're snared in the race.
    What is this life supposed to be about?
    Is it money, fortune, fame, or a big house?
    When speaking to a man on his dying bed,
    none of these answers are what he said.
    Family, love, laughter are what we should seek.
    These are the precious things that keep life from being bleak.

    True Joy

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    Well thought out expression of a very deep yet communal event given voice in an authentic poetry format. Deeply set me thinking about my father's recent death. It's an experience that bind...

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  20. 18. Teach Them Well

    You are not defined
    by the way other people
    see you
    treat you
    love you

    You are defined
    by the way you
    see yourself
    treat yourself
    love yourself

    Others will do unto you
    as you teach them how to;
    teach them well

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  21. 19. Forgiveness Is Divine

    This poem is about people who hold on to grudges and can't forgive and how destructive that is.

    The Power Of Forgiveness

    Some people view forgiveness
    As a virtue for the weak.
    An act of mercy undeserved,
    That serves no useful need.

    They stand firmly in their judgment
    And won't consider a mistake.
    They prefer to hold a senseless grudge
    Than accept amends when made.

    They feel they have some godly right
    To reject and criticize.
    They're possessed by righteous anger,
    And consumed by pointless pride.

    They're focused on how they've been wronged,
    And won't be made the fool again.
    So they feel they must avenge themselves
    By refusing to give in.

    They will sacrifice their family,
    Or forsake a long-time friend.
    Do anything they have to do
    To be the winner in the end.

    Or perhaps it's that they can't resolve
    The depth of all their hurt,
    Caused when someone they've trusted,
    Left them questioning their worth.

    But no matter why the struggle,
    Out of pride or out of fear,
    Not being able to forgive
    Can cause the loss of ones most dear.

    Yes, forgiveness is a virtue,
    They even say it is divine.
    But more than that it sets you free
    From what weighs you down inside.

    The best way to approach this life
    Is to ask forgiveness and to forgive.
    There's a balance to this crazy world,
    So live and just let live.

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    Hi Pat,
    I was so pleased to wake this morning and find one of your poems. Everything you write comes from your heart. I have commented to you before of how I enjoy your poems and I feel...

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  22. 20. Truth

    I am a mother to two 40+ year old meth addicts. This is for the moms I met in NA who blamed themselves for choices their adult children make. After 30 years of trying, I know this...you cannot help a meth addict. Not with love or money. You cannot fix a meth addict, no matter how many times you try. Moreover, you did not cause them to be a meth addict. Only they can "fix it." All you can do is place them into God's hands and let go with love, for your child and mostly for yourself.

    Poem About Forgiving Yourself

    There comes a time in all our lives
    when truth will set us free,
    so live each day as though you know
    your last it may well be.
    And when you make mistakes, my friend,
    as we're all sure to do,
    be not so quick to judge yourself
    and lay all of that blame on you,
    for none of us are perfect.
    We know that from the start.
    Just do your best from day to day,
    and listen to your heart.

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    I just love this poem it is so true and yes it has touched me!

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