If (Rudyard Kipling)

This poem is a wonderful mantra for living your life with truth, integrity and wisdom.  I’ve always felt that if the very last line read:  “And – which is more – you’ll be a success in your divorce,” this poem would be the perfect summary of what it takes to get through divorce without losing your focus.

In the third stanza, it talks of risking all your winnings on “one turn of pitch-and-toss.” This is so like marriage.  We put all our eggs in one basket and we sometimes lose this bet we’ve made, but as Kipling says, “start again at your beginnings and never breath a word about your loss.” I think he means:  have the courage to begin again without overly dwelling on your loss.

He tells us to “force your heart and nerve and sinew” and to “Hold On” even when you feel like there’s nothing left in you, even when you can’t yet see what the future holds. This is exactly what I tell my clients.  Just hold on, it will get better, the future will unfold.  It feels like your life is over right now, but it really isn’t.  A new chapter will gradually unfold, it will take time, but there is so much love and new beginnings ahead for you.

I hope this poem will provide strength and inspiration as you walk through your divorce and face the on-going struggles that come with co-parenting children together.

by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

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;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!