Dear Me, Get Outta My Way. Love, Me

Writing about a self-help book is an awkward experience.  I am exposing my own weaknesses online, while it is also terribly subjective.

Nevertheless, I found Resisting Happiness to run both hot, and cold.  But since I only care about positives, that’s what my focus will be on.  Written by Matthew Kelly, Resisting Happiness made me stop, and truly think, of how I live my life.

First as a man who believes in God, and next as a Catholic who could use a little work at his practice of faith.

But it wasn’t until I became acutely aware how much I need to put more stock in myself, and less in the expectations of others, that this book had its biggest impact on me.  Basically, I need to become a better version of myself.

This Catholic-based self-help book was a recommendation from a friend of my fiancée and mine. In her text, she sent a picture of her copy with nearly 90+ sheets dog-eared.  The book is 186 pages, people.  She was diggin’ it.

I gave it a go and enjoyed it, too.  In the interest of brevity, I will bullet point my favorite thoughts.  Some triggered an internal “OMG, yes!” and, others serving as gentle reminders.

  1. Everyone I meet is fighting a hard battle.  Be kind to them.
  2. Be gentle with ourselves.  If we cannot forgive ourselves, we will struggle to forgive others.  When we are gentle and patient with ourselves, we develop awareness, and awareness breeds compassion.  Everyone needs a little compassion.
  3. Take note of the moments when I was challenged to grow.  Be mindful of the decisions I made which left me in need of healing (this one is harder than it looks to me).
  4. Thy will be done.  I would pretty much call this an absolute imperative if I want to be better at the Catholic thing.
  5. It only takes 10 minutes a day to pray.
  6. Our lives change when our habits change.
  7. Wherever we find excellence, we find continuous learning.
  8. How many Sundays do I have left?  With the average life expectancy of 78.74 years, I have 1,536 left.  Life is short.  Never waste a day – Sunday or any other.
  9. Any type of inner slavery limits our ability to love ourselves, to love our God, and to love others.
  10. Delay gratification.   All of life’s regrets come from not having the discipline to overcome resistance and delay gratification in order to build a bigger future.

Additionally, I was influenced by the things people wished they had done when they learned they were dying.  He gives us 24, but there were only five that hit me hardest.

  • I wish I had paid less attention to other people’s expectations
  • I wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying about things that never happened
  • I wish I had cared less about what other people thought
  • I wish I had realized earlier that happiness is a choice
  • I wish I had taken better care of myself

Don’t get the wrong idea here.  I am not about to light an incense candle and dive impetuously into the glory and beauty of life and make a hundred changes.  What it does mean, however, is that as a man in his 40’s I can now have a deeper appreciation of those regrets.  It means that I have learned, once again, that I need to be patient with myself.  Lord knows, I need to not be as hard on myself as I am.  Possibly kinder?  Maybe more aware?  Then who knows what the future will hold.  Maybe this wonderfully blessed life of mine can become even better over time …

… provided I get out of my own way, and no longer resist my own happiness.