Being Happy Is Unselfish.

October 22nd, 2016

Research suggests that cultivating your own joy and happiness has benefits not just for you, but also for others in your life. When we are able to move beyond our own pain and suffering, we are more available to others; pain causes us to be extremely self-focused. Whether the pain is physical or mental, it seems to consume all of our focus and leave very little attention for others. In his book with the Dalai Lama, psychiatrist Howard Cutler summarized these findings: “In fact, survey after survey has shown that it is unhappy people who tend to be most self-focused and are socially withdrawn, brooding, and even antagonistic. Happy people, in contrast, are generally found to be more sociable, flexible, and creative, and are able to tolerate life’s daily frustrations more easily than unhappy people. And, most important, they are found to be more loving and forgiving than unhappy people.”

— Douglas Abrams, The Book of Joy, p. 62-63

Love Is an Inside Job.

October 10th, 2016

Through her own challenging experiences of both love and solitude, she had come to know that love is first and foremost an inside job — not in the sense of trying to love herself with positive affirmations but rather in becoming intimate with her own experience, with allowing herself to be transparent to herself and others rather than protecting her heart for fear of being known too well and then rejected.

She was also engaged in a creative and fulfilling life that she loved. As an individual ripens, becomes something in herself, as Rilke puts it, there is less need to find someone else to fill the missing gap. Athena wasn’t averse to an intimate relationship; on the contrary, she knew that she wanted one, but she didn’t need it.

— Roger Housden, Dropping the Struggle: Seven Ways to Love the Life You Have, p. 74-75

Mixed Joy

October 8th, 2016

When joy is colored sad, it’s because in the midst of sadness it comprehends something greater. When joy is mixed with fear, it’s because it smells victory in the offing. When joy’s heart breaks, it’s because joy feels free and safe enough to embrace everything, even the feeling of falling to pieces.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 25


October 6th, 2016

This rumble taught me why self-righteousness is dangerous. Most of us buy into the myth that it’s a long fall from “I’m better than you” to “I’m not good enough” — but the truth is that these are two sides of the same coin. Both are attacks on our worthiness. We don’t compare when we’re feeling good about ourselves; we look for what’s good in others. When we practice self-compassion, we are compassionate toward others. Self-righteousness is just the armor of self-loathing.

— BrenĂ© Brown, Rising Strong, p. 119

Obstacles to Joy

October 1st, 2016

It’s easier to let God’s law convict than to let His gospel set free. Two great obstacles to joy are guilt and grudge: Either we feel guilty about our own sin, or we bear a grudge against someone else. In each case we fail to grasp the gospel, which teaches that both conditions are entirely unnecessary, for they can be readily healed through forgiveness — either receiving it for ourselves or extending it to another. The prerequisite for forgiveness is our repentance.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 17-18

God’s Mercy

September 29th, 2016

That is what God’s mercy is like: a great light of love and tenderness because God forgives not with a decree, but with a caress.

— Pope Francis, The Name of God Is Mercy, p. xvi

There’s Not a Catch.

September 28th, 2016

We think joy is like sugar or chocolate and we’re only allowed so much.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 14

How Do I Want to Feel?

September 23rd, 2016

When it comes to feelings, the best strategy is to validate them (briefly) but put your focus on how you want to feel. This approach is more future-oriented and less susceptible to the feedback loop of past mistakes. More important, it invokes Adult brain values.

“I feel resentful, but I want to feel kind.” With this subtle but crucial shift in focus, past experiences of feeling kind are loaded into implicit memory. I recognize that I really like myself better at those times, because kindness is part of my value system. I imagine myself doing things that will bring those feelings to life, such as wishing others happiness and well-being. I practice allowing myself to be concerned with the well-being of my loved ones. I practice behaviors that embody my concern for them.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 106-107

Maturity and Affliction

September 22nd, 2016

Yes, our maturity certainly involves doing the things Jesus did. Healing and all. But that maturity also involves becoming like him in the transformation of our character. It involves holiness — loving God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. Being willing to suffer the loss of everything for him. Choosing him in the midst of suffering. Which is to say, having within us the character of Jesus. And how does God shape our character? We hate the answer, but we know it to be true: affliction.

— John Eldredge, Moving Mountains, p. 224

God’s Love Is Personal.

September 19th, 2016

Realize that God loves you as an individual, not simply in the abstract. God cares about you personally, much as a close friend would. Remember how God speaks to you in personal, intimate ways, in your daily life and in prayer, which only you can appreciate. This is a sign of God’s personal love for you.

— James Martin, S. J., The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, p. 385.