Make a resolution to be happy

Of all the resolutions we might make, why not choose a happy life? Allow me to tell a true story. I call it the parable of the two taxi drivers!

I was in Philadelphia a couple of months ago to attend a conference with the sainted psychologist and psychotherapist Dr. Mike Boyle. Because our hotel was some distance from the International House, we had to take taxis.

The first morning, the driver was filled with joy. He had been driving a taxi for 33 years! He loved his job. He loved people. I asked him if he had ever been robbed and he replied: “Yeah, a couple of times guys held a gun at my head. I just gave them the money. No big deal.”

The next day we had another cab driver. But this driver complained constantly. He hated his job. He hated the city. People were no good! “I’m glad I only do this on weekends!”

An amazing parable of life, isn’t it? Both men were doing the same job: driving the same taxi and going the same route. One man was having the time of his life and bringing life to others. The other driver was making his own life miserable and sharing his misery with others!

What was the difference? Attitude. One chose to create his life despite the circumstances. The other let circumstances determine his life.

It’s so easy to blame, to complain and to make others wrong. That gives away the power over our own lives to things and people outside ourselves.

We gain back our power when we choose to create our own best life despite the circumstances. The famous psychologist Victor Frankil, who suffered in a Nazi concentration camp, once said: “The Nazis could take everything from me – my family, my property, my freedom and so on. But one thing they could not take from me – my attitude toward life!”

Of all the resolutions we might make for the New Year, I would encourage you to make one basic resolution for all years – choose to live your best life despite the circumstances of your life.

To help me do that, there’s a prayer that I say at the beginning of each new day. I choose prayer because my decision to live my best life is not just based on willpower, but on my relationship with a Higher Power. Here is my daily prayer:

“With your power and love, Lord, I give up complaining, and I am grateful. I give up pessimism, and I am optimistic. I stop judging harshly, and I think kind thoughts.

“With your power and love, Lord, I give up worry, and I trust in you. I give up discouragement, and I am full of hope. I give up bitterness, and I choose forgiveness.

“With your power and love, Lord, I give up anger, and I practice being patient. I give up gossiping, and I control my tongue. I give up being gloomy, and I enjoy the beauty around me.

“With your power and love, Lord, I choose to love rather than hate. I choose to smile rather than frown. I choose to build rather than destroy.

“With your power and love, Lord, I choose to persevere rather than quit. I choose to praise rather than condemn. I choose to heal rather than wound.”

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.