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No, it’s not filing for divorce. It’s not minimalism, or homesteading, or cleaning out your closets. It’s not losing 50 pounds, or getting a degree, or remodeling your kitchen, or having more sex with your spouse, etc.

The fastest way to be happy is to accept things as they are now, and to decide to be happy. You actually have the power to be happy with your fat, bald husband who continually forgets your birthday! Or to be happy in spite of him. Whichever works for you. I’m not saying you have to do this. But I want you to know that YOU have so much power, and you probably don’t know you do. So, listen up. You have the power to have a good life even if everybody in your life is doing everything wrong.

Happiness is a moving target. Remember when you thought you would be happy when you got married? And you thought you would be happy when you had children? You thought you would be happy when you got a raise; when you lost that weight, etc. etc. And yes, you were happy. But then you weren’t. What changed? You did. Or more specifically, your expectations changed.

Remember that old fairy tale about the fisherman’s wife, and her constant dissatisfaction with her life? It’s a very human story and it shows us all what we do without even thinking about it. We raise our expectations and become irritated and dissatisfied with our current situation. When we think about it, most of us have a long list of things to be grateful for.

When we spend time being grateful, happiness becomes a frequent visitor in our lives. When we spend time striving for what we are not getting, we become frustrated and angry, and yes, mean to the people we are closest to. Is it right to be angry with your spouse because he/she is different from you and won’t do what you want? No, it is not. None of us has the right to “remodel” another person to our own specifications. I am not talking about tolerating physical abuse! I am talking about being angry because your spouse is not a good cook, or doesn’t make enough money, etc.

You can decide to be happy with what you have. You can decide to be happy with your spouse, as he/she is right now. You can decide to love yourself, warts and all. And you can do it in an instant. Once you understand the power and role of expectations in your life, YOU are in charge – not that frustrating moving target, and the awful experience of being at someone else’s mercy for YOUR HAPPINESS.