Do you remember some of your beautiful childhood memories? Do you remember the joy you felt all the times you played with your friends? Do you remember how fast you used to become angry, and how fast you forgot what you were angry about? OK, one more… Do you remember how happy you were when you ate candy? When we were kids, being happy came easy. What about now? Are you happy? As children we could have answered this question without hesitation. What happened to us?

I shared the same question with a friend who seems to have it all. He answered with great enthusiasm, "Of course I am happy. I have everything I always dreamed of having." A few seconds later he added, "But, I believe I could be truly happy if only I had a better wife ..." Well, psychologists, philosophers, parents, poets, and many others have tried answering this question, as it is a simple, yet complex question. But to me, happiness is something different for each individual. Happiness can be something uncertain or difficult to achieve. However, overall, it is attainable.
I cannot remember how many times I was asked this question. Neither do I remember how many times I asked myself the same question, "Are you happy?" The truth is, nobody can answer that question better than you yourself can. Do not be a pessimist! Did you think I would give you the answer so easily? Allow me to ask a question, “Why do you wake up each morning?” (Is it because of money, love, health, obligation, fame, family, etc.)?

There was a man, 43 years of age with a family and good job, but yet he was always sad. No one understood the reason for his sadness. In prayers, he asked God to send him lots of money to enjoy when he became old. Early one Sunday morning, he went into the forest to pray. On his return home, he found a small old chest in the bushes. When he opened the small old chest, he noticed that it was full of gold coins. Overwhelmingly happy, he placed the box inside his jacket, and with great excitement he ran home. After digging a deep hole behind his house —not sharing his discovery with anyone— he buried the chest. That afternoon his wife and children saw the new happiness in his face, and even though they did not understand it, they welcome his positive change.

However in the evening, robbers who followed him that morning dug up the small old chest that was buried. They removed the small old chest with its contents and quickly proceeded to cover the hole, exactly as the man himself had previously left it. Months passed and the man was much happier every day, leaving everyone to wonder the reason for his change. Later, due to his dedication and skills he became the boss of bosses. Every day he thought of his wealth, while enjoying his family, his job, and his friendships. Without realizing that the small old chest was gone, every day he would give thanks to God for his blessings. As years went by he grew older and continued to enjoy the blessings in his life. Then one Sunday morning, he passed away in his sleep.

You have a choice. You can either choose to be the small chest, the robber or the happy man. You can always choose to be happy or unhappy. You can choose to enjoy today, complain about the life which you live now, or change your life to what you want it to be. Whether you wish to exercise your happiness or not, the final decision is yours. To take this a little further, here are three questions you should ask yourself:

1. What does happiness means to me? To be happy, you have to define it and understand what it means to you.

2. Do I enjoy the person that I am today? Do you respect or like the person you see in front of your mirror? Learn to forgive and accept what you are today, if you have not done so yet.

3. Do I give thanks for the things I already have? Be thankful for all you already have in your life (health, life, love, etc.).

If you try to blame the past, destiny, the universe, God, or others for the lack of happiness you have experience now, you will not find true happiness. If you are now happy or unhappy, this is because you decided it. Let me give you an example; if I offer you candy and you do not accept it, you are the one who chooses not to enjoy the delicious candy. However, if you accept the candy and you do not thank me, I may not feel the desire to offer you more of my delicious candy in the future. Happiness works likewise. If you stop for a moment and make calculations regarding the decisions you have made, you may realize that they have brought you exactly where you are today. It is all based on your actions, thoughts and words.

"Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present." (Jim Rohn).
Therefore, everything you think, speak or practice in the present affects your future. The good news is, if you are not happy now you can change it. Be happy by changing the way you think and act towards your own life. Your destiny is in your hands, not in the hands of your significant other, your parents, your boss, or your friends. God, the universe, your divine creator, is ready to give you everything you desire, and even more than you can imagine. But it is your choice to accept the candy called happiness if you want it, and when you want it.

If you are about to cross a bridge, do not think about the gap underneath the bridge, but think about how you will feel after crossing that bridge. Decide to be happy and always be honest with yourself. Give thanks for what you already have today, and tomorrow you may have much more to be thankful for. Always remember, you deserve to be happy!

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Author's Bio: 

Sandra Graves is a dynamic and energetic motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur, marketer, engineer, wife, mother, and friend. Sandra loves to share with her audience how overcoming her obstacles helped her achieved freedom, self-love, positive attitude and love for others. This Panamanian believes anyone can overcome fear and gain a positive attitude toward life. Sandra is passionate about inspiring others to define their dreams and pursue their passion. or