When I was 20, a friend described me as “happy go lucky.” Ten years later, I found myself on the brink of a depression that was to last for the majority of my 30s. It crippled me professionally, put friendships at risk, and made romantic relationships impossible. In a short amount of time, I had become a person who was lost and hopeless.
As I looked deeper into myself, I realized that my depression was based less on external events and more on the person that I was inside. The seeds of my unhappiness had always been present in my mind. It had just taken a few disappointments to make them grow.
My depression was worsened by my natural anxiety issues, but even more so by a streak of negativity that I had always carried with me. I had always thought that I viewed my life objectively, when really I was a complete pessimist. The combination of these elements put me into a downward spiral – or perhaps more accurately, a plunge. My life simply got worse and worse.
I finally saw that I owed it to myself to fight against this with every resource I had, as well as with every resource I could find. In this process, I discovered a wealth of ways to deal with my depression and negativity. One result is that I am now a happy person, with an inner reservoir of peace of mind, and an outlook on life that is both optimistic and realistic. Another result is this book, in which I’ll tell you what worked for me and what can work for you.
You can think of this book as a map, a diagram, or whatever you wish. I myself think of it as a guide. The path to peace of mind and happiness is rocky and full of pitfalls. Life is an ongoing sequence of conflict and confrontation, of moments that comprise the full spectrum from happiness to suffering. Whatever life may be, it is not, in itself, peaceful. It is, as Marcus Aurelius says above, a warfare. And hence I do not try to tell you that you will get happier by simply believing in peace and positivity. To get happier, you will need to learn how to fight against the forces of negativity, and how to win. In this learning process, you will empower yourself, developing inner peace and a positive perspective.