Every moment in life, you have a choice of whether you allow your mind to make you suffer or not.
In meditation, we learn to observe our thoughts and our feelings - in Dogen's words to "study the self" - and as a result to master our minds. Meditations are not exclusively for Buddhists. No matter what religion you follow, the practice of mindfulness can increase your state of happiness tremendously. It can become your tool to accept things as they are.
When I was five years old, I lost my father. One year later, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and died when I was nine. I was devastated, but I couldn't accept not having parents like other kids and lied to myself to ignore the pain... I acted as if nothing happened.
I started to use drugs and alcohol very early in my life as a coping mechanism and in a way continue to believe my lies. At some point, my addiction led me to wanting to kill myself. Luckily, I didn't and instead found the wonderful teachings of Buddhism, more specifically the practice of meditation. It wasn't all joy and happiness from the beginning, but it helped me to understand why I did certain things in certain ways. I realized that it is my choice to change the things I didn't like about myself and accept my story. Also, how helpful it actually is to just let myself feel all the pain hidden inside of me.
I hope that one day we all gain the tool of meditation to go to our true self and get rid of our ego to become someone more beautiful, compassionate and understanding.
Tashi Deleg, which means "blessings and good luck" in Tibetan.