I grew up in a hot-blooded, short-tempered, angry, southern Italian family. I learned to fight with my brothers at a young age. We yelled and screamed and fought with each other or with anyone else who crossed our path over the smallest things. Any excuse to vent the powerful destructive feeling of rage that steamed inside us. I have worked with my brothers almost every day for the past 12 years in our family-owned business, but I didn't know my anger was a problem until I met Sharon.

Sharon was my fiancée. We dated for six years. Sharon was a kind person. She never swore or raised her voice. Sharon used to look out for my best interest. She cared for me. I can remember how Sharon liked to have fun, how she laughed all the time.

I also remember when I would come home after a fight with my family. I would look for any reason to fight with Sharon. My abusive, evil, hurtful words would spit out of my mouth right at her.

Day after day I vowed to Sharon I would stop getting so angry. But as soon as Sharon did something I didn't agree with, or as soon as she didn't agree with something I did, that powerful and uncontrollable feeling of rage would build inside me again and I would lash out. I couldn't stop my anger and unhappiness and Sharon finally left me.

My discontent, unhappy and angry life became progressively worse. I became a victim of my own agitated mind. I blamed society and my family for all my unhappiness. Thoughts of blame, self-loathing and negativity stormed in my head in a whirlwind of confusion. I became a slave to my addictions. However, it didn't matter how much marijuana I smoked or how much alcohol I drank, or who I slept with, or how much money I made, or how many trips I took, or what books I read, or what psychologist I went to see. I couldn't stop my dissatisfaction with life or my anger.

I wanted answers but I didn't know where to turn, so I decided to call upon my mom, who I knew practiced Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) for some support. I had witnessed fantastic changes in her attitude toward life since she started practicing Falun Dafa. I told her how I felt. How I was so confused and tired of going around in the same vicious circles of negativity over and over again, and that I needed help. My mom smiled and gave me a copy of Zhuan Falun. With all her love and compassion she said very simply to me, "Start to read this book. All of your answers are in this book."

I followed my mom's advice. I started to read the book and do the exercises. I vowed I would dedicate myself to read a little of the book each day. and also do the full set of the exercises at least twice a week for the next six months.

Zhuan Falun is the hardest book I ever tried to read. It pushed all of my buttons. As soon as I started to read thoughts of judgement and doubt filled my head. I judged and criticized what I read. I doubted the teaching. I found all kinds of things in the book I didn't agree with, all sorts of things that went against my beliefs or didn't understand. The more I tried to figure it out with my intellectual mind the more lost I became. It made no sense to me. However, I was determined to stay true to my six-month goal, so whenever I came across something I didn't understand or didn't agree with I just put those things aside and continued to read with an open mind.

As soon as I began the exercises I felt so tired and so lazy. My mind wandered to thousands of thoughts and desires and away from the exercises. I got so restless when I sat for the sitting exercise. The music would start to play. I crossed my legs. I closed my eyes. I felt calm. I sat for a while. Then, I would spring up and walk into the kitchen to check my phone messages.

When I finished, I sat again ready to start. The music started to play. I crossed my legs. I closed my eyes. I felt calm. I sat for a while. Then I would spring up again and run into the kitchen to drink some water.

I finally made up my mind I would sit for the full hour. The music started to play. I crossed my legs. I closed my eyes. I sat for a while. My mind raced full of thoughts and pictures and desires. The pain in my legs became so intense I had to stop. I felt defeated. I then realized I had no self-control.

But three-quarters of the way through the book I felt the power of Zhuan Falun. I became aware of character traits in myself that I had never seen before.I realized I grew up a very insecure, dissatisfied and selfish person. I was never happy with who I was or what I had. I always wanted more. I judged and criticized everyone I met. I looked at people as objects for my own needs. What benefit could they possibly give to me? Were they good enough? Were they smart enough? Were they attractive enough? Could they make me any money?

My life purpose was to strive and stress to succeed for more money, for bigger and better things, to compete and struggle for my own personal interest and to win at any cost.

I constantly tried to win the approval of others as I lived my life according to their expectations while my relationships ended up in conflict as I harshly judged and criticized those who didn't live up to my approval or expectations.