In order to know happiness you need to also know sadness, hurt and pain. Unless you know hurt, you can't know it's opposite happiness or appreciate it. After going through bad times, you need to be able to get past them and allow yourself new experiences to return to happiness.
I went through a painful marriage and divorce and it took away almost all of my self esteem. Starting all over and beginning again was terrifying. Thank God for giving me a son, because it is through my son I started to regain my self esteem. I had to support him so worked hard and through my job my self esteem grew even greater. You need to take small steps and keep doing the best you can and most of all, pat yourself on the back when you take a step. I realized I was a good mother giving me strength to make life better for both of us. I loved my job because it made it possible for me to support my son and myself and it showed me I had great worth. I was good at what I did and my self esteem just kept on growing until I could look forward and not have to look at the past, the hurt, or the pain.
My lesson is that you must know sadness to know joy. You must know hurt to know happiness. You must pat yourself on the back, because often no one else will. Your road to happiness is to take small steps that you can be successful at so your self esteem can continue to grow and take pride in who you are. Do not stand still any longer than necessary. Keep taking those small steps forward.
Also remember happiness is sometimes very small things all around us. Take time to look for it and appreciate it. Peace is a very quiet happiness. I find peace in a thousand little things a day and it all adds up to a happy day.
Be happy and God bless you.