Breakup to Business: From Depression to Self Dependent
DID MY BREAKUP INSPIRE MY BUSINESS?
I used to cry on the street corners of Tel Aviv A LOT, is my typical response when anyone asks me about why I started my business. I was in a down spell and had just broken up with my first true love. The kind of love that blows your heart up with hope and happily ever afters.
I remember that the completely unexpected but totally necessary news hit me in the face like a truck of protein bars. After four years of being messily magnificent together, it took only four months of living under the same roof to unravel. We were breaking up. I didn’t know what was worse - the uncomfortable, unbearable pain within my heart - or the fact that I was going to need to apartment hunt in Tel Aviv, again.
After the most mature breakup I’ve ever experienced, I turned into this depressed, stressed and Sex and the City-obsessed creature who malnourished her cells with cigarettes, chocolate and copious amounts of alcohol. I was numbing straight down the dark breakup hole where I would find myself for months on end.
He had been my everything in Tel Aviv. He was every cafe on the corner, every street sign, every taxi, every burger bar. Yet now, I needed to find a way to make this city my own.
I had always thought of myself as a strong, independent woman, but I felt like a fraud. Sure, I was strong (read: stubborn AF). Sure, I was independent - hell, I moved to a new country by myself - so how had I allowed myself to fall so deeply into his world that I had stopped creating my own?
I had become so focused on his needs that I had forgotten to manage my own. It was only in hindsight that I realized just how much I had become dependent on him for my happiness.
Dealing with Depression
I went to the doctor at my darkest point. She listened to me for about five minutes before quickly prescribing me antidepressant pills. I filled the prescription.
I told my new roommate about the pills. She was surprised. She said antidepressant pills can take months to work. She said I might need to try a few brands before I find one that works for me. She said that sometimes, they make you even more depressed. She knew from experience.
I started Googling everything antidepressants. Would they really make my pain go away? What were the side effects? Why did 1 in 4 people take them? Was I ready to commit to a potentially deeper depression? Was this the cure? Would they really help me break through this break up?
I needed to make a decision for myself. I had just spent 4 years depending on someone else for my happiness. Did I want to depend on something else? NO. I knew I needed to find my own inner strength, and I wasn't about to give my power away to some little box of pills.
Perhaps for some people it was the answer and the need. But for me, I knew I desired something different. I knew I needed to learn how to depend on myself.
It was that moment. The moment I actively chose to say NO. No to numbing. No to depending on anything or anyone besides myself for my happiness. No to avoiding myself. No to stunting my feelings.
Maybe these pills would take the pain away momentarily - but the only resource I want to depend on is ME.
Despite my small surge of inner strength, I needed to find another way out of this darkness. I began to research natural ways to become happier. My friend sent me a link to the Greater Good Science Center, which had just released their first free course on the science of happiness.
I had always wanted to spread sunshine and rainbows around the world - and now, there was scientific, practical proven facts to train our brains to think happier? To recondition our minds to live healthier, happier, more purposeful lives?
Saved By the Science of Happiness
I needed this SO BAD. And so did EVERY OTHER WOMAN AND HUMAN I KNEW. Age, culture, or background - it was all irrelevant. There was one common consistency when it came to the sensational scores of women I knew worldwide - none of us ever felt like we were enough. We never felt smart enough, skinny enough, tan, tall, secure, safe, good enough - and the list goes on.
We had been so conditioned by society to believe these atrocities, to believe we weren’t enough, to feel the need to fit into these certain boxes. The box with the happy home, happy husband, and 2.2 children. The box with the big desk, competitive salary, and 18-hour work days. The box with the cooking, cleaning and creating babies, blogs and businesses.
I’d had enough with the boxes. Enough conditioning. Enough fear. Enough avoidance. Enough numbness. Enough silence.
The science said that feeling ALL the feelings was necessary, and I realized for the first time in my grown ass woman life that I was being forced, allowed, encouraged - to FEEL. I had spent so many years numbing and avoiding myself, flowing with the pack without ever listening to my own mind and body. And now, without a partner or community to support me, I was forced to focus on myself. Learn my self. Meet my self. Feel my self.
It was time to question my old habits and patterns, and create new conversations and perspectives. It was time to experiment and explore all the parts of life which inspired my creativity and curiosity. It was time to learn who I was, what I cared about, and what motivated me. I didn’t want to do it alone. It was time to invite other women to join me. The spirited women who were seeking more from life, more from themselves, who were looking for light and growth and sisterhood.
And School of Shine was born.
Today, I am truly grateful to my first love - who shoved me into meeting myself so I could learn who I truly am. Today I thank him for breaking my heart - because it allowed me to break free.
For inspiring me to find my own happiness from within - so that I could help other women do exactly the same.
If you’re curious about how I started my own happiness journey, here is the course on the Science of Happiness. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you choose to dive in. To this date, it was one of the best decisions EVER.