Fifteen months ago, on June 7, 2016, I divorced my best friend of 10 years and husband of 2 years.

I spent the next two weeks sitting on a seafoam green couch, staring at the half-empty, one-bedroom apartment on Michigan Avenue, and crying. Every morning, I had to remind myself that I was now divorced and that he was not coming back. At some point in the following two weeks, I wrote my essays and applied to INSEAD.

I spent the next 6 months in denial, hoping and secretly believing we will get back together. In December, I packed up and moved to Singapore to start my MBA.

I spent another 6 months angry and upset at our families, our community, and our therapist. I would frequently think about all the things that had gone wrong and all the things that should have happened during the wedding process or early in the marriage. I read several books and obsessively dissected all the factors that resulted in our divorce, often thinking the marriage could have been saved “If only…”.

I spent the 2-month summer break feeling broken with an even deeper sense of loss and emptiness. I didn’t have any tears left, but I was aching to cry. I found myself wanting to spend more and more time alone to cope with my grief. Towards the end of the break, I was finally able to talk about the divorce openly with my classmates.

And then I woke up last week, in Fontainebleau…fully healed. I noticed that the lingering pain in my heart was gone. The tendency to daydream about the good times we shared also disappeared. The angry thoughts, the rewinding conversations, the many what ifs – everything melted away.

But I didn’t walk away empty-handed…

Here’s the wisdom I gained while studying and healing at INSEAD:

  1. Better to be alone than be with the wrong person. It’s also more economical… just sayin’ 😉
  2. The only person that can liberate me is me. Waiting for someone else to free me was simply foolish.
  3. Don’t spend time with people who don’t value you – you’re wasting your time and reinforcing their behavior.
  4. Blessings come with the responsibility to serve others.
  5. Beware of people who do things half-heartedly.
  6. Doubt people with stellar resumes. Ask: what was sacrificed to achieve this?
  7. Self-intimacy must precede self-love; otherwise, it’s not real.
  8. Authenticity is more valuable than strength, courage, and ambition combined.
  9. My pain is not just part of my story; it’s now part of my success.

A special thank you to all the folks at INSEAD who made this the best year of my life!