Sometimes I think that the reason I find divorce work so fulfilling is because I know what it’s like to be in a dark place, and I know what it’s like to pull yourself out of it, into a happy and fulfilling life. It’s what I find rewarding about helping my clients, and it’s something I’ve experienced myself. 

I emigrated with my family from Lebanon to Canada at the age of 17.  

The first two years of living in snowy Calgary were hell. Every time I look at a picture from that time or pass by the neighborhood we lived in, I feel my shoulders sink, the tip of my stomach hurt, and my teeth clench.

Things Can Get Dark 

I picture myself leaving the house we lived in Rundle, in the dark winter morning, heading to the bus stop, knowing that from that moment on, I will be completely alone. I will be alone among the straight-faced students on the bus, I will be alone among the ESL students I am amassed with all day at school, and I will also be alone at lunch time as for whatever reason, the other Lebanese kids did not welcome me into their circle.  

I felt unlovable.    

I also felt alone. Completely alone. All the time.  

During my alone time, I would think back and remember Lebanon. Meeting my 30+ cousins weekly at my grandma’s house, spending summers on the beach, and going for crispy chicken and fries with friends in the inner city.  

I think I had depression, but it never crossed my mind to call it that.  I do remember a car ride with my brother as he was dropping me off at work one day- he turned to me and said,  

“You have not said a word in a few days. Are you okay?”  I said I was fine. 

Have you ever felt unlovable? Pictures of Zeina El-Sayed

I buried myself with work. Throughout high school, and then college, I always worked one or two jobs. My first job was at Mcdonald’s and from there, I did retail, banquet server, security screening officer, private investigator, and court clerk.  

I had no real direction in choosing my jobs. My only drive was: I want to create a better reality than the one I was living. I want to get out of the immigrant rut. I want to create a future that was different, perhaps happier than the present I lived in.  

I had no idea how to do it. I improvised every step of the way.  

One Step at a Time 

When I worked at the Calgary Court Centre, I was happy for a while, but I was passed over for a higher job I had my eye on. I was pushed aside to make room for someone who was not nearly as educated or experienced as I was.  

I felt unlovable.  

 I decided to start my own company. I knew nothing about business. All I knew was that I had to trust myself and take it one step at a time. Literally- one step at a time. And up to today, I carry the same mantra.  

I repeat these two affirmations every morning and they help me just keep going: 

“I have the ability to produce ongoing results in the face of ongoing lack of clarity and uncertainty” 

“I am too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, too grateful for sadness and regret” 

We Are All Loveable 

Fast forward 20 years, I am deeply loved by an amazing man, I have 3 beautiful children who love me, I am the owner of a multiple 6 figure company, helping, 100s of Albertans exit their loveless relationship gently and amicably.  

Have you ever felt unlovable? Picture of Zeina El-Sayed and her husband

I found love in my life. I found my tribe who will love me no matter what. It is not a big tribe, and I don’t need it to be.  

My message to you today is that life can seem pretty dark at times. We might feel alone, scared, unlovable, but we shouldn’t let these feelings define us. We can move even when the light is not shining, we can hold somebody’s hand, sometimes even temporarily, we can simply keep looking forward. And things will turn, and our reality will change.  

Just keep the faith and know that you are loveable.  

PS: If you’re experiencing distress, please seek assistance. If you’re in Calgary, I recommend the excellent team at Flourish Psychology. They also provide a list of community mental health resources here. 

There is also an online self-screening tool the Province of Alberta has creating to help determine if your difficult time is actually clinical depression. Click on the button below to take the quiz.