03/22/2012 at 08:00 AM EDT
Maybe Kim Kardashian
could have it avoided it all: her 72-day-marriage
, the subsequent split
, the subsequent headlines.
Maybe she could have listened to some of her family members, the ones she shares the spotlight with in a reality TV empire
, who were hesitant about her relationship with Kris Humphries.
"I'm a person where when I'm in love, you can't tell me anything," Kardashian, 31, said on Wednesday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno
. "You gotta go through it yourself."
And now that she's gone through it – the marriage, the split, the headlines – she says she can see the silver lining, the learning experience.
"I learned so many lessons about it, and it's changed who I am as a person, I think for the better," she said. "The things that I care about in life have completely changed because of this, so I really think everything happens for a reason."
She still believes in love
, she insists. And she's not lacking in that department, thanks to her devoted family, who include sisters Khloé Kardashian
, 27, and Kourtney Kardashian
"It was really hard to go through [the divorce], probably the toughest thing I ever had to go through, but I had my family there," she said, adding, "We are exactly who we are whether the cameras are on or off, and that's why I love my family so much."
And despite the ups and downs, "I've showed my life and the reality of my life, and it might not be pretty all the time, but it's who I am," she says. "And I've learned so much from it."