Relationship expert Iyanla Vanzant shared valuable words of wisdom during her 20 Oprah Show appearances between 1998 and 1999. Look back at 10 lessons viewers took to heart.
For almost two years, Iyanla helped Oprah Show
viewers learn the language that could change their lives forever. Words, she said, are more powerful than we know. "Don't ever say, 'I'm broke,'" Iyanla said. "Say, 'I am temporarily out of cash.'"
Many people confuse love for something else—lust or obsession or jealousy, Iyanla said. Oftentimes, women meet men who they want to fix, but love doesn't need to be fixed. "When you see crazy coming, cross the street," she said during one of her many Oprah Show appearances.
With an audience filled with 200 men, Oprah and Iyanla set out to prove that there are some good men out there.
Before getting into the conversation, Oprah and Iyanla looked back at some of Iyanla's best advice, including a time when she said men are more observant than some women think. "Men have antennae," she said. "He put his antennae up and he said, 'Boy, she's gonna suck the life right out of me.'"
Iyanla often shared new words and phrases with The Oprah Show
audience, which Oprah called "a glossary for the soul." On October 8, 1998, Iyanla shared a passage from Neale Donald Walsch
's book Conversations with God
: "Whenever you declare to be something, everything unlike it will show up," Iyanla said. "So the minute you declare yourself to be healed or at peace—whatever it is—everything unlike it is gonna show up to test. So remember: "If you don't have a test, you won't have a testimony."
Also, instead of saying "by myself," Iyanla suggested viewers say "with myself."
On August 10, 1999, Iyanla shared how the power of language can help women change their lives. "Words create experiences. Words are things," Iyanla said. "So when you say 'I can't,' you won't. When you say 'I don't,' you don't."
Iyanla advised single and divorced women to use positive phrases, like "I'm open and willing to experience a new relationship," and "I'm desiring a new mate to show up just as they are today."
Love is a risk that only brave people take, Iyanla said, and it's important to be open to love. "Know that if you're not brave enough to go into love, taking a risk, then what you are doing is bargain shopping," she said.
So what is love? "Love is, 'Here I am. Take all of me. Use the pieces you can. Let me use the pieces of you that I can so that we can move forward, growing through this experience," Iyanla said.
In March 1999, Iyanla spoke about her book Yesterday, I Cried, and answered audience members' questions. One woman posed this question to Iyanla: "If all you're getting are liars and cheaters and all this kind of stuff, what are you supposed to expect? What do you expect?"
Iyanla's responded, "What you draw to you is what you are." What Iyanla meant was that all the makeup, eyeliner and clothes the audience member wore was just a facade. Iyanla asked the woman to call herself a liar and see how it felt. "Not particularly [good]," the woman responded.
"Why would you project that onto someone else?" Iyanla asked. "Because that's your judgment. Your perception of reality and his perception of reality may be completely different."
During a show in October 1998, Oprah revealed that she wrote a suicide note when she was in her 20s because a man she loved didn't call her for two weeks. "I wept for the woman I used to be," Oprah said. "It's just amazing how, at the time you're in it, you think your life can't go on."
Iyanla said people have to remember that "this, too, shall pass." It's okay to feel bad, but know that you can recover. "I don't have to be SOS: stuck on stupid," Iyanla said.
When Iyanla talked with Ed, a guest who said cheating on women was in his genes, he explained that he was fixated on finding the perfect mate. "So you involve yourself in a relationship with that person. Shortly after involving yourself in that relationship, you discover that person is not perfect," Ed said. "So, therefore, you begin to search anew for a perfect mate."
Iyanla said that while Ed loved beautiful women, he didn't honor himself.
"When you honor yourself, every single thing that you do comes from that place," Iyanla said. "That means when you honor yourself, you protect yourself, you trust yourself, you take care of yourself. And you do things in a way that are going to bring glory to who you are."
During the same show, Iyanla explained to Ed, the self-proclaimed cheater, that when he's sleeping with more than one woman and not being honest with them, he's actually harming himself.
"Your ego and your intellect can tell you that [you] can rationalize it if you want to, but you're not cheating on the woman," Iyanla said. "You are cheating on yourself."
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