Why Iyanla Always Fixes My Life
I've been a fan of Iyanla Vanzant before I really even who she was. I remember seeing many of her books on my mother's bookshelf but I never felt compelled to actually read them. But then I was introduced to her show on the Oprah network "Iyanla: Fix My Life" and my eyes were opened!
Being the ratchetholic I am, although this show does not fall in that category I've been watching this show since season one and every single time I take away so much not just from watching her help others in their life but apply the lessons to my own life.
As the show has progressed she has worked with many celebrities and reality stars including Laura Govan (Basketball Wives), Taryll Jackson (3T), Evelyn Lozada (Basketball Wives), Karruche Tran and her infamous run in with DMX and his children which to this day has to be on of the most epic times of counselling I have ever seen on TV because it was so heartbreaking and honest but she also works with regular people who have deep and dark secrets that are breaking their families apart and themselves!
There is nothing scripted about this show, people come to her for her honest wisdom and to learn techniques to stop the bad habits and insecurities that they have. They come with complete open vulnerability and when I tell you nothing gets past Iyanla...she doesn't play. She's not with the celebrities for a long time maybe 3-4 days at the most so Iyanla goes right for your gut and exposes everything even if you don't want her to. It's never to patronise it's from a place of love so that people can know WHO they are and what they need to do (can I get an amen?)
I've always been fascinated with therapy and counselling from when I studied a few units during university. As aforementioned in "When I Loved A Man That Didn't Love Themselves" I spoke about how seeking professional help is a powerful tool that people should utilise. I think a lot of people don't like to seek counsel because of the stigma that they will be attached to them and their life. It's common assumption that if someone is going therapy, then something is badly wrong and they are not "strong" enough to deal with their problems by themselves.
In a recent episode with Laura Govan, I was sitting in bed with my bottle of water and grapes (no snacking a betch isn't even half way into my gym regime yet) Iyanla asked Laura question that knocked me out for the count.
"What did your father teach you about what to expect from a man?"
That question got me right in the juggler because it's something that I have been aware of but I have never...ever answered!
Laura was very honest that her father taught her to fight and make sure she won at all costs when it came to relationships as he never expected nothing but the absolute best from her and even when she was her best..it still wasn't good enough.
There is a saying, that all women marry their fathers and no disrespect to my own but...I'd rather not! Let's make one thing abundantly clear I love my father, he made me and I'm grateful that he is alive, healthy and we are in contact but it hasn't always been that way. I grew up in a single parent family and if you guys remembered beforehand I told you of my incredibly close relationship with my grandfather who in my eyes was my father. He raised me, he's the one I spent my entire childhood with, he is who I want my future husband to be like as he possessed so many amazing qualities.
But back to the original question growing up and dating I realised I tolerated a lot of bullshit. And I mean A LOT. I used to accept when a man I was wasn't very clear on his feelings and intentions with me all because he SAID that he liked me even though his actions showed me the total opposite or that he didn't respect me enough! I tolerated a lot of bullshit and gave my own emotions and feelings a huge disservice because I wasn't clear on what a good relationship looked like. I hardly had one with my own father so therefore I never had a standard to hold other men to when to being in a relationship with me.
I was able to have friendships with men easily...thanks to me being slightly tomboyish and my honest and upfront nature I was often seen as part of the "man dem" without being too butch. If you get what I'm saying. So often guys and girls would come to me for relationship advice and to hook them up with friends vice versa but my own relationships were a joke!
I had the following expectations when it came to men:
1) They will disappoint you, no matter how good of a woman you are
If I had a pound for the number of times I was supposed to see my father and for one reason or another he would not come most of the time without even an explanation... a betch wouldn't even need to work! I remember vividly being a little girl who was looking forward to potentially spending time with him but the disappointments became regular and my grandparents stepped in every single time and soon enough around before I turned 8 years old....I stopped looking for that type of relationship with him or even ask to see him. Real talk.
2) Just because someone is "family" doesn't mean that they won't hurt you
Loyalty is a huge thing for me. My family on my mother's side are extremely close knit without a second thought and I love them unconditionally for that. But I do not know my father's side of my family at all...nor do I care to know them at this point. We hold men especially those within our family to a higher regard because, well...they are your family. But that doesn't make them any less human or mean that they won't make mistakes and that they won't hurt you. Over the years I grew a strong resilience and I refuse to show if anyone hurt me let alone openly admit it, you must be sniffing skittles. I grew up watching my mother do everything for me and my siblings so I get a lot of my strength and my stubbornness from her! Kiss my ass so what. But for me to show that someone has hurt me means that I have to admit that I was vulnerable and I depended on them, but if you can't even do that from your own father, how are you going to have that from your partner?
3) Do not expect much
You know how the saying goes "no expectations breeds no disappointment". Like I said before I stopped from an early age when it came to expecting anything. Therefore when it came to relationships I didn't expect much from the men I was seeing. That's much deeper than I thought as I was looking at it from a surface level but what it meant was that when it came to my needs being catered for it was rarely a priority for my exes. Why? Because I did everything for myself. I am independent. Like Destiny's Child "Independent Ladies" mixed in with Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman" and a dessert of TLC "No Scrubs". I went out with guys who made minimal (and I mean absolute minimal) effort in dating me and I would get into relationships but there was hardly any romance, no spontaneity, no benchmark, so nothing that I truly craved from a relationship was fulfilled but did I say anything? No because I didn't expect much remember? But once they continuously fucked up...I would tell them about themselves and unleash the beast (aka my fiery mouth) because I felt the need to stand up for myself, because I know subconsciously I have never done that with the one man I really should.
4) Don't have children with just any man...especially one you don't see yourself getting married to
Now don't get me wrong, I come from a single parent household and my childhood was fucking amazing. There was nothing missing from my childhood and I am eternally grateful for all my family members and people that I now view as family that have been there throughout my life. But only those that are like myself understand that feeling of incompleteness that you have when you come from a single parent household. It's not a nice feeling. You can easily feel unworthy, not good enough, it can cause you to have serious self-esteem issues and the way you approach and look at relationships on so many levels. I do not want the same fate for my own children, and I will do everything within my power to avoid it as best I can. I am aware that life happens, things change and it's not just up to me BUT at the same time if the relationship does dissolve I want to ensure as much as I can that the man I have a child with understand the importance of our child having both parents in their lives. I've worked in several schools I've seen the effect of it time and time again and I will kill a man who tries to do that to mine. Yeah I said it.
Now fast forward to today, I'm happy to say that I am no longer in that place. I have come to terms with my relationship with my father and although it's not perfect and won't be the stereotypical "daddy-daughter" dynamic, I am grateful that at least we have some type of communication and relationship. I now hold myself in a higher esteem and did a lot of work on myself, it entailed forgiving myself for many choices that I have made within my life, acknowledging that I simply didn't know enough and I sure didn't love myself enough. I still have a long way to go, and every relationship that I have been in has taught me so much and will have to continually work on myself and I am fine with that. More than anything, I look forward to seeing the woman that I become with the man I love right beside me!