I happened to watch the Oprah Winfrey Show with Iyanla Vanzant. The thing that struck me the most and was so glaring was Iyanla’s inability to state plainly, “she blew it”. She failed to simply say I was full of myself. My ego got ahead of myself. I thought I was all that and a bag of chips with some Louisiana hot sauce poured on top. See we tend to be forgiving when we’re simply honest with ourselves and others. It’s no wonder she got ahead of self, she was catapulted into instant stardom, making millions of dollars, and the world was at her feet. She couldn’t go anywhere without being recognized and without someone asking her for relationship advice. I get that. I can sympathize with that. Having said that, the flip side is what we got, which was excuses and everyone else was to blame. Of course we got the occasional, “Okay I was crazy”. But we got more of this; Oprah never told her she liked her. Oprah didn’t tell her she wasn’t ready. Oprah didn’t understand her hearing from God and her threat that somebody really “big”, even though she knew who that really big was and didn’t divulge it, was willing to give her a show if Oprah didn’t because God told her it was her anointed time and not the appointed time, whatever that meant, didn’t actually mean she was threatening her. Oprah should have known she didn’t want to leave and her actually wanting a show now, didn’t mean she wasn’t willing to wait. Really? It seemed ironic to me that the Iyanla, who was given Oprah’s stage and audience and allowed to run the show, even though the likes of Suzie Orman and Dr. Phil, nor anyone had ever been given that privilege, couldn’t see how special that was and what an absolute honor it was. She actually stated, “I thought you wanted the work and not the person”. Really? Here is someone who kept saying, I didn’t know any better, I came from the Bronx, on welfare, never had anything, I didn’t understand because I came from the back woods. Yet this same, woman with lack of understanding, was giving relationship advice, writing book after book, making millions of dollars, knew she made 1.5 million in three months on Oprah and within one year and some months more she made over 3 million, yet the possibility of a show that paid her 1 million was more enticing? Really? She knew how to do the math, so clearly the money wasn’t the issue because she settled for less than what she could make on Oprah. What Iyanla couldn’t or wouldn’t admit was that she had failed to be loyal. The very woman who gave her, her enormous start, had her on her show more than twenty times in one year, told her she wanted to give her a show, just right now wouldn’t work, but they were working on it, she allowed someone to come in who hadn’t invested a dime, time, or anything, flip her mind and entice her. What Iyanla also failed to admit had it not been for her exposure on Oprah, and Oprah graciously giving her, her show twenty times out of the year, is what made her the relationship expert to the world. Loyalty, what a forgotten phenomena?
Iyanla is no different from many of us. We are not willing to take responsibility for our choices. Example - You have a child by a man who has other children and doesn’t take care of them and yet you’re mad that he doesn’t take care of the one you had. What was going to make you different? Be honest you are mad at yourself because you slept with a man who wasn’t responsible – your choice, not his fault. Man after man has mistreated you. While that may be a reality you must take responsibility for the fact that you allowed them to mistreat you. You must find value in yourself and demand that you be treated a certain way or tell them to hit the road. If I don’t have to take responsibility for my actions why should anyone else? The rapist can say it’s not my fault she dressed that way? The thief can say because I lost my job it’s not my fault that I had to steal. You get a speeding ticket, instead of it being about you speeding, it’s about the police officer; he had nothing better to do. The list can go on. Until Iyanla and the rest of us can truly find peace through the broken pieces, she and us must first be honest with ourselves, learn from our choices and then make better choices. If I am not honest with myself and my choices I never really heal, I simply look for another way to make money and I write a book, hoping the credibility I lost will somehow be restored, and like the past I am really a farce, because my true motto is, do as I say not as I do. Makes one wonder whether the advice given was really sound and helpful, if the person giving the advice didn’t live by their very own advice. I say before any of us give advice we must first follow this principle; physician heal thy self, then, heal others.