“Iyanla Vanzant through the late 90s blazed a trail with her no non sense advice, She became televisions go to relationship expert, starring on emmy winning reality series “starting over” and even her very own talk show. Iyanla has traveled the globe, sold more than eight million books and topped the new york times best seller list five times. Today she’s the host and executive producer of “Iyanla, Fix My Life” on OWN.” -Oprah Winfrey
I was blessed to be able to attend Oprah’s “The Life You Want” weekend. During this weekend I had the honor of meeting Oprah Winfrey as well as spend time with Ms. Iyanla Vanzant. I grew up watching Ms Iyanla’s work on television, being surrounded by her books and at the age of 12 even attended her workshop for teenagers. That workshop along with all of her other work I believe has really helped shape me as a young woman. It was truly a blessing to have the opportunity to be around a women of such grace and poise. Anytime you can surround yourself with people like that is an honor. I wanted to sit down and ask her a few questions about young womanhood and relationships. See below for our Q & A.
Halimah: It’s very important to reverence your womb and to respect yourself and to respect that space and to not let anybody come–
Ms. Iyanla: Did you say reverence your womb?
Ms. Iyanla: How old are you?
Halimah: Um 17.
Ms Iyanla: Do you know you have a womb? How beautiful is that? Reverence your womb. Wow.
Halimah: So with dealing with that people can understand that but still find it hard to you know resist that urge, you know to deal with their sexual urges, and things of that nature, so like how what are some things, tips or steps we can use to deal with that when that arises?
Ms. Iyanla: When you be tryna reverence your womb? laughs. Well I think the first thing is to be very mindful. first of all to know it’s not wrong. Ok. To have a natural, organic, response to physical encounter, physical stimulation to know it’s not wrong.That’s number one. Then number two you get to choose. You choose moment by moment. Is what your getting ready to engage in whether its heavy petting or sex or whatever it is. Is this in alignment with the vision I’m holding for myself. Yes. Young girls have to have a vision. Young women have to have a vision and if they have a vision you get to choose moment by moment and it is very tempting. So the third thing I would say is don’t put yourself in those situations. You know I come from a time when courting took place in the living room with everybody present. Momma, daddy, grandma, the dog so if a young man were courting you he had to come and he had to be presented to your entire family. I know that we live in the 21st century and people don’t do that anymore but it’s still very helpful. So in the case that you’re courting someone or seeing someone or interested in someone don’t put yourself in a situation where you can’t get out easily.
Halimah: Because then nature takes over.
Ms. Iyanla: Yeah, nature takes over and you know human bad behavior.
Halimah: What does a good guy look like? What is he going to be doing?
Ms. Iyanla: First thing about a good guy is he’s willing to wait, he’s not going to force you or manipulate you, or coerce you into doing anything you’re not ready to do a good guy would not do that. The other thing about a good guy is he wants to know what your vision is and what you’re heading for and what you’re looking forward to and he wants to support you in doing that. So while he may want you all to sit around and neck in the living room he will say “have you done your homework?”, “have you studied”, “don’t you have practice today?” He will support you in doing what it is that you want to do. I think that the other way that you can really tell a good guy is to listen very closely to how he talks about his mother and his sisters. If he has respect for his mothers and his sisters. If he’s protective of his sisters, if he is you know looking out for his mom, her feelings, her needs and stuff chances are he’s a good
Halimah: Thank you! Okay so the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught that a nation can rise no higher than its woman now when you say that a lot of times people get upset about that because they view it as “well its not all my fault, you know it’s men too. I can’t. It’s not just me” but you know we do have personal responsibility and I do have charge over my life but you know what are some ways to explain that or to really better express and prove that this is true that a nation can rise no higher than its woman.
Ms. Iyanla: Because the woman is the teacher, the woman becomes the mother and the mother is the first teacher and so the mother has to be solid and clear within herself. She has to have experience to share. She has to have um patience to teach, she has to have a vision to grow into because men can make a child but women are the ones that teach that child and guide that child and nourish that child. So the more solid, the clearer, the more grounded, the more spiritually aligned a woman is, the chances are her children will be the same way. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that a nation can rise no higher than it’s women and the great writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said that a man is who his mother makes him. So any way you look at it as the first teacher, the woman has a great responsibility in what happens to her son who grow into men and to her daughters who grow into other women who become mothers, who teach.
Halimah: Wow, absolutely. Thank you!
Ms. Iyanla: You’re welcome.
Halimah: So last question. What advice do you have for girls, women who
want to motivate people, who want to inspire people who want to encourage people to do good, who just want to change the world, what advice would you have to be successful in doing that.
Ms. Iyanla: You know I never give advice. What I can do is share what I’ve learned.
and the greatest I have been able to give people is the demonstration of how I live
my life. People see how I live my life. How I show up in the room. How I stand within myself. How I teach. How I-with everything. I’m a demonstration of what I believe and
it is consistent. It’s consistent across the board. So I think that for young women who want to inspire other young women and inspire young men is to be a demonstration of the things you want to teach, the things you believe in, the things that you learn, just demonstrate it, in your kindness, in your nice, in your gentleness, in your wisdom, in your presence, in the world, and I think that people will just want some of what you have.
Halimah: Be the change you want to see. That’s right. Thank you! Thank you.
Ms. Iyanla: You’re so welcome. I really appreciate it.
To watch the video you can click below!