In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want, by Iyanla Vanzant, Simon and Schuster, NY 1998.
pg 26: You cannot get love from the outside until you are love on the inside.
pg 27: We go into a relationship looking for love, not realizing that we must bring love with us. We must bring a strong sense of self and purpose into a relationship. We must bring a sense of value, of who we are. We must bring an excitement about ourselves, our lives, and the vision we have for these two essential elements. …we must move into relationships willing to share what we have, rather than being afraid of someone taking it.
pg 28: When we do not have these things in place, the search to find love sets up the experiences we need to discover what is true about love and what is not. The discovery process is called the meantime.
We forget to set love boundaries. We allow people to step in, be in, move in, live in our lies in ways that have nothing to do with love.
When we believe we do not have enough love in our lives, we enter the meantime. What we fail to understand is that we are the love we seek.
pg 40: Your job is to avoid the temptation and the trap of thinking that every relationship has to be the relationship that lasts forever and ever Amen.
pg 42: If we took just a little time for self-reflection and examination, we could easily connect what goes on in our relationships with the pattern of our birth.
pg 46: …since the day were born, there have been very few experiences in which we have been loved totally and unconditionally without having to give anything in return. This is how God loves us from the time we are born until the time we die. In the meantime, most people who come and go in our lives attach tiny little price tags to their love. Sometimes the tags are so small we don’t recognize that they are tags with strings attached until it is time to pay.
pg 47: The truth is that love is supportive and nurturing, not aggressive or demanding.
pg 48: When, however, you are in the meantime learning about self-love and unconditional love of others, the goal is to break your birth pattern. The realization has now set in that what you have been doing in your relationships does not work. You also realize that it is up to you to break the mold and unlearn what you have learned in order to create a new love model based on new information.
pg 49: You have come to the meantime to facilitate a shift in your consciousness from the passive/aggressive model to a receptive/active one. You want to become consciously aware of yourself and receptive to new information that will lead you to new behavior.
Examine your expectations about love. Reflect on the prices you’ve paid, to whom you have paid them, and what it really has cost you…what you have allowed yourself to do in order to get what you thought was love.
When it is time to nurture, support, and shower yourself with love and attention, what is going on that takes priority over you? …Your soul is saying, “Learn how to love yourself unconditionally no matter what is going on!”
pg 52: When you are in the meantime, you must not make time an urgent matter. Time is of absolutely no consequence when you are doing healing work directed toward inner growth.
pg 53: It is designed to make sure you know where you are, what you want, and what you are willing to do to get what you want with as little drama as possible.
pg 56: Relationships are the tour guides that move us through various levels and parameters of home. They are like rooms each one a little different, offering a little more or a little less than we want, or need, to remember.
…we are given a map in a tiny suitcase called a heart. The map contains the floor plan of our true home and is filled with directions that lead to the truth about love. Along with the map, we come prepared with a compass. It is called the mind.
pg 58: …in order to be happy, you must tell yourself the truth about who you are, what you want, and how willing you are to do what is necessary to get what you want.
Most basement dwellers, and those who visit there frequently, are so programmed about what they should want that they don’t know what to want. When they do know, they are afraid that what they want from life will make somebody mad. Rather than do that, they suffer silently. …Silent suffering is a sure sign of a dysfunctional compass.
pg 59: …to become willing…to release the things that are not working by opening yourself to hearing the things about yourself that you have heretofore not been open to hearing.
pg 60: The only thing you actually have to do to get out of the basement is admit you need help and be willing to receive it.
pg 61: I know I have played a role in my own unhappiness, but I don’t know what the role is or why I have chosen to play it.
pg 62: In order to disinfect yourself using truth, you must learn to listen to your body. You must recognize when you are feeling uncomfortable, unhappy, dissatisfied about what you are doing to get or keep love.
Responsibility is the detergent you must use to discover what you do, when you do it, how you do it, and why you do it. The answers will reveal to you exactly how you ended up in the meantime loveless and/or confused!
pg 63: Before you can leave the first floor, you must know what works and what does not work.
The first floor is where you live in order to discover what’s wrong.
pg 64: The second floor…deeper level of learning begins. The first, last, and only lesson you must master at this level is, There is absolutely nothing wrong with me! Or anyone else!
pg 65: …there has been absolutely nothing wrong with what you have been thinking, believing, saying, or doing, other than the fact that it did not get you what you want.
If what you are doing does not get you what you want, change your mind!
pg 67: You must get that loving yourself is all that really matters. When you love you, you can love everybody and anybody else.
pg 70: …your role in life is to serve and support people while honoring yourself. These are the only spiritual cleansers you will need from this point on — acceptance, service, support, and honor.
pg 76: You must create new love expectations based on honor, respect, and support.
pg 89: There is always a process involved in any healing endeavor. The first step in the process is to be willing to pray and ask questions. We must stop trying to figure out what is going on! Sooner or later you should realize that if you knew what you were doing to make yourself miserable or crazy, you would not be doing it. Stop! Pray! Ask! In order to do this, you must be willing to stop moving, talking, thinking, and thumping. It would take about thirty seconds, but thirty seconds can be a long time when you are in fear, when you are hurt, or when you are confused. The good news is that prayer helps to alleviate confusion. Once your mind is clear, it is imperative that you ask yourself three probing questions:
1) What am I feeling?
2) What is it that I want?
3) What am I feeling about what I want?
pg 94: As children, the first things we become consciously aware of are our physical bodies and the bodies of those around us. We learn this by how we are handled; what, when, and if we are fed; and by what we see, hear, and feel.
pg 95: The basement, or the early experience of life, also teaches to what degree we must rely on or give up parts of our mental and physical welfare in order to get love.
…you are also learning about what’s yours and what’s not, and what could possibly happen to you if you confuse the two.
pg 96: In relationships, basement dwellers are obsessed with issues related to survival. They hang on to people in order to survive. They also hang on to relationships, no matter how unpleasant or dysfunctional they may be, in order to survive.
…difficult to make a conscious choice grounded in love. Survival choices are reactions rather than creations. Survival motives are born out of desperation rather than desire.
pg 97: As long as we believe that another person has or can withhold some element of love essential to our survival, we will not tell the truth or cannot express our emotions, our self-value, worth, and esteem are diminished; and we deny the natural, normal reflexes and instincts of the mind and body. When you believe that you must give up pieces of yourself in order to avoid being hurt or to survive, you are having a meantime experience in the basement of life’s house. Living here makes you a victim. Children must often feel like victims of “big people.” In the basement you feel sorry for yourself, or you pout and stomp your feet. You want to get it together, but you believe that the circumstances of your life are beyond your control. Somebody else is in charge.
pg 98: The key is to realize that survival is no longer an issue for you. You have survived. You are now willing to grow. To flourish.
pg 99: Once you recognize the pattern, what you usually do under this or similar circumstances, you can choose a new course of action.
Love is the experience of joy, peace, fulfillment, purposefulness, harmony, abundance, and service.
Love is not at all what we do. It is the experience of being who we are. Love relationships are the way we seek to experience more of ourselves, the truth of ourselves. We must pour new ideas, new concepts, and more truth about our identity into our relationships.
pg 100: Relationships are the most readily available means to bring us in touch with or take us out of touch with our own definition of love.
pg 102: Willingness…gives you the ability to see yourself in other people. When you enter a relationship, you are going to meet yourself in the actions, behaviors, and beliefs of those involved in the relationship with you….the very things you have been doing and saying to yourself.
Once you are clear, you will be able to see exactly who you think you are by looking at what you expect and tolerate from other people.
pg 138: You must listen to what people do, not to what they say. People always demonstrate their intentions, their expectations, through their actions. They may swear to high heaven that they will do this or that, but do remains the operative word.
pg 139: On the third floor, love makes no demands, has no expectations. On the first floor it does. Often in relationships things don’t work out because the people we are attracted to are taking another path to the summit. Each of us, from our own position, tries to convince the other to walk the path we have chosen….You must walk the path that is true for you.
pg 140: There are two big lessons for those who live on the first floor: 1) Find your center and stay grounded in it, and 2) let people walk the path they have chosen and love them anyway.
pg 143: Many people who live on the first floor in love’s house must work through the inner conflict of wanting a relationship and believing, for whatever reason our minds cook up, that we cannot have or do not deserve to have a committed relationship.
pg 144: If you do not love yourself enough to live in your own integrity, if you do not have a solid sense of self-value and self-worth, loving other people is going to be difficult. You can need them or what them, which means what you are actually doing is being codependent; you are most probably involved in needs exchange, which rarely lasts or works.
pg 147: Letting go, which is a form of housecleaning, does not mean you stop loving. It means that you make a conscious choice about how to love, which can include loving someone from a distance.
pg 153: When we refuse to accept that people can walk a path different from ours, or when we attempt to drag them onto ours, we dishonor them, as well as ourselves.
pg 177: Self-love will enable you to take the healing time, the healing space, without the fear. Sexual compatibility will not do it. The need to be needed will not give you the strength. The desire to be taken care of will not give you the courage. You’ve got to know how to love yourself whether you are in or out of a relationship. If there is no self-love you will have no choice but to do the hellish and idiotic things in your relationships that make you crazy.
pg 179: Love is the only thing that can heal. When we really want to be healed, we must surrender to love. When we don’t know what love is, God sends us to the meantime to find out what we need to know about it.
pg 180: A willing meantime experience is the experience of those people who walk or run into the meantime, willing to do the work. The work required to establish a better relationship with yourself. A willing meantime means recognizing that you are not by yourself but that you are with yourself, and you don’t mind keeping company with you.
pg 182: Do not believe that what you do in the meantime is useless. Everything you do, every relationship you have, prepares and brings you closer to the grand experience of total, unconditional self-love and love for others.
pg 183: Your job is to avoid the temptation and the trap of thinking every relationship has to be the relationship that lasts forever and ever amen.
pg 185: That’s what surrender is all about : simply stop doing the things that make you miserable, crazy, unhappy, self-hating, and neurotic. When you stop abusing yourself in these ways, love moves in, and the healing process begins.
pg 245: …do this by replacing need with desire, desperation with receptivity. You do it by replacing obsessions with determination. The receptive determination must not be to find somebody. Instead, it must be to love you. Time spent alone in the meantime will help you get clear about who you are and about the behavior patterns that conflict with your identity.
Your internal, emotional, spiritual growth, the ability to acknowledge, accept, and love yourself, is essential to finding the love you want. It is paramount in learning to love yourself, whether or not a lover ever shows up.
…you can give love, or anything else, without losing a thing. You can consciously choose to share your time, resources, or life with someone because survival is not an issue. When you make this conscious choice, you cannot lose. You grow. A relationship can end without depleting you. You have learned what works and what does not work for you. You now realize that the benefit of each and every one of your past experiences is total self-acceptance. You can now accept yourself as you are, and you accept the choices you make because you know that you can choose and choose again until you are satisfied.
pg 276: Someplace in the back of our minds, we believe if there is someone else out there like me, that means I can’t be all that bad. Without realizing it, we go out looking for ourselves, believing that if we can find ourselves we will be happy. The thing is, we don’t always like who we are because we have forgotten the truth. We think we need to be fixed — not healed, but fixed. There is a big difference. Consequently, when we see ourselves in other people, in our partners, in our family members, in our friends, we get busy fixing them rather than healing ourselves. There is also the issue of balance. Love wants us to heal our concept of balance and wholeness.
Like and unlike are identical in nature, different in degree. Extremes meet. Balance is having two different things on opposite sides of the scale that look different and act different, but are in fact extremes of the same thing. The extremes are necessary for wholeness.
pg 277: We keep looking for sameness when healing requires tolerance, acceptance, and unconditional love of complementary difference.
Both sides teaching, both sides learning create the healing and balance required for unconditional love. Sameness does not heal. It allows us to hide the things we think and feel about ourselves in the closet.
Somewhere between the second and third floors in love’s house, you must learn to love people no matter what they do.
pg 288: It is not loving to ask people to do what they cannot do. You know what a person can do by watching what he or she does. Some people will ask for help. They will readily admit that they do not know what to do and would like some help in trying to figure it out.
The most loving thing Karen could have done was stay in constant communication with Stan, letting him in on the what, why, and when of her true feelings to the best of her ability. She needed to acknowledge what she was feeling and express that to hi. This would have kept her clear. This would have forestalled the paralysis.
pg 314: …the process leading up to and of being in the meantime is quite universal.
You will not know what the problem is. Then you will know what the problem is, but you will not know what to do about it. Then you will know what to do about the problem, but your stuff, your issues, will prevent you from doing it. Then you will be forced to look at your stuff and sort through it in order to reach a solution. Then you will know what to do, but not how to do it. Then you will be called upon by the forces of life to do what you know you can do, must do all of the time.