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Wisdom From Iyanla Vanzant

I first came across Iyanla Vanzant when I happened to pick up a book of hers in 2006 – Yesterday, I Cried: Celebrating the Lessons of Living and Loving.  I’ve been reading her off and on via her website and watching her on Oprah’s Lifeclass.

Iyanla’s no-nonsense style and ‘telling it like it is’ way of speaking truly resonates with me.  I love her wit and her turn of phrase.

When I saw this  quote of  hers recently, I felt drawn to share it and add my own thoughts to it.


You are a guest in this house. Life has invited you in for a while. You don’t know how long you are going to be here, so while you are here you must be on your best behaviour.

Oh yes, I realize that. As I get older, I start to wonder how many years more I have and how meaningful I’m going to make those years. It seems like the days are just not long enough to do what I want to do – there’s so much to learn, to realize, to become.

However, I don’t want to be going through life acting as if there’s no tomorrow either. I’m trying to pace myself – to prioritize – to make choices that will make my life and the life of those I am connected with more meaningful. And that’s not always simple, is it?

Finding balance is what it’s all about. I refuse to be afraid of the future but look forward to it with eager anticipation. José says he has never seen any woman who keeps talking excitedly about being 50 when she’s only a few months past 48! No, I’m not expecting a fancy party – just that hitting the half-way mark (yes, I have great genes! 😉 ) seems so exciting! Midlife is highly recommended – I can’t understand what the fuss about getting old is all about.

I was also taken up with Iyanla’s phrase ‘best behaviour‘.  You know, for years I thought ‘best behaviour’ had to do with fitting in – making sure that I didn’t ruffle people’s feathers that I did what I could to please people. I’ve realized it’s more to do with choosing behaviour that best reflects my true self. Only recently, a friend called me out on something petty I did – she told me that she didn’t think that something I shared on Facebook reflected the person she knew I was. At first, I told her, that was just what I felt. But I knew she was right. I deleted the update and felt better for it.

It’s not always easy to make the best choices in behaviour, but the important thing is for me to be constantly aware of whether my behaviour and actions reflect my best self.

The rest of what Iyanla says makes perfect sense too.

If you make a mess, clean up after yourself.   I do find it hard to admit I’ve made mistakes or bad choices – but I’m growing up, I am and taking responsibility for my choices and happiness is something I’m constantly working on.

Don’t wait to be told what to do. Do it with joy and love, and please do it well. I take this to mean that I should always look within myself to find what I am meant to do in this world and to do it with passion. At present, I know one of the things I’m called to do is write and blog and I’m attempting to do it with joy and love, and put passion into it.

Have you read or watched Iyanla? What do you make of her wisdom?



  1. […] Step into this moment, because it is the only one you have right now. It is not wasted or thrown away. The divine opportunity could be stolen unless you tell yourself it is here right now; available to you this moment, to make of it anything you choose. Why not choose this moment, right now, to be available to yourself by declaring, I AM GOOD! . . . . The richness of the present is here. The fullness of now is present. If you are not here now, it means you could be missing the love, joy, peace and brand-new ideas that are here right now. Iyanla Vanzant […]

  2. […] first,” the wise woman said. “How selfish,” went the voice inside my head. Long have I learnt that it’s […]

  3. […] a lot of think about and I invite you to do that. Here’s a guided meditation on gratitudefrom Iyanla Vanzant via Hay House that has helped to focus on forgiveness and gratitude. I hope you find it […]

  4. […] Most of us love quotes. Although, I know of at least one man who doesn’t – my husband. But I know a good quote can set you off on a whole blog post. I collect quotes of famous people like they’re going out of fashion. And if I really admire the person, they get a whole post dedicated to them and what they’re saying. Like, Wisdom From Iyanla Vanzant. […]

  5. Melissa Melissa January 31, 2014

    With grace ~ that’s how I see you as you grow younger at heart ahahaha ~ love it. You’ve been contemplating on being 50 and I on 40 ahahaha…

    Thank you for sharing Iyanla ~ I don’t know her actually 🙂 but any quote that inspires and gives life is something I really appreciate.

    We’ve been reflecting much on the shortness of life and how unexpected blows could just happen. I remember a friend who got sick. I was amazed that she continues to live faithfully to her duties. I guess that’s how I would want it to be for me ~ to live the best me too every single moment of everyday ~ always in God’s mercy and grace 🙂
    Melissa recently posted..Epiphany: On Life and NatureMy Profile

  6. Rum Punch Drunk Rum Punch Drunk January 26, 2014

    I just loved this quote and I loved how you put your own thoughts into this post using it. I don’t dread getting old but what I’m not looking forward to, is any aches and pains along the way. And believe me, I’m already on that road. I love to see people with pure white/gray hair, it’s like a crown of glory on one’s head. Plus, I can’t wait to join the ‘Silver Surfers’ Club too, ha ha ha.
    Rum Punch Drunk recently posted..Till Death Us Do Part?My Profile

  7. Rainbow Hues Rainbow Hues January 26, 2014

    How wonderful, Corinne. This picture I had seen a few days on Google and I read through it. Connected with it too. The line that struck a chord with me was ‘If you make a mess, clean up after yourself. ‘ Just like you mentioned I guess I have made mistakes and learnt that taking responsibility of the mess made by us in our lives and then cleaning it up will only pave the way ahead.

    Beautiul post there, Corinne 🙂
    Rainbow Hues recently posted..The ArtisteMy Profile

  8. Kathy Kathy January 25, 2014

    As I get older and since I have kids, I find myself mellowing out and being on better behavior even more. I used to have quite a volatile temper that I will chalk up to raging hormones. LOL Course with menopause knocking on my door, those hormones are rocking my world yet again on rare occasions. This was a lovely post filled with lots of inspiration and motivation for me to be the best I can be. Thank you!! ♥
    Kathy recently posted..My ComplimentsMy Profile

  9. Ruchira Ruchira January 25, 2014

    Iyanla is a fine lady and her wisdom has made me also walk atleast half a mile.

    Her quote…Don’t be like your shoes
    Makes me always look at people via their shoes they wear 😉
    Ruchira recently posted..Living life the futuristic way!My Profile

  10. Vishnu Vishnu January 24, 2014

    I really do need to pick up her books, Corinne. Read excerpts and quotes from Iyanla in many places and seen her on Oprah clips, but haven’t read her books yet. This quote is indeed powerful reminding us to be in the present moment and remind us that life is indeed temporary. And I like your addition in that we have to live every day making choices that make your life and the life of others more meaningful – essentially enjoying each day and moment with meaning.

    What a nice way of thinking about best behavior – yes, indeed let’s show up as our best selves and our most authentic manifestation to the world. Easy to forget and wise words to remind ourselves daily as we carry ourselves into the world. thanks for sharing this quote Corinne and your reflections on it.

    I guess I would add, yes, we are indeed a guest in this house but take your luggage when you leave:) And by that I mean the life lessons, wisdom, reflection, insight and compassion.

  11. Michelle Liew Michelle Liew January 24, 2014

    Too true! I like her use of the term Best behavior. We think of it as good conduct…love the idea of living life meaningfully while we have the chance to live it!
    Michelle Liew recently posted..Raising the Red LanternMy Profile

  12. Obsessivemom Obsessivemom January 24, 2014

    Well said Corinne. Love the way she describes ‘best behaviour’. I too would have thought that means not ruffling too many feathers. But the thing is to be true to yourself. That’s any day tougher.

  13. richa singh richa singh January 24, 2014

    Slightly off topic but somehow , I have no idea why as I am growing older this odd feeling inside me called emptiness is growing. I have started to fear death. I hear news of death or grave illness around me and I quickly start to analyse the particular person’s life. I tell myself that at this moment they must be making a report card in their head.

    And this scares me. I want to be more than flesh blood and greed in this life… And hence your post comes just in time..
    richa singh recently posted..Was she relieved after all?-Part 20My Profile

  14. Suzy Suzy January 24, 2014

    I’ve never heard of Iyanla but I love her quote. Such a unique way of looking at life – as being a guest. That resonates with me. I love being in the 50s. I think I have lived more “fully” in my 50s than I have ever done before. Super post.
    Suzy recently posted..UBC Day 23 – Inspiration comes in the strangest of placesMy Profile

  15. Kalpana Solsi Kalpana Solsi January 24, 2014

    Thanks for introducing Iyanla. and I fully agree with her quote.
    People dread midlife or growing old as the crowning glory , which was once a prized possession, is now grey and dull , the crow’s feet and the wrinkled skin. Many people refuse to accept their age or say that , ‘I don’t look my age’. and this syndrome starts around 50 yrs of age.Corinne , my hair had started to grey but I haven’t yet coloured it black. I get all sorts of advice from ladies who think themselves very young , taking refuge under hair colours.
    Yes , I feel bad when there is a decrease in stamina and agility with age. I wish to learn and cook recipes and do a lot of work . Health can no longer be taken for granted.

  16. Aditi Aditi January 24, 2014

    Loved this post 🙂 🙂 Absolute truth in the words when you say that best behavior means choosing a behavior, a action, that best reflects you! And also choosing to take responsibility for that behavior/action…’YOU’…the power is within!
    Aditi recently posted..Your eyesMy Profile

  17. Suzie Cheel Suzie Cheel January 24, 2014

    Love your post and I just found this quote on Alex’s blog When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else. – Iyanla Vanzant I haven’t read any of her books , but now on the to do list. I was inspired and uplfted by Iyanla when I first met her via Oprah’s life class. Thank you for expanding and now I will be more aware of my best behaviour 🙂 Namaste
    Suzie Cheel recently posted..Releasing What’s Holding You BackMy Profile

  18. Elle Elle January 24, 2014

    ‘My best behaviour that best reflects my true self. ‘ Great definition Corinne and so true. And doing what we see needs to be with joy and love instead of begrudgingly can only make a huge difference to us being in the flow of this wonderful thing called life.

    Very inspiring read. Thank you. 🙂
    Elle recently posted..Stop Sabotaging Yourself: How To Manage ProcrastinationMy Profile

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