By Krissy Dolor

Wouldn’t it be great if someone could shed a little light on why relationships end? Well you’re in luck – New York Times bestselling author Iyanla Vanzant offers some insight in her latest work, Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through. In addition to speaking about the ending of her marriage and what she’s learned from past relationships, Vanzant recounts her past TV experience (including being featured on Oprah and having a self-titled show, which was produced by Barbara Walters) and her daughter’s illness and death. Despite the hardships she has endured, Vanzant has managed to pull through and find success, all while offering advice to those who need a little boost of their own. In addition, Peace from Broken Pieces reveals just how much our past relationships influence our decisions, and why it’s important to recognize patterns in ourselves.

We spoke with Vanzant via phone earlier this year.  See what the author had to say:

You’ve been through many hardships from early on in your life, especially with your daughter’s death and illness in 2003.  What keeps you motivated?

What I do is inspire people.  My goal is to remind people of who they are, what they’re capable of, and to encourage people to do what they’re capable of doing.  Inspiration is so limited.  And I don’t want to just inspire people, but get them to do something about it.  We each have a gift, and we each have a purpose.  And your gift is not for you – your gift is for the world.  I have a gift of reminding people – educating people – about the truth of what they are.  That’s why I write, that’s why I teach.  In my low moments, that purpose pulls me forward.  I mean, I have challenges and issues like every other human, but I try not to let them hinder me as I go on.

Your latest book, Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through, talks about the dissolution of your marriage.  What has that experience taught you about who you are as a person?

Well, the core of that book is family pathologies, things we inherit form our family.  They are unconscious.  I come from a family comprised of dysfunctional relationships.  After being in a relationship for 40 years, eight of which I was married, I discovered that the relationship was dysfunctional because it was based on a poor foundation.  The foundation was built on me trying to get acceptance, acknowledgment and approval from my father.  In turn, this is what I had been requiring, expecting and demanding for 40 years.  When I realized that he [my husband] could not give this me, the relationship no longer had a purpose.  Often our relationships are in response to our unfulfilled childhood needs, which is what I did.  And letting this go led to the demise of this relationship.

In addition, what has that experience taught you about pursuing future relationships with men, and people in general?

I think what I’ve learned is that – actually, what I should say is what I’ve learned again, (laughs) because I did know this already – but your relationship with yourself is reflected in everything.  If you don’t think you’re enough, your relationships won’t be enough.  If you think you’re not worth it, your relationships won’t be worth it.

The other thing I believe I learned is the absolute necessity to be authentic: know who you are, what you want, what you need to do to get that, and what you do to get that.  If you’re not authentically there, eventually, your relationships are going to crumble.

What’s the number one piece of relationship advice you wish to share with our readers?

Tell the truth.  Tell the truth about who you are, about what you need, what works and what doesn’t work for you.  And also, that relationships don’t “happen.”  Relationships unfold.  So you have to be clear and conscious about why you’re in this relationship.  Sometimes we meet someone and fall in love … but the truth of who you are will unfold.  And you have to be willing to stand in that truth.  You meet someone, in social situations, relationships, etc., but as soon as there’s a problem you’re ready to run.  But instead of running, you have to say, Why is this in my life? Relationships are classrooms, you know?  (Laughs.)  So if you want to learn and grow in a relationship, you have to tell the truth.

What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learned through your experience that you think everyone should know?

I think that regardless of what is going on around you, that you must make peace a priority.  A peace of mind, peace of heart – in your experiences, peace must be priority.  Without peace, you have internal conflict and external drama.  When it gets hard, go for the peace.

We create the peace based on how we react and respond.  So go for the peace.  When things get dramatic, go for the peace.  When things get chaotic, go for peace.  Because when you have the peace on the inside, you’ll experience the peace on the outside.

Cupid thanks Vanzant for her time!  Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through is available on Amazon. For more information about her efforts, visit her website, Inner Visions Worldwide.