What I Learned from Evelyn Lozada

(OWN)

I watched “Iyanla, Fix My Life” on OWN this Saturday. Iyanla Vanzant is a spiritual life coach and on this episode she was meeting with Evelyn Lozada. For those who don’t know, Evelyn Lozada is on a reality show called, “Basketball Wives.” On the show, she is famous for being a bully and being in the middle of some pretty vicious fights. Most recently, she married Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson. Their marriage ended, very publicly, after a heated exchange which left Lozada bloodied after allegedly being head-butted by her husband of 40 days.

Iyanla met with Evelyn Lozada with the intention of understanding who she is and how she ended up where she ended up. I have to admit that I had a preconceived notion of Lozada, but I didn’t find that person on the show. The person on this show was reserved and thoughtful. She wasn’t leaping across tables and cursing as I was used to on the Basketball Wives show. What I learned as I watched this show is that most bullies are afraid and trying to hide their own pain.

Bullies don’t intimidate because they feel secure. They bully because they are the most insecure and they are afraid that someone will find out, so they hide behind their bravado. The flawed thinking is that if they scare you, then you can never get close enough to hurt them. I believe that in relationships you attract who you are. Lozada was a bully to women and in her husband she found a bully. She revealed that there was intimidation in their relationship prior to the wedding.

There were many nuggets of wisdom in this show. Iyanla got to the heart of the problem which was the absence of a father in Lozada’s life. It was in this moment that I think we all had something to learn. The absence of a parent can wreak havoc in someone’s life for years if it’s not healed. Iyanla Vanzant led Lozada to understand that the little girl inside her was still crying out and it was showing in her actions and her choices. She chose a man that dishonored her and she allowed it and even married him after she saw that he was unfaithful.

One of the most important quotes I took away from the show is: “Until it becomes unacceptable in thought, word or deed, you are going to keep attracting this into your life.” Iyanla said this and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck.  His behavior must be in alignment with his thinking and his actions should be the proof. Your partner should not even think of hurting you. This struck a nerve with me because I always paid attention to action over words, but I realize now that I wasn’t putting as much emphasis on the thoughts. If he thinks cheating is acceptable, then even if he is not cheating at the moment it is something that he has given himself permission to do. You have to decide if his thoughts align with your belief system. If they don’t, you shouldn’t surrender your truth just to get love in return. When you do, the person isn’t loving the real you. They are loving the you that you’ve become to please them, which is fake. You are selling your soul to buy love.

Another quote from Iyanla Vanzant struck a nerve. She said: “Every little girl left by her daddy has a broken heart.” Your father sets up your understanding of how you should be treated by a man. When he walks away, many girls learn that they aren’t worthy of a man’s love. Lozada admitted that her worst fear was not being loved. The healing that has to begin is to understand that your father’s weakness does not define your ability to be loved. It was his problems that prevented him from loving his child the way that the child deserved. The first love every woman needs is her own. I had to learn this the hard way. The love you are seeking is your own.

What I learned from this show is that Evelyn Lozada is much like every woman who is looking for love in all the wrong men. She’s looking for someone to prove to her that she is worthy, and the way to prove it to yourself is usually in the arms of the biggest disaster. I’m not so different than her and neither are many of us. While she lashes out at other people, many of us turn the hatred inward and abuse ourselves. It’s easy to point the finger. It’s harder to look at someone else’s pain and recognize your own. I recognize mine and I learned a huge lesson from this show. My only prayer is that Evelyn Lozada learns from this very public lesson and turns it into a positive.