In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want

In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want

by Iyanla Vanzant


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“The most powerful spiritual healer, fixer, teacher on the planet.” —Oprah Winfrey

The #1 national bestseller from the host of the show Iyanla: Fix My Life on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) that answers the question: What’s love got to do with it in the meantime?

You know where you want to be, but you have no clue how to get there. You know exactly what you want in life, but what you want is nowhere in sight. Perhaps your vision is unclear, your purpose still undefined. On top of it all, your relationships, particularly your romantic relationships, are failing. If these scenarios feel familiar way down in the deepest part of your gut—then you, my dear, are smack dab in the middle of the meantime.

Every living being wants to experience the light of love. The problem is that our windows are dirty! The windows of our hearts and minds are streaked with past pains and hurts, past memories and disappointments. In this book, Iyanla Vanzant teaches us how to do our mental housekeeping so that we can clean the windows, floors, walls, closets, and corners of our minds. If we do a good job, our spirits will shine bringing in the light of true love and happiness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780684848068
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 09/14/1999
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 56,887
Product dimensions: 5.66(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.87(d)

About the Author

Iyanla Vanzant is one of the country’s most celebrated writers and public speakers, and she’s among the most influential, socially engaged, and acclaimed spiritual life coaches of our time. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of seventeen books which have been translated into twenty-three languages, and the host and executive producer of the award-winning breakout hit Iyanla: Fix My Life, the #1 reality show on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. As Founder of Inner Visions World Wide, Iyanla is actively engaged in personal development courses and on-going training programs for spiritual life coaches, and ordained ministers at Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development.

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One

She was not looking for him. He was not looking for her. As a matter of fact, they were both somewhat attached to other people. Yet, the minute they saw each other, their body parts began to twitch, and their eyes began to sparkle. The meantime was brewing. They worked their way across the room, neither aware that the other was doing the same thing. He spoke first. No, she did. She asked him a silly question to which he and his twitching body parts were more than willing to respond. He ducked his attachment. She ducked hers. They needed some time to talk. They did, and they laughed, something neither of them seemed to do very often with their attachments. They exchanged telephone numbers to their places of employment. Although they both knew, they both acted like they didn't. Reluctantly, they both rejoined their attachments, and together they entered a simmering pot of meantime stew.

When you are not happy where you are and you are not quite sure if you want to leave or how to leave, you are in the meantime. It's a state of limbo. You are hanging on, ready to let go, afraid to fall, not wanting to hurt yourself, afraid you will hurt someone else. In the meantime, you pray the other person will let go first so that you will not feel guilty.

The other person keeps dropping hints, letting you know that it's time to go. You deny it! Why? You don't know why, but I can tell you that the meantime is fraught with don't knows and can't do's. Don't know why I can't go. Don't know why I should stay. Don't know where I'm going. Don't know how I am going to get there, wherever there is. Ambivalence, confusion, reluctance, and paralysis are all characteristics of the meantime. If you knew the answers to these questions you would be just fine. In the meantime, you are many things, fine is probably not one of them!

Life would be so much easier if, when we hit a snag in a relationship, any relationship, we would stop, address it, and move ahead smoothly. The truth is, in most cases, we could do just that. The reality is, we don't do it! We keep moving. We allow little insults to become raging angers, little arguments to become festering feuds, little pains to become deep wounds, and we keep moving. In many cases, we keep hurting. When the relationship at issue is an intimate, loving one, the attempt to move forward without addressing the pain only complicates matters, further poisoning the relationship.

How can I stay and not get hurt? How can I go without hurting? You cannot answer these questions if you are in pain. What you can do is make the effort to discover the truth about love, because it is the only thing that can help you move through the experience. In the meantime, if we can remain loving of ourselves and toward other people by staying in conscious and honest communication, a disruption, snag, or delay in a relationship becomes a healing process. When we cannot, we engage in meantime behavior — hurting, fighting, not telling the truth, and moving forward in confusion. Confusion begets confusion.

Back to our meantime lovers. Two weeks later, she called him at work. He had already called her twice, but hung up when her voice mail answered. In the meantime, they each tried to convince themselves that they should not call each other again, but they desperately needed to see each other. He invited her out for a drink. She set the date, time, and place. He showed up with a rose, a single pink rose. The minute she saw it and him, the twitching body parts began to thump. Her attachment became a blur, and she didn't know what to do. He did. He said all the right things, in just the right tone of voice, at the right moment, which created a corresponding thumping in his corresponding body parts. She told him about her attachment. He told her about his. Well, not exactly. Although there was someone, his someone knew what the deal was. That's when she realized she was headed for trouble. Quickly, she made her excuses and took her thumping body parts home. In the meantime, he had two more drinks and tried to figure out what he was going to do and how he was going to do it.

Let's talk about love in the meantime.

Life is all about love. Love is the only true meaning of life. Being alive means that we are occupants in love's house and are accountable to love's rules. Neither life nor love requires us to give up our dignity, self-worth, career objectives, favorite television program, or our good common sense. For some reason, we don't always understand this. We believe in the necessity of giving up one thing in order to get something else. We especially believe this about love. We do not understand that the highest expression of love is the experience and realization of more — more of who you are, what you do, what you believe, and what you have. Love has the ability to bring all of you together under one roof, at one time, as one experience. Love is the experience of oneness, a union of the mind and heart. Unfortunately, we believe we can establish this union with others only if we give up something. We attempt to create this union with others before first creating it within ourselves. This is absolutely impossible. You cannot get love from the outside until you arelove on the inside. In the meantime, we do many things in the name of love, for the sake of love.

We live in the meantime while we are learning about love. We flounder around, involving ourselves in strange alliances, making up rules as we go along, in the name of what we think love is, or should be. We watch and listen to others, believing they know all there is to know about love and relationships. The truth is that they, like the rest of us, are learning by trial and error. At best, we pick and choose who to love and how we will love them. At worst, we discover that it is virtually impossible to do enough, fast enough, for enough people, in enough situations to receive from them the love, admiration, or acceptance we seem to need. In the meantime, while we are learning the truth about love, we can make a pretty big mess of most things. Nowhere do we make a bigger mess than in our so-called loving relationships.

They were at it again! He and she both knew that they needed to make a swift but loving departure from the relationships they were in. Neither of them had the courage, strength, or presence of mind to do so. He didn't leave because his attachment had been so good to him. In the three-plus years they had been together, they had really been through a lot — a lot of hysteria about whether or not they should stay together! In the end, they stayed together because they had nowhere else to go. She stayed with her attachment to avoid facing the fear of spending time alone. She had been there and done that so many times before. It was not a very pleasant possibility to look forward to, and she surely did not want to subject herself to it voluntarily. In the meantime, she kept hoping against hope that somehow, some way, her attachment would miraculously disappear or become the love man of her dreams, meaning that she would live happily ever after. That's how she convinced herself, time and time again, to stay. In the meantime, she kept looking elsewhere for something else, although she was not quite sure what it was she was looking for.

Love is the only thing we need. Love is our peace. Love is our joy, health, and wealth. Love is our identity. 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 bring a respect for wealth and abundance. Having achieved it to some satisfactory degree on our own, we must move into relationships willing to share what we have, rather than being afraid of someone taking it. Joyful sharing and excitement. Value, purpose, and vision. That's what love is about. When we bring these things to the relationship, love becomes a great multiplier and enhances the experience of life. 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 enter relationships looking for love, expecting someone to love us or accept us lovingly. This makes perfectly good sense if you consider that we are each born to express and receive love. In some unfortunate situations, we can want love or acceptance so badly that we will do almost anything to get it. We break love's rules. We disregard love's house. We forget to set love boundaries. We allow people to step in, be in, move in, live in our lives in ways that have nothing to do with love. Even when we have boundaries or standards clearly defining what we will do, how we will do it in the name of love, and what we expect in return, there never seems to be enough love to fill the void we have all, at one time or another, felt in our hearts. 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. Until, however, we can recognize ourselves as love and live in harmony with our true identity, the void grows deeper, wider, and more painful.

They just didn't get it! He called several times during the next several weeks. At first, she refused to return his calls. She was struggling to shake and break her attachment. He had already shaken his, although he had forgotten to tell her that she had been shook! "Surely she knows!" he thought. "She has to know!" In the meantime, people often forget to say what they mean or mean what they say because they assume you already know. He did not assume that he would pass her on the street, but he did. The moment they saw each other, the thumping started — his mind, her heart, and their body parts. They spoke. Actually, she spoke first. He responded by talking to her about the calls. Feeling guilty, as we often do in the meantime, she agreed to call him later. She did, and they agreed to meet.

When you're in the meantime you want an escape route! You want something to do other than all that meantime stuff. They wanted to do something about their thumping body parts. They wanted to be attached to one another. They thought it was love. It had to be love! Why else would it keep showing up, thumping and giving them the perfect excuse to break all other attachments. The meantime is not about breaking up attachments. It is about creating attachments honestly and lovingly. However, in the meantime, the thumping body parts are completely unaware of this little tidbit of information. He made the offer. She accepted. On opposite sides of town, both of their other attachments were fed up with excuses and ready to do another kind of thumping of body parts!

Copyright © 1998 by Iyanla Vanzant

Table of Contents




There will come a time in your life when all you can do is love. You will have done all you can do, tried all you can try, hurt all you can hurt, given up so many times that love will be the only way in or out. That day will surely come. Just as sure as you are reading this page. In the meantime, here are a few things you can do to get ready for the most joyous day of your life: the day you experience true love.

Chapter 1

Love's Got Everything to Do with the Meantime

Chapter 2

Know Where You Live


Chapter 3

Spring Cleaning


Chapter 4

Doing the Laundry

Chapter 5

Cleaning Out the Refrigerator


Chapter 6

Let's Do a Little Dusting

Chapter 7

Get the Ring Out of Your Tub

Chapter 8

Take Out the Trash


Chapter 9

Cleaning Off the Dresser

Chapter 10

Cleaning Out the Closet


Chapter 11

Pull Up the Shades and Let Some Sun In

Chapter 12

Rearrange the Furniture


Chapter 13

Put Your Feet Up and Relax!

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In the Meantime 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 88 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book to everyone, regardless of age, background or religious beliefs. Although, I believe that you will not reap the full benefits of this book if you are not ready to accept the TRUTH-and I was not , one year ago when I was first introduced to this book through a friend (Murchelle Bates). Now, that I am ready, I feel that the book truly opens your mind to explore and come to terms with yourself. It has helped me to realize who I have become based on the experiences I have encountered throughout my life, and has given me the strength and knowledge to apply these situations to work for me; ultimately making me the person I knew I could be. I have re-learned to put God first in my life, therefore allowing my needs to be forfilled in accordance to the divine will. My tip to you, is to take time out of the day to 'do you'. I have started a routine every morning which consists of yoga exercise when I first wake up, followed by 15 minutes of meditation, then ending my 'morning ceremony' with prayer. I find that no matter what I am confronted with that day, I can have closure, because I am relaxed and I have put my faith in the Lord so that he can fight my battles. Feel free to e-mail me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
SavhSweetie More than 1 year ago
This book is the best relationship book ever written! I am now happily married, but about five years ago this book showed me my true worth. At that time I didn't know, that love was not abusive and painful.It inspired me to move pass the "basement" of my thinking. I now feel worthy of love, and desired as a women. This is the book I recommend to all my friends going through a rough time in a marriage or relationship.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book on my partner's nightstand and begin reading it over candles and a hot bath. A beautiful book, written with ease and I laughed several times upong hitting page fifty! I tried to sneak it away but my partner refused (we live apart). Guess I will have to wait or go buy my own copy. Trust me, this Author is telling the truth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had this book for 2 years and did not read it. After asking my friend many questions on my issues in regards to relationship, her answer everytime to me was 'You need to read in the meantime' after my finals last year spring I read it! 'Oh my god!' This is the first book that took me 3 months to read, reason, I had to read, put the book down, digest, cry and be willing to face my bad habits and change them.' Everything that was happening to me was because of me! me! me! warning! You cannot read this book unless you are willing to face the truth about yourself because somewhere in this book you will be revealed! first you will be resentful, then a little angry at Ms. Vanzant, then you will either start from the basement upwards or dig from the basement and go below. Ms. Vanzant thank you for revealing your experiences and putting yourself out there. I thank you from the buttom of my heart. Fear is like a bad curse if we are not careful it will consume the very best of us. It begins with you. Stop blaming everyone around you, take responsibility for your own actions. 'work in progress'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a 34 year seperated from the one whom I thought who knew about love.I read this book and cried. I have never found anyone who told me about myself other than this book. thanks for letting me love my self when there was no one around and finding out what true love is all about. I have learned to love myself. I have also start changing my life from the basement to the top floor. Oh what a mess i've found. The mess include people whose suppose to be friends and so on. I have turned a new leaf.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My mind and soul has truly been resurrected!!!! For many many years, I was lost believing that since I borne 4 children by the time I was 21 that I was accursed!!!Now, over 10yrs later, I can TRULY relate to Iyanla with the term 'In The Meantime' I spent most my life in DEAD END relations even a DEAD END marriage to someone I should have never even opened myself up to....Through it all your book help me to see that it is normal to be 'in the meantime' while God is cleaning us up for the truth LOVER in our life..Thanks, Iyanla for saving my MIND.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put this down. As a young black female this book helped me realize that the issues that I thought others had were actually my own. It also gave me a way to make myself a better person.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I do believe the adage is true, in order to be able to fully love others, you have to be able to love yourself. This book opens up the great plain of understanding how to do just that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first read in the meantime I found myself in the basement of love. This book really helped me to realize in order to find true love from any one else-I must first love myself. After reading this book I applied everything I read, and that is when true love walked in to my life. I am very happy and I love myself dearly. I have a new love in my life (Damon) and he loves me just as much as I love myself. I am still working my way up to the attic. I truly love myself-I love Murchelle!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book to learn from ang grow
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njpat More than 1 year ago
This was very inspiring and helps you look at things in a different way. As human beings we blame others for our problems and never take the time to see our part in it and this helps you do that. This is helping me see things clearer in my own life. Great job Iyanla!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was AMAZING ! Definitely one of my favorites and considering the fact that the list only consists of two books including this one, you know that it was really good!  I had to choose a book for my class reading and this was recommended and I do not regret taking the risk at all! I learned so much about myself and about love that you would think we all know already but in actuality have not come to grips with in completeness. This book is for young girls going through self esteem issues, for young women  having relationship issues, for married women who are having some issues within themselves, this book is for everyone and guys, why not? I absolutely  recommend that if you  looking into it, to give it a go, you will not be disappointed. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an easy read.  It is about having realistic expectations in relationships, taking time to learn from past relationships.  It encourages you use your time being single as an opportunity to grow and accept yourself as opposed to looking for relationships to fill that void.  It also encourages the meditations on God's love and learning how to love accept and give unconditional love to others. 
Lernin2Live More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book over 10 years ago,read two pages and put it down, I should have continued but I wasn't ready. Now I that I am faced with one my of most difficult challenges, and I knew I needed to reevaluate, I have started reading again. I think things happen at a time when you most need it,and I needed it most now. I am able to understand and appreciate the guidance. Thank you
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