Married at 19 and separated at 27 with a child to support, Vani has had her fair share in toxic relationships. After years of being a victim of manipulations that numerous men threw her way, she decided to take charge of her life and reinvent it the way she wanted to. From having lost 2 thriving businesses in the divorce aftermath to becoming a senior creative director in an ad agency and winning numerous awards to her name while building her personal brand through her motivational writing and speech, Vani’s journey is inspirational.
In this exclusive interview with BeBadass, she shares her valuable take on toxic relationships and reinventing yourself.
How do you balance your time between your job, your own brand and parenthood?
Time is non refundable. And when you know this you use it with intention. And also a planner comes handy… I plan everything in advance… even my grocery shopping :)
If you came across a teenager who would be willing to give up everything in the name of love, what would your advice to her be?
Don’t. Because love doesn’t ask you to give up anything. Lack of love does. Love is about accepting everything you have and you don’t have. Everything you aspire to be. When the question about giving up comes in terms of love, then it’s a red alert.
What are some red flags in a bad relationship that women should look out for?
A man should always respect you even when you are not in the room.
Everyone shows you his or her true colours, watch out for that. Don’t go by hear-say.
A sobbing man is a no no. When a man meets you and in a few meeting sobs about how difficult his life is or has been, you are opting for a cry baby. Real men talk about dreams, overcoming issues and they will be more interested in you not their life which already according them is in dumps. I can actually go on and on about this one.
How can one handle a toxic relationship?
You should not handle it. You should remove yourself from the equation. There is no antidote to toxic relationships. They can swallow you with your pride, confidence and self-esteem. So when you realize that the relationship is toxic, abandon ship and swim to a shore to start again.
What is your takeaway from all the bad relationships you’ve been in?
I took away myself. I saved myself of whatever was left of me to build again from there. And if you can save you, then its quite a lot saved.
Healing is different for everyone. But if you had to give one tip on healing/recovering emotionally what would it be?
The fate of your heart is your choice and no one else gets to decide that. There is no formula to healing but each heart knows what to do in order to heal. Just shut up the mind and let the heart do what it wants. You will be okay soon.
Do you agree that adversity/hardship is the greatest muse? Is it true in your case?
I have learnt a lot from adversity and hardships. My life has been an uphill struggle. But I doubt it being a muse. Artists are not sad people and you don’t need to be in a fix to create something extraordinary. Living a creative life is not dependent on how much you have faced in your life. It only feeds on your desire to create.
Explain your theory of ‘uncomfortable emotions’
I also call them bugs. Something bugs you all the time. Doesn’t let you sleep. You can’t pin point at it. But you know every word spoken to you will be thought deeply. Those are the unaddressed emotions that we hideaway thinking they are not important to us… but your brain remembers everything and it keeps relating you back to those emotions till you find a box for them to shove them away forever.
How to begin the process of reinventing oneself?
Trust your own self over the opinions of others
If you get a radical idea, by all means do it
Be kind. Kindness goes a really long way and its important for the health of your heart.
Define a badass woman
One who has faith and fear both and knows how to use each of these swords wisely.
Name some Badass women who inspire you
Oprah. Elizabeth Gilbert. Lang Leav. Gwyneth Paltrow. Marilyn Monroe and my mom!
Your words of wisdom to young girls who are too naïve to understand what a bad relationship can do to them?
Don’t go all in immediately. Give it time. Like I said let the relationship evolve. Be watchful. It’s not how you feel today about the guy, its about how he will make you feel when you end up being with him. Be nice to each other. A good guy will always appreciate that over anything else. And if its love, it won’t go away anywhere.