A Tribute To Oprah ~ Lessons Learned and the End of Season 25

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I started this post, deleted it, started over and then saved it as a draft more times than I can count. The truth is, the sheer magnitude of what I’ve learned from watching Oprah over the years is too big to sum up in a mere blog post.

Since I was a little girl, watching Oprah when I got home each day became a ritual. It was a tradition I shared with my mom and my sister, and whether we were together or apart, it was always a topic of conversation.  Oprah’s shows were about more than just entertainment–her shows taught me about compassion, forgiveness, validation, gratitude, and awareness of situations unimaginable to me in my simple life.

For Christmas this year, my Aunt gave me one of the most directly relevant gifts I’ve ever received, “O: Words that Matter”. It is a book of Oprah’s greatest wisdoms, which sum up the three core lessons I’ve learned from her over the years, including the key messages Oprah attempted to leave us with as her final episode faded to black on May 25, 2011.

So, I thought I would honor Oprah here on my PR blog, for the PR machine that she was–she PR’d on acceptance, she PR’d on changing peoples lives one at a time, and her show became the biggest PR vehicle of all time (anything she covered on her show turned to gold!).

What I love most about Oprah is that she seeks to learn something herself through every single episode she creates.  What she learns, she teaches.  Through her show I have developed three core beliefs surrounding: gratitude, validation, and living your life’s passion.  Oprah’s teachings = my religion.

With that said, I wanted to publish my favorite Oprah quotes of all time; many of which are included in the book I so thoughtfully received from my Aunt. I started out with a highlighter and pen but soon realized I was highlighting the entire book — so here is my selection, words to live by, words to revisit, words to implement in my own life…

Oprah on Quotes:

“I love the written word. Over the years, the written word has inspired, challenged, and sustained me.”

“Here’s what my love affair with quotations has taught me: the more you focus on words that uplift you, the more you embody the ideas contained in those words.  I love the way Ralph Waldo Emerson once put it, we become what we think about all day long.”

Oprah on Dreaming Big, Becoming Brave:

“Failure is a signpost to turn you in another direction.”

“What would happen if we declared our home, our relationships, our lives a gossip-free zone? We’d probably be surprised at how much time we’d free up to do the work that’s most significant–building our dreams rather than tearing down others’.”

“The only courage you ever need is the courage to live your heart’s desire.”

“As much as you plan and dream and move forward in your life, you must remember that you are always acting in conjunction with the flow and energy of the universe. You move in the direction of your goal with all the force and verve you can muster–and then let go, releasing your plan to the power that’s bigger than yourself… Dream big–dream very big.  Work hard–work very hard.  And after you’ve done all you can, you stand, wait, and fully surrender.”

“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”

Oprah on Relationships:

“I know for sure that in the final analysis of our lives–when the to-do lists are no more, when the frenzy is finished, when our e-mail boxes are empty–the only thing that will have any lasting value is whether we’ve loved others and whether they’ve loved us.”

“People who don’t feel good about themselves feel even worse when those around them do well.  When they say, ‘Who does she think she is?’ what they really means is ‘How dare she exceed my expectations of who I think she should be?’…Who does she think she is?’ also translates to ‘Who do I think I’m not?’”

“The moment you put a mental label on another human being, you can no longer truly relate to that person.”

Oprah on Giving Thanks and Giving Back:

“When you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it.”

“The best gift anyone can give, I believe, is the gift of sharing themselves…Every gift is your way of expressing how you feel about another person.”

“You receive from the world what you give to the world.  I understand it from physics as the third law of motion: for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.  It is the essence of what Eastern philosophers call karma.  In The Color Purple, the character Celie explained it to Mister: “Everything you try to do to me, already done to you.’”

“It’s not easy being grateful all the time.  But it’s when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you.”

“‘When you learn, teach.  When you get, give.’ That’s another one of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou. What I know for sure is that what you give comes back to you.  That’s not just my theory or point of view–it’s physics.  Life is an energy exchange of giving and receiving, and the way to have what you want is to give what you need.”

“I live in the space of thankfulness–and I have been rewarded a million times over for it.  I started out giving thanks for the small things, and the more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased.  That’s because what you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it.”

Oprah on Joy, Fun, and Pleasure:

“My former boss, the general manager, said to me, ‘There’s no way you can make it in Chicago up against Donahue’…He used every tactic he could muster to entice me to stay–more money, a company car, a new apartment, and finally, intimidation: ‘You’re going to fail.’…I gathered the nerve to say no to him before standing up to walk out, ‘You’re right, I may not make it, and I may be walking into unforeseen land mines. But if they don’t kill me, at least I’ll keep growing.  I’ve grown all I can here. I have to move on.’ In that moment, I chose happiness.”

“What I know for sure is that pleasure is energy reciprocated.  What you put out comes back.  Your base level of pleasure is determined by how you view your whole life.”

“I define joy as a sustained sense of well-being and peace–a connection to what matters…you feel real joy in direct proportion to how connected you are to living your truth.”

Oprah on Honoring Your Body, Trusting Your Gut:

“Whenever your gut is out of kilter, trouble awaits.  Your gut is your inner compass.  Whenever you have to consult other people for an answer, you’re headed in the wrong direction.”

“Your life is speaking to you every day, all the time–and your job is to listen up and find the clues.  Pay attention to what makes you feel energized, connected, stimulated–what gives you your juice.”

“Trust your instincts.  Intuition doesn’t lie.”

“When you don’t know what to do, my best advice is to do nothing until clarity comes.”

Oprah on Aha Moments:

“I like to approach each subject with an open mind so I can listen and learn as much as possible and maybe even come away with an ‘aha’.  I had a big one: The yearning to feel heard, needed, and important is so strong in all of us that we seek that validation in whatever form we can get it.”

Oprah on Balance:

“The biggest reason I have so much endurance is because I do what I want to do.  I stopped trying to please other people. The other day I did something because someone else wanted me to and I was exhausted.  Why? Because the intention was wrong.”

“I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time.  I hope you’ll tell yourself the truth about what matters most to you, know that your hours in this life are limited for attaining it–then decide how you’ll use your most precious resource.”

Oprah on Spirituality:

“What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for.  You become what you believe.”

“Whenever I’m faced with a difficult decision, I ask myself, What would I do if I weren’t afraid of making a mistake, feeling rejected, or being alone? Remove the fear, and the answer comes into focus.”

“Failures can be God’s little whispers; other times, they are full earthquakes erupting in our lives because we didn’t listen to the whispers. Failure is just a way for our lives to show us that we are moving in the wrong direction, that we should try something different.  It holds no more power than we give it.”

***

I look at these quotes as little “notes to self,” things I want to remember and wisdom I want to learn from as I navigate through my own life.

Oprah is all about passing on the knowledge, so I thought I was share these impactful words in the hopes that they will mean as much to someone else as they do to me.

OPRAH: Thank you for everything you have done for me. I won’t say goodbye, I’ll say, see you soon… on OWN… on Oprah’s Next Chapter! Can’t wait.

With love,
Alyson